Dear Fun in the Jungle: I’ve Got Questions

An indoor kids play place near me called Fun in the Jungle has embraced anti-mask wearing fanaticism. They are so proud of their stance that they are giddily sharing their unwillingness to participate in “the Mask Enforcement Party” on all of their social media streams. The language they use to justify this policy is of the seemingly innocuous I’m just asking questions variety. You know, the kind where you can claim you’re not doing anything wrong, just making people think.

But I’ll take the bait and engage, because it’s a pandemic, and I’m not going anywhere else. All of their questions are patently ridiculous. You can start with question one (emphasis and bad capitalization all theirs): “By wearing a mask(s), the virus spread can be reduced by what rate/percent/person? (If you can’t answer this immediately without hesitation, you are not informed enough to make an opinion either way regarding masks. Educate Yourself).”

Let’s be clear: the answer to this question is over 96%. (Yes, I was able to answer immediately and without hesitation, though I don’t understand why that is important. But in case you weren’t, here’s the article I got this stat from just this week). There’s the caveat that to reach the 96% threshold, double masking is recommended, especially when you are indoors, say, crawling around a germy play structure that all kinds of gross kids are touching.

Here’s the catch, though, Fun in the Jungle does not actually want you to do your own research or answer their questions. In fact, they have been deleting comments on their Facebook page in which people post answers to their questions after conducting “their own research.”

With actual information being deleted, we have to assume these questions are being raised in bad-faith. They have a purpose though — they are a means of planting false information. Instead of stating facts that can’t possibly be validated, ask questions just specific enough that it sounds plausible you know what you’re talking about, and eschew any information that doesn’t support your narrative. This is dangerous. This was the road to the riot on the US Capitol. I’m just asking: what happened to 50,000 votes in Georgia? I’m just asking, why did 200,000 dead people vote in the election? I’m just asking: why isn’t anyone looking into Dominion?

There’s another benefit to this format. When you ask questions without answers, you’re not technically posting misinformation. The social media companies don’t know what to do with you. Your questions stand on the internet, even if they don’t stand up to scrutiny.

The point of these questions is not to get answers. The answers would collapse the narrative faster than my children flying down the slide at Fun in the Jungle (yes, we’ve been there; no, not since Covid started.) The purpose of asking these questions is to plant doubt. Follow that by stroking the ego and flattering the intelligence of the person being asked. Let them think they’re in on a bigger story, something only select people know. Let them think they’re seeing through a conspiracy. Do your own research. Or, in the words of Fun in the Jungle, “Educate Yourself.”

But where to get this education? Certainly not from the so-called MSM. What about non-partisan government agencies such as the CDC? Nope. Remember that questions of this type are meant to sow distrust. As Fun in the Jungle so eloquently puts it in question eight: “Does the Government and Health Care ever do anything wrong? Have they done wrong collaboratively together historically?”

In other words, as research changes public health advice — see, wearing masks, which initially was not recommended — agencies willingness to follow the science and admit initial mistakes is seen as a weakness. New information is not an opportunity for growth; it’s an opportunity to cover your ears and eyes, insist you are correct, find alternative facts to support your viewpoint, and invalidate (or literally delete) information to the contrary. Or maybe just ask some more questions.

So I’ve got a few. In keeping with Fun in the Jungle’s template, I’ll limit it to eight.

  1. How many calls to the Delaware Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health do you estimate have been made about your business since you posted your new policy?
  2. How many weeks can you afford to be closed by health officials before your closure becomes permanent?
  3. How many cases of Covid contracted at your establishment do you consider an acceptable number?
  4. You say that “Asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 does not occur with any significance.” How many lives are you willing to bet on this?
  5. How much do you pay your employees? Do you provide health insurance? Do you think they can afford hospital bills associated with a severe case of Covid contracted at work?
  6. Did you hear Axl Rose belting out You’re in the jungle baby! And you’re gonna die! while you were listening to your favorite classic rock station last weekend and take it as a personal challenge?
  7. You wrote in question seven: “We were able to forecast the virus impact with accuracy back in July 2020 for the entire year of 2020. Did you do that? Can you prove it like we can?” Where did you get your psychic powers and was there a curse involved?
  8. This is totally how a normal business behaves, right?

OK, I lied. I actually have a ninth question: Seriously, what the fuck?

I’m just asking.

Columbus-based writer, educator, and mom. Read more at lindaleebaird.com.