NBC’s vapid vax propaganda ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ was entirely ineffective in restoring faith in the medical establishment
Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo
Last night, NBC aired a one-hour special titled Roll Up Your Sleeves, which was meant to inform viewers and inspire them to get a Covid vaccination.
The show, which was ‘presented’ by drug store behemoth Walgreens, was the most inane and insulting of infomercials. Wedged between a cavalcade of drug commercials for various medical ailments, from bi-polar disorder to migraines to eczema, numerous Hollywood celebrities, politicians and ‘medical professionals’ used stilted conversations and dead-eyed monologues to urge viewers to take the “safe and effective” vaccine in order to get back to their “family and friends.”
Instead of convincing me to get the vaccination, this insipid piece of propaganda that kept endlessly repeating the mantra “safe and effective” left me wanting to stick needles into both of my eyes.
My biggest question regarding Roll Up Your Sleeves is who in the hell – besides some sorry son of a bitch like me – is actually watching this piece of garbage? I mean, no one in their right mind watches network television anymore and, of the sad souls who do, are they really going to watch an hour of a highschool health-class level of medical advocacy?
The show opened with Michelle Obama, Faith Hill, Lin-Manuel Miranda and the power couple Russell Wilson and Ciara chatting unnaturally on Zoom together. After some limp back and forth, Michelle Obama turned the evening over to Wilson and Ciara, who hosted from a TV studio made over to look like… a club in a TV studio.
I like Russell Wilson as a football player. But as a TV host, he seems like he’s received one too many hits to the head, and Ciara is a beauty but quite the annoying piece of arm candy. These two bland buffoons were like if Donny and Marie had gotten charisma bypass surgery.Also on rt.com CNN lampooned for blasting Fox News hosts for lack of ‘vaccine selfies’: ‘It would save lives’
One of the evening’s lowlights was when Matthew McConaughey ‘interviewed’ Doctor Anthony Fauci. McConaughey turned the smarm up to 11 and had his hair greased back and wore tinted glasses for the Zoom occasion.
The interview consisted of the sweaty McConaughey sneering at anyone who could doubt the vaccine, as he asked Fauci the questions people might have such as “are there long-term side effects to the vaccine?”
Fauci answered “No!” and greasy McConaughey gave his million-dollar smile and moved on to the next propaganda talking point.
If this exchange was meant to ease anxieties around the vaccine, it failed miserably. Having some vapid, Hollywood clown who looks like a second-rate used car salesman pitch softballs to a known liar like Fauci isn’t going to convince anyone but those already of like mind.
The rest of the seemingly endless hour was just as ineffective for the cause of getting people to take the vaccination.
Besides shilling for the vaccine, there was also a lot of talk about racism and the history of medical professionals mistreating black people, who were definitely the target audience for the show.
Barack Obama came on and discussed past medical racism with Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, but reiterated that things have changed and that “black and brown” people should trust the “safe and effective” vaccine.Also on rt.com Self-anointed celebrity Covid-19 saviours need to wake up and realise poorer countries need power, not pity
Actor Sterling K. Brown later did the same, but he couched his impassioned argument around the fact that black doctors and scientists have always been at the forefront of vaccinations and that a black woman had been integral in developing the “safe and effective” Covid vaccine.
There was even a completely incongruous segment in the show about the recent spike in anti-Asian violence that had nothing to do with the “safe and effective” vaccine at all.
That said, there was one less-than-subtle appeal to whites, which came in the form of former NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett saying people need to get vaccinated so they can go to the races again. I am sure this was incredibly appealing to the hordes of rednecks tuning in to a woke vaccination special on NBC on a Sunday night.
The show did try to be intentionally funny a few times too but, not surprisingly, never actually succeeded.
Actor Kumail Nanjiani did a cringe-worthy ‘kids say the darndest things’ type segment and comedian Wanda Sykes came on to tell what were supposed to be jokes. It seemed as though they had both been “safely and effectively” vaccinated against being funny.
The bottom line regarding Roll Up Your Sleeves is that it wasn’t actually designed to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree with it and it will not be effective in getting people to take the allegedly “safe and effective” vaccine.
The Walgreens Propaganda Hour featuring thirsty celebrities and bloviating politicians is just not going to restore people’s lost faith in medical professionals.
Fauci and his ilk spent the last year mortgaging their own integrity and hemorrhaging their own authority. You can’t lie about the necessity for masks, like Fauci originally did, or tell people that they must isolate at home, unless it is to go to Black Lives Matter rallies, and expect anyone to believe a word you say.
The vaccine may very well be “safe and effective,” but Fauci and his Hollywood and Washington snake-oil sales agents are not trustworthy advocates, and no slapdash variety hour is going to change that fact.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.