The future is always waiting somewhere up ahead, which is both what the future is and means and something that has recently arrived as an objective uncoded threat. This is a uniquely dangerous and exhaustingly, relentlessly urgent moment, and over the last crushing year it has mostly promised nothing but more of the same. That is kind of a long way of saying that it sucks, although even saying as much is redundant. We are all soaking in it.
Recently, though, I have found it a little bit easier, or at least slightly less daunting, to think about the future. The long-term, to be clear, is still robustly and manifestly fucked, and the present is also decidedly sub-ideal. But the nearer future—say, the concept of "this summer"—is no longer quite as ominous or depressing, primarily given the flawed and kludgy and still-miraculous rollout of the various mRNA vaccines for COVID-19. There is a lot of treacherous, paranoid territory between our grim and locked-in Here and wherever that There lies, but the future feels at least and at last like something that can be thought about, and anticipated with something other than fuzzy dread. To talk about this moment in between, and about the finer points of both the broader vaccine rollout and specific vaccination experience, Drew and I had on Defector's Philadelphia Bureau Chief, resident sneaker pervert, and Vaccinated-American Dan McQuade.
Some of the decision to have McQuade on, to be honest, was because it's fun to hear someone with his accent say "Moderna dose." But most of it was because Dan has been volunteering with Prevention Point Philadelphia since last spring, and recently got his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This has given McQuade both Defector's best hair and its best-prepared immune system, but he also knows a lot about how this rollout has and hasn't worked, and why, and also about how past vaccine campaigns have succeeded and failed in parallel. I don't imagine I'm spoiling anything by noting that America's longest-standing and most treasured delusions about what the market is and who it serves are not helping, and also have never helped. But it is not-helping in some new ways, one of the most delightful of which was a disrupt-o grifter/Drexel grad student being handed the responsibility of vaccinating Philadelphians and promptly sneaking a few doses into his friends' arms ahead of schedule.
And then, because these kinds of transitions are both what we do and how everyone lives in this moment, we talked about Blake Griffin's career endgame and the tragicomic saga of Carson Wentz. We remembered the late Vincent Jackson, fielded Funbag questions on the life-changing power of Rage Against The Machine, how there are always new things to braise, and the positives and negatives of dumping soup down the toilet when you don't want to finish it. McQuade said, "We were watching ALF recently," and we just kind of took it in stride and kept going. It is not perfect, but already we are moving forward.
If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that at Stitcher, or through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. If you’d like to listen to an ad-free version of the podcast, you can do so on Stitcher Premium; a free month of Stitcher Premium can be yours if you use the promotional code “DISTRACT.” Thank you as always for your support.