Comedian, musician, and former Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Twitter and Instagram, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.
Dear Advice King,
My eldery father is a Republican, and I cannot get him to take the coronavirus seriously. He continues to play tennis and golf, and is extremely casual about social distancing. He thinks the Democrats are exaggerating the pandemic to ruin the economy and make Trump look bad. What should I do? I’m afraid he’s going to die, and I love him!
—Larissa in Miami
It wasn’t that long ago that Republicans were the ones who made fun of “conspiracy theorists.” I am one (a conspiracy theorist, not a Republican), so I should know.
I believe that the Loch Ness Monster was the gunman on the grassy knoll. A gut feeling tells me the Zodiac Killer was one of the members of Canadian rock band April Wine. I have “Rendlesham Forest Incident” tattooed on my, ahem, “lower back.” And I still have not heard a satisfactory explanation for why Building 7 collapsed on 9/11. (The last one is real.)
In the years after 9/11, Republicans were the most aggressive in telling me to stop asking questions about it. They said, basically, that it was disrespectful to question the official narrative of a national tragedy. Building 7 fell down because it was on fire, they said. That’s what the media and the government say, so you should believe them, they said.
Then, during the buildup to the doomed, unnecessary invasion of Iraq, those same Republicans told me that questioning the official narrative would be unpatriotic. If someone on TV says that aluminum tubes equal nuclear weapons, we should believe them, they said. The intelligence agencies would never lie, they said. Those old-time (early-2000s) Republicans were big believers in “official stories.”
Those days are gone. These days, Republicans pick and choose what they believe. Intelligence agents are “deep-state operatives.” Things that make them anxious are deemed to be either fake or caused by George Soros — including the coronavirus.
Why was it disrespectful, Republicans, for me to ask questions about disasters — after the fact (9/11), or before they occurred (the Iraq invasion), mind you — but it’s OK for you to scream “hoax” during a pandemic while your fellow citizens lay dying?
I’ll tell you why. Republicans — especially baby boomer Republicans — have a vague notion that they are invincible. They were raised on jingoistic slogans like “A Shining City Upon a Hill” and “The Greatest Generation.” If you are operating under the Shining City/Greatest Generation model, abstract threats like global warming and coronavirus have GOT TO BE labeled fake, because they cannot be shot or bought. Abstract enemies scare the hell out of Republicans. They undermine the belief system that keeps them “sane” — a belief system that only works as long as there is a nameable enemy (terrorists, immigrants, liberals, etc.). You can’t put diseases and temperature changes in internment camps. Republicans did not doubt the media narrative around 9/11 because it presented a situation tailored to the “Shining City” worldview — a situation that could, seemingly, be resolved through violence.
Grow up, elderly Republicans. Just because you can’t shoot it, doesn’t mean it’s fake.™
Put down that tennis racket and put on a mask like all the other mortals.
Well, that was unpleasant. But this is fun:
The Advice King Guide to Having Fun in a Pandemic™, Vol. 3
OK, today’s first tip is to listen to John Denver’s album Spirit, and drink cold brew. That's what I'm doing right now at 3:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, 'cuz honestly, WHERE DO YOU HAVE TO BE? Warning: Skip “It Makes Me Giggle.”
When you wake up at 7 p.m. because you took my dumb advice and drank cold brew at 3:30 a.m., watch 1980s Daytona 500 races in their entirety on YouTube!
Today I watched the whole 1981 Daytona 500. If you don’t know who won, I won’t spoil it for you, but I will tell you that the announcers talk more about how windy it is than they do about the actual race. Also, the cars are smaller than they used to be in the 1970s, and the drivers complain about it a lot. They say that the new, smaller, 1981 cars get “squirrelly” — which is a real racing term, apparently.
Stay safe! Remember, there's no such thing as Republicans or Democrats anyway — just people.