2397: I Just Don't Trust Them

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I Just Don't Trust Them
I believe in getting immunity the old-fashioned way: By letting a bat virus take control of my lungs and turn my face into a disgusting plague fountain while my immune system desperately Googles 'how to make spike protein antibodies'.
Title text: I believe in getting immunity the old-fashioned way: By letting a bat virus take control of my lungs and turn my face into a disgusting plague fountain while my immune system desperately Googles 'how to make spike protein antibodies'.


This comic is another in a series of comics related to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

Cueball partially echoes a statement made by anti-vaccination activists about "Big Pharma" (the powerful and profit-driven companies which develop pharmaceutical drugs such as vaccines). Anti-vaccine protesters falsely believe that vaccines contain harmful toxins (such as HIV proteins, aluminum salts, formaldehyde, mercury, and nanoparticles) that cause ill effects on the human body, that just because there has never been a licensed mRNA vaccine before that these new vaccines are not safe in the long term, and that the corporations that make them are not to be trusted because they are exploiting a captive public for profit while disregarding public health. The joke is that Cueball is revealed to be not talking about Big Pharma but, instead, bats.

According to the WHO, COVID-19 has an ecological origin in bat populations. Hence, Cueball sees the virus as something developed by bats, and the ambiguity by which he expresses his desire to not be infected adds to the joke.

The comic could simply be seen to serve as a compelling argument against the anti-vaccine movement, which is often criticized for spreading misinformation and increasing rates of disease, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This comic comes shortly after the news of the development of several COVID-19 vaccines with high rates of success; there are concerns that herd immunity may be delayed if people refuse to take the vaccine.

The title text refers to getting immunity the old-fashioned way, i.e. catching the disease and waiting for your immune system to build up a response. This is usually considered healthy when immunity to minor diseases is common, and can avoid the sudden forced evolution of new diseases among extensively hypercareful communities, but developing natural immunity is certainly incredibly dangerous during a pandemic of a serious illness. One joke here is that many anti-vaxxers claim that it is more natural to not take a vaccine. Because many people conflate "natural" with "healthy", the assumption underlying the claim "it is more natural to not take a vaccine" is that it is therefore more healthy. Such arguments are an example of the logical fallacy known as Appeal to nature. Thus, the title text is apparently written from a pro-vaxxer's take on the stance of an anti-vaxxer.

The title text also playfully suggests that the immune system would attempt to use an Internet search engine to learn how to manufacture spike protein antibodies. While this may be an effective technique for a human being to acquire knowledge, it would not likely be as efficient for a nonsentient biological system.[citation needed]


[Cueball stands with his arms to his sides, facing Megan.]
Cueball: I just don't trust them, and I don't want to put something they developed into my body.
[Caption below the panel:]
How I feel about bats

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Is this a parody of anti-vaxxers? that's what my first thought was, but the way Cueball seems so polite about it just being his opinion makes me think otherwise. -- 01:19, 12 December 2020 (UTC)

It is, but I could definitely see a milder-than-stereotypical "Karen" saying that—I think it'd be more clear on the politeness if Cueball had, y'know, a face. bubblegum-talk|contribs 06:33, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
I say it in only two words: YOU FIRSTSeebert (talk) 18:37, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
William Shakespeare was the second person to be given the vaccine, is that good enough for you? 03:47, 13 December 2020 (UTC)

There's obviously also some reference about the fantastical idea of 'microchip' injections, which the more Conspiracy Theorising anti-vaxxer will try to suggest. Right now there's nothing in the Explanation about that, but it agrees with the particular fervency of the statement made (before the bait-n-switch, at least). But what currently is said is "Bats, which are unhygeinic (sic) disease-carrying animals rather than rational humans." I'd like to add a real (non-injoke) [Citation Needed] to that 'unhygienic' bit. They do a lot of personal (and social) grooming, and its not lack of hygiene that means they can't handle viral transmission (probably the opposite). Maybe reword it as more obviously tongue-in-cheek, if that was the intention?. 02:59, 12 December 2020 (UTC)

There actually _are_ some web pages that would work as a "citation" for lethal things that are "natural", for example, I started one (at <http://map.map-ne.com/Rants/natural.html> for reference) but I'm not really maintaining it, because in researching the info I kept running across other sites that had already done it (and I link to the relevant TVtropes page). MAP (talk) 06:16, 12 December 2020 (UTC)

Were you trying for Markdown-style italics? Those are ''…'' double apostrophes (not quotation marks) or <i>…</i> HTML <i> tags.bubblegum-talk|contribs 06:33, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
Well, I was habitually typing that because when _I_ started on the net (1974, long before it was the "Internet") that was the way you emphasized things. MAP (talk) 15:34, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
Well, Kahn and Cerf coined the term in 1974, though it wasn't regularly called that for a while, probably had to wait for TCP/IP (easier than X.25, IMO). But, yeah, the good old days where text was text (and email wasn't bulked out with MIME sections) when you could make things _underlined_, /italics/ or in *bold* in the reader's mind and everyone was happy about this! I couldn't even spot the 'markup' you hadn't used in the above, because I think I read it as intended. ;) And nice to meet someone maybe a little more senior than me. I believe the young 'uns would say something about kudos. (Well, maybe 20 years ago they would. Not sure what the rad lingo is these days, daddyo!) 03:47, 13 December 2020 (UTC)
Suggested citation for natural is not always healthful. [1]

"While it is usually true that what is "natural" is also "healthy", this is not the case anymore in many modern scenarios that have become more commonplace. Of course, far far more modern things are lethal, than natural things are." Oh, come on. Most plants are poisonous, wood fire is very bad for your lungs. Also, what exactly does 'natural' mean. Is it natural or not that some people die from viral disease?

I refer you to the George Carlin quote from my page. Everything in existence is, in fact, "natural"! MAP (talk) 15:34, 12 December 2020 (UTC)
If everything(..)is natural, it proves my point that the word 'natural' is useless. (If every color were green, we would not need the word color.)
Natural is definitely wide term. All baryonic matter is natural. Most black holes are natural. Neutrinos are natural. If you really happen to have something unnatural, give it to scientist - it can enhance our understanding of universe by centuries. Also, I believe you need some unnatural (also called exotic) matter to create wormholes. -- Hkmaly (talk) 03:22, 13 December 2020 (UTC)
The 'best' thing I've heard from that side is someone promoting Natural Products (sic) because "Natural products don't have side-effects". I really wanted to say that the only things that have no side-effects are the ones with absolutely no effects at all... (In light of Hkmaly's comment... Dark matter?) 03:47, 13 December 2020 (UTC)
All raw material may be natural, but what's artificial is the way it's organized. There's plenty of silicon laying around in sand on beaches, but it takes humans to rearrange it into microchips. Barmar (talk) 06:07, 13 December 2020 (UTC)

I believe aluminum salts, formaldehyde, mercury, and nanoparticles all are or were used in vaccines, and are toxic in higher amount. The idea is that the amount present in vaccine is small enough to be safe. Also, at least mercury is being phased out. Generally, vaccines are not supposed to be completely safe - they are supposed to be safer than the illness they are against. -- Hkmaly (talk) 03:22, 13 December 2020 (UTC)

They need to be a little unsafe (traditional types with adjuvants, that is) to better prime the body against the thing they're trying to show it. But it shouldn't be a problem in itself because of the miniscule amounts. These days they're (wrongly) complaining about DNA being re-written, of course. And then being far more reckless 'free' from the perceived threat than they otherwise would be even by being a guinea-pig. 03:47, 13 December 2020 (UTC)

One of my YouTube addictions is watching wild bat rescue and rehabilitation channels from Australia. (Sky Puppies!) The rescuers warn about not handling bats without the proper training, inoculations, and precautions, but possible COVID-19 transmission is rarely mentioned. This might be due to the separation from Asian bat populations. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 07:21, 13 December 2020 (UTC)

Not having followed the COVID-19 vaccine development that closely and having just watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 the title text gives an eerie flashback to the shrikes. Being bat-like (even though they were called birds I always thought they looked more bat-like) creatures which infect the host through the mouth, taking over their lungs and eventually making them erupt into spikes. I can't really figure out if that was intended or not? Silwing (talk) 09:39, 14 December 2020 (UTC) I was just wondering if this was a reference to BATs the tobacco giants, and their attempt to develop a vaccine...

Almost Midday Tuesday, and this is still showing. I am certain he's getting later and later in actually posting content each day. It has got to be Tuesday in America soon too right? 00:21, 15 December 2020 (UTC)

The next comic (or at least the page-creation Bot) seems to have kicked off an hour and a little bit after your post, if I read the times correctly. I too had hoped to see it click over not too long after midnight (UTC) but it happened after I gave up for the night (it's now 6:42, my time, and this is the third thing I checked since waking). This is common enough, i.e. >7PM (EST) publishing, in my experience, though it's also been far earlier and a little later. 06:46, 15 December 2020 (UTC)

Okay the bit about Google in the title text is the part that REALLY got me. Anyone else?--Twisted Code (talk) 01:43, 4 April 2022 (UTC)

I added an explanation; feel free to modify. Jkshapiro (talk) 02:08, 4 April 2022 (UTC)