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REVIEW: Shot in the Arm (2023)
Directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, Executive Produced by Neil deGrasse Tyson
The end of Shot in the Arm features an elderly 2x Trump-voting couple stripping off their cloth masks, as part of an upbeat musical montage to indicate the “ending” of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
These are not the only Trump supporters featured in Shot in the Arm; we see quite a few over the approximately 90-minute runtime. Some of them are clad in tactical gear, carrying assault rifles, at one point storming the United States Capitol building. The ending musical montage is an attempt to reinforce an artificially constructed "end" to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, as dictated by the Biden Administration.
We learn a lot about the perspectives of director Scott Hamilton Kennedy and executive producer Neil DeGrasse Tyson's on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and the larger well-off liberal perspective, by what is left out of Shot in the Arm. Long COVID disability isn't mentioned once. Restaurant line cooks being one of the deadliest jobs during the pandemic isn't mentioned, nor is the Koch-funded Great Barrington Declaration - There's a lot of gaps in this "history."
Perhaps it’s worth rewinding to the beginning.
I. Measles & Marks
Shot in the Arm begins with 2019 New York City measles outbreak. Did you know America had a measles outbreak in 2019? Most New Yorkers would tell you they had no idea. We learn about the root cause - Orthodox Jewish communities targeted by anti-vax propagandists like Del Bigtree and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. who are featured prominently throughout the film. All of this material on measles, Bigtree, Wakefield, and RFK is fantastic - and why I ultimately recommend Shot in the Arm. However, it needs to be watched through a critical lens.
Paul Offit is the leading "protagonist" of the film, which is largely a puff piece for Offit and Peter Hotez - who are fully entitled to tell their side of the story in the public sphere, especially after the countless smears and personal attacks they've suffered at the hands of anti-vax, pro-viral provocateurs.
Offit does an excellent job explaining his role on the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the history and safety of vaccines, and going through how fundamentally unserious anti-vax provocateurs like RFK Jr. and Del Bigtree exploit their followers and operate in a cult-like manner. From there, we get into SARS-CoV-2 and Paul admits to underestimating the virus, projecting a final death toll that is vastly under the 1.1+ million recorded American COVID deaths to date.
Where Shot in the Arm tragically falls short, is that Paul never corrects this overly optimistic perspective, and has made utterly fraudulent proclamations outside his realm of expertise since, as a "vaxxed and relaxed" sycophant for mass, repeated infections with a virus that The Economist estimates has already killed over 25 million people worldwide and disabled many more.
II. Learning to Love the Virus
Considering the average home price in Paul Offit's neighborhood of Avalon, NJ is over three million dollars, and the overwhelming majority of Americans are a couple missed paychecks from poverty and homelessness, Offit has experienced a very different pandemic from the average American. If the general public were to walk out of the theater and take Paul Offit's word as gold, they would be quickly misled into a horribly delusional understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
This is just some of what Offit has said from 2020 until now:
‣ March 19th 2020: Paul Offit appears on ZDoggMD’s Youtube show, titled “Is Our Cure Worse Than The Disease,” and mocks anyone taking this new virus seriously after it has upended daily life in China. On March 14th, the first nurse had died of COVID in NYC, and 500+ New Yorkers were dying daily as hospitals were quickly overwhelmed. Some healthcare "heroes" were even driven to suicide in the chaos.
‣ July 10th 2022 - This Week in Virology Episode 917: Paul Offit and others smugly laugh and shrug off Long CVD disability, a condition that has crippled millions of Americans and left many too sick to work, ending careers and driving people into poverty, homelessness, and even suicide. You can’t podcast from the grave.
‣ August 2023: Paul Offit declares "I do think we need to get used to the fact that...we're always going to be susceptible to mild illness," as if millions of Americans haven't already been disabled, even bedridden, by "mild" COVID-19 illness. "Decades" of multiple infections a year from a single virus, constantly mutating and evolving, was never a "thing" in medicine until SARS-CoV-2. Again, Long COVID disability is never mentioned throughout the runtime of Shot in the Arm - something that has crippled frontline doctors and nurses from around the world.
‣ September 8th 2023: Paul Offit declares "I think I have hybrid immunity and clearly hybrid immunity is best," with zero data or evidence to back up this claim. Before COVID-19, nobody was talking about "hybrid immunity" or pretending SARS infections were beneficial in any way, much like "immunity debt" did not exist before 2021. Offit, at 72, is obviously at higher risk due to his age. Perhaps being a multi-millionaire with the best healthcare in the country changes that, as most Americans live terrified of being forced to declare medical bankruptcy.
In effect, Paul Offit has effectively become an anti-vaxxer, insisting that a vaccine for the original 2020 “Alpha” strain of SARS-CoV-2 is all you need for a virus that has developed thousands of variants as a result of mass, repeated infection on a global scale. Offit insists that you just need to suck it up & accept constant infections of a rapidly evolving virus, as millions of Americans continue to develop Long COVID disability and forced to work whilst infectious. A September 2023 study of California farm laborers showed that manual labor whilst infected with COVID-19 greatly increased the risk of developing Long COVID disability.
There are no protections or support for these “essential workers,” unlike Paul Offit and his personal fortune.
Shot in the Arm's perspective on the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic is largely filtered through the eyes of a multi-millionaire who, lacking hard scientific data and facts - or choosing to simply ignore them - is making proclamations & giving medical advice based solely upon vibes and a place of luxury and comfort that is wholly out of reach for the overwhelming majority of Americans.
Tragically, our director and executive producer refuse to push back on Offit in any meaningful way. Which leads us into the end of the film, an upbeat musical montage featuring well-off white Trump supporters stripping off their cloth masks to smile for the camera, signaling an "end" to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and pretending that the vaccine-only approach was effective - by simply ignoring the countless Americans who died of a breakthrough infection post-vaccination, or the mountain of newly disabled Americans.
Now? Paul Offit is being featured by massively popular anti-vax accounts like "Chief Nerd," openly advising people not to get an updated booster vaccine for the latest variant of COVID-19, insisting that endless re-infections & “mild illness” will confer adequate protection against COVID-19 infection. Unfortunately, mountains of scientific research indicate the exact opposite is true - and Paul Offit won’t be paying your rent, buying your groceries, or handling your medical bills if you wind up another pandemic casualty.
III. Runners, Nubs, and Tears
Imagine if you will, that you have been assigned the task of constructing the Mechanicore Tief Sturmer model kit, a $400+ plastic scale modelling leviathan, imported from overseas. Now, you can do your best to follow the non-English instructions and assemble all the bits & pieces together. However, your lack of experience and knowledge will leave you struggling to manage fitting adjustments, mold lines, nubs, and other issues when dealing with a model kit of this scale and caliber. You might grow so frustrated that you give up entirely, or wind up with a subpar final build. Simply put, you’re not equipped for the gravity of this task.
There's a grade school civics class understanding of politics that Shot in the Arm is marinated in, with a stated endgoal of trying to make vaccination (and pandemics) apolitical. Unfortunately, the extended history of pandemics (and vaccines) is incredibly political in nature, with the Black Plague used as a justification to slaughter Jews as a prominent example. Many of those who wound up with long-term health complications after the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic were killed by the Nazi government as part of the Aktion T4 eugenics program, which led into the mass extermination of Jews in the Holocaust.
In Canada, the “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID) program is finding more and more of those suffering in poverty looking to the State for help in permanently ending their suffering. If you’re left bedridden by Long COVID and unable to work, these are the sorts of “tools” that are made available to you.
The Trump supporters that stormed the capital in tactical gear are part of the same political faction as the smiling, vaccinated Trump couple at the end, like it or not. So instead of pushing back on how Offit’s perspective never evolved or acknowledging the millions of Americans left disabled with Long COVID, or say, the dismantling of the American regulatory state… we end Shot in the Arm in total ignorance over the repeated SARS-CoV-2 infections are children are mandated to receive every year.
IV. In Conclusion
This isn’t in the film, but in a post-screening panel discussion featuring astrophysicist and executive producer Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Neil posits the idea that perhaps if the infection fatality rate for COVID-19 was higher, then perhaps the anti-vax/anti-mask movement wouldn’t have gained so much momentum. Well, a simple Google search or opening a history book, two activities liberals like NDT profess to love, would have answered this question. The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic killed an estimated 50-100 million people worldwide, compared to the estimated 25 million COVID-19 deaths.
Anti-vaccine activists ran wild throughout America in the late 1910s through early 1920s. Tragically, there is no fatality number too high to persuade the anti-vaccine movement - you’re simply not dealing with honest people living in reality. The brutal history of politics is much more akin to blunt objects being smashed against one another, than some elaborate fourth-dimensional chess game - laden with craven opportunists like RFK Jr, Del Bigtree, and fraudster Andrew Wakefield, which Shot in the Arm does appropriately skewer.
In closing, you should go see Shot in the Arm. There’s a lot of great material the film does cover. However, if you come out of it thinking someone like Paul Offit is someone you can rely on for accurate for medical advice, or that the COVID-19 pandemic is somehow over… you’re going to be sorely misled into believing that getting SARS-CoV-2 repeatedly is somehow doing your body a favor. You’re likely not a wealthy millionaire like Offit, you’re part of the underclass that exists to serve the comfort and luxury of people like Paul and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Unfortunately, your declining health is nothing but a sparkle in their eye.
Since this is October, the spooky season of the year, it’s fair to say that Shot in the Arm is possibly one of the most terrifying films of the year. As the leading effort out of the world of Holocaust documentary filmmaking, we see that modern American liberalism is wholly unprepared and left staring down the barrel of looming fascism like a baby foal caught in the headlights.
In the words of the legendary Willie Nelson…
Turn out the lights, the party's over
They say that, 'All good things must end'
Let's call it a night, the party's over
And tomorrow starts the same old thing again