But what’s especially ironic here is that, although Politico takes time to decently highlight the perfect sociopolitical storm that has given us our current public health stalemate, it simultaneously and repeatedly falls into the same journalistic tropes of both wide-eyed, pitying horror and othering that help to continue our cycles of class-based resentment of mainstream reporting and education-based authority.

“See any masks here in Missour-ah [sic]? Not one. Is anybody getting sick? No. They’re full of shit on the left,” one beachgoer is quoted phonetically, a conscious move to highlight us country folks’ goldurn strange way of communicatin’. Later, the story takes care to note that one Margaritaville server’s decision to finally get her first vaccine hinged solely on her fear that she “wouldn’t be able to get to a state fair in Springfield, Ill. where she has tickets to see a performance ‘on my bucket list’—the actor and comedian, Gabriel ‘Fluffy’ Iglesias.”

Is Iglesias a leading voice in progressive comedy? Of course not. Does Margaritaville rank only slightly higher on our list of preferred eateries than Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky-Tonk & Rock ‘n’ Roll Steakhouse? Obviously. Have state fairs long been a symbol of low-class entertainment, dietary disgust, and health code violations? A-yup. To paint a tableau combining all of these images, however true, allows audiences across the sociopolitical spectrum to read between the lines, confirming whatever biases they’re already predisposed to—which namely are either: A) the wretched of the Earth remain wretched and worthy of our morbid fascination or B) elitist journalists and so-called “experts” truly don’t understand the “common American,” whatever the hell that means...


Anyway. Suffice to say, it’s for all these reasons and more that we feel confident to ascribe “America’s Hellhole Of The Season” to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. Congratulations to everyone who made this latest nadir possible.

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