One of the things that scares a lot of people about the coronavirus is how much it resembles the world-wide plagues that take place in science fiction and horror movies.
The opening scene is a news report of a spike in some kind of previous unknown illness, but with government officials reassuring one and all that there is nothing to worry about. Then, six months later, the hero, played by Will Smith or maybe Brad Pitt, is standing in the middle of an empty Times Square at noon, wondering how he became the last man alive on Earth.
So, it may come as some comfort that the venerable Stephen King, once the master of horror, has taken to Twitter, not to frighten people, but to calm their fears.
“No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND. It’s not anywhere near as serious. It’s an eminently survivable. Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions.”
For those who have never heard of Stephen King or has read any of his novels, “The Stand,” which first came out in 1978 with an unabridged version released in 1990. The premise of the novel is that a genetically engineered superflu, called “Captain Trips,” escaped from a top-secret government facility and went on to kill 99 percent of the human race. The first part of the book lovingly and in great detail depicts these mass deaths and the accompanying collapse of civilization.
Then, after the apocalypse, the story gets into a weird final battle of good against evil as the survivors do battle with one another in the ruin of the world left behind.
The book has been adapted into a television miniseries by ABC. A new series based on “The Stand” is being filmed for the CBS All Access Network.
The New York Post notes that several respondents on Twitter have not taken King’s reassurances too kindly.
One person tweeted, “Only a narcissist could relate this back to himself.”
Someone else noted, “OMG kids, this is the first non-bats–t crazy tweet King has ever sent. Mark your calendars.”
Several respondents, under the impression that they were being clever, called the current contagion, “Captain Trumps.”
King, who has been active in leftwing politics ever since he came out in support of Gary Hart in 1984 and compared then-President Ronald Reagan to one of the more evil characters he imagined in his stories, could not help himself from making some political snarks related to the coronavirus.
King tweeted, echoing something that Bernie Sanders has often said, “Republicans are talking about bailing out the airlines and oil companies. How about a bail-out for middle-class and poor folks who can’t pay their medical bills?”
It should be noted that President Trump has already persuaded the health insurance companies to waive copayments on coronavirus tests and the eventual treatment and vaccines when they become available.
King is not very impressed with the current president, needless to say. “Donald Trump: the man is an idiot. That’s who we have in charge during this crisis: an idiot.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom has praised the Trump administration’s responsiveness in dealing with the coronavirus. Newsom is no slouch where it comes to leftwing politics or his ire toward Trump personally.
In another tweet, King agrees with a fan that it is too bad that Elizabeth Warren is not going to be President of the United States.
Cinemablend notes that the latest TV series based on “The Stand” has been a somewhat crazy experience for those shooting scene in British Columbia in Canada. James Marsden, who plays one of the main characters, was especially awestruck about filming a story about a pandemic during a real pandemic.
“There are scenes at the beginning of The Stand where as soon as you see someone who looks normal sneeze or cough into their arm, everyone’s eyes in the room darts towards them. I see that in public now, and everyone kind of takes a few steps away from the person. It’s crazy. We’re in full panic mode right now.”
Stephen King is saying that there is no need to panic. One should remain aware, to be sure, but not do anything out of panic, like buying up every last roll of toilet paper or cases of bottled water.