Get A (Non-Virtual) Life

As a human being with a long career in education, I take umbrage at the idea that the “UO is the No. 1 Petri Dish for COVID” (Letters, 12/9) and instead suggest that the petri dish is where one can find the logic of reader James Houston’s letter. Having witnessed firsthand the virtual-only campus that Houston is so terribly fond of and the sallow, sullen creatures of formerly lively students this produces, dare I suggest we pause on his reasoning and not be so quick as to be emotionally manipulated by narcissism veiled as benevolence.

In accusing University of Oregon students who deign to learn in real classrooms or sleep in dorms as “me-me’s,” and highlighting those who refuse solitary confinement over the holidays as selfish superspreaders, Houston reveals his preoccupation with the definition of selfishness as anything that does not conform to his views. One needs to just look at his declaration of how the UO, the Oregon Health Authority and Lane County Public Health could “get their acts together,” if only they did what he wants.

Why UO students must be the target in a tedious blame game of contagion becomes curious when one realizes that Houston is resting his disdain on the erroneous idea that UO students are so self-absorbed they refuse vaccination, when in reality vaccination has been required for students on-campus since May 10, 2021. There is no shame in Houston’s admission that he reads the OHA’s daily reports on COVID — and if someone you know does this, ask them if they’d like a hot cup of tea and a chat about something that doesn’t affect their cortisol levels — so permit a lack shame as I suggest that Houston put down the daily briefs already, stop blaming others and make a real friend. Only then can he realize why the virtual-only world for education can never teach us that life is for living.

Theo Orlando