La Vita è Bella

In the 1987 film, Life is Beautiful, the character Guido Orefice, held in a Nazi death camp,

hides their true situation from his son. Guido explains to Giosuè that the camp is a complicated game in which he must perform the tasks Guido gives him. Each of the tasks will earn them points and whoever gets to one thousand points first will win a tank. He tells him that if he cries, complains that he wants his mother, or says that he is hungry, he will lose points, while quiet boys who hide from the camp guards earn extra points. Giosuè is at times reluctant to go along with the game, but Guido convinces him each time to continue.

Jonathan Chait, Trump Is About to Go Full Coronavirus Death Denier

At this point, Trump is about to try imitating Guido Orefice in the brazenness of his desception scheme. The difference is that he wants to convince 328 million people—many of whom are more than four years of age—not to see the death and destruction that surround them.

It’s akin to what the tobacco companies did to so many of our population. I have recounted hearing my father, sitting in the living room, puffing away on his Lucky Strikes, would say the word “statisticians” in the same tone he say “witch doctors” or “Mormon missionaries.”

Orange Man wants folks like my late father to use exactly that same scornful, angry, dismissive tone of voice when they say “epidemiologists.”

The tobacco companies, like Trump, adopted a business model and a marketing strategy that resulted in death for their customer base. The difference is that cigarettes kill you over a period of maybe a couple of decades. Whereas, if you walk about in the presence of a superspreader and take no precautions, you may be gone in two or three weeks. And, if not you, then your grandmother.

We are going to see how well that works out for Orange Man.