Gov. Newsom Order on Singing at Gatherings Hits a High C of Ridiculousness
Arbitrary and goofy orders seek to legislate every aspect of life
By Ken Kurson, October 18, 2020 12:08 pm
California Globe’s story last week about the governor’s new order—which limits gatherings to three households, under two hours, and with no singing—has become one of the most read stories (and especially tweeted) in this site’s history.
One of the most common reactions has been “Not from the Babylon Bee.” That refers to the idea that legislating gatherings in such granular detail could only be satire, as practiced by the reliably hilarious Babylon Bee.
Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.
However, if you read the actual document “Guidance for Private Gatherings” issued by the State of California Health And Human Services Agency and signed by Gov. Newsom’s Acting Health Director Sandra Shewry, you quickly realize it’s not funny at all. It’s terrifying. In fact, for those who imagine that Katy Grimes’ story must have been exaggerating the intrusive nature of the issue, it’s actually the opposite. If anything, our earlier article undersold just what a dystopian, totalitarian picture the actual memo itself paints for California.
Take, for example the prohibition on singing. It’s actually formulated as “Rules for Singing, Chanting, and Shouting at Outdoor Gatherings.” Such a detailed prescription could easily be imagined coming from the Taliban or in a fictional work by George Orwell. But seeing that with the official seal of the State of California on a document should send a chill down any Americans spine.
“People who are singing or chanting are strongly encouraged to do so quietly (at or below the volume of a normal speaking voice).” Presumably, the Partridge Family would be relieved to learn that “Musicians must be from one of the three households.” But wait, the state even has opinions about the composition of your backyard quartet: “Playing of wind instruments (any instrument played by the mouth, such as a trumpet or clarinet) is strongly discouraged.” Seriously, WTF.
There’s also helpful advice for your housekeeping.
“All gatherings must be held outside. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.” Do we really want our state government issuing specific instructions about how we clean our bathrooms? Is this what we signed up for?
Elsewhere we are instructed “a place to wash hands or hand sanitizer must be available for participants to use.”
Bad advice, delivered unprofessionally
In addition to the extreme nannystate prescriptions, more weirdness of this document comes from the number of grammatical mistakes and formatting errors within it.
In one section that advises against attending gatherings if you feel sick — a rare piece of reasonable advice — we see a random parentheses and random comma in bold type. The entire first point is in italics, but in all of the other of the seven points only the heading is italicized.
When Californians are told (ridiculously) that “Singing, chanting, shouting, and physical exertion significantly increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” we are not informed why whoever wrote this memo cannot get its subjects and verbs to agree.
What’s even scarier than the idea that California’s state government has appointed itself absolute ruler of our most personal and even trivial decisions is that these rules seem to have been codified by an intern, and overseen by no one with even elementary grammatical skills. Let alone knowledge of the, you know, U.S. Constitution.
Another jarring aspect of this astonishing directive is the way its instructions are totally at odds with two prevailing trends of California consciousness-equality and environmentalism. For a generation, we’ve been told that inequality and bad ecology are the most serious threats to the state’s future. Suddenly, our government tells us that the only families that can invite others are those with “enough [space] so that everyone at a gathering can maintain at least a 6-foot physical distance.” Apartment dwellers and those with small backyards apparently do not deserve time with friends and extended family.
We also discover, after decades of preaching regarding the need to re-use, that “any food or beverages at outdoor gatherings must be in single-serve disposable containers.” If there’s any evidence that plastic forks are less likely to transmit COVID-19 than proper silverware, the state fails to provide it. The provided links to WHO and Harvard Medical School documents say nothing on the topic. Six years ago, California was the first to enact a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores. Last year, the state passed a ban on the single-use plastic shampoo bottles visitors get in hotels. Does the pandemic somehow eliminate the existential threat we’ve been told that plastic represents?
There’s a reason that “pandemic fatigue” landed on the front page of today’s New York Times. It’s not just the devastation that six months of lockdown, fear, deaths and impoverishment have wrought. It’s also the gnawing sense that our leaders are making it up as they go.
When our state government issues an official document declaring some musical instruments unacceptable and legislating the volume at which we’re allowed to sing, it is rightly seen as arbitrary and ridiculous. At some point, pandemic fatigue will be the least of our worries. Outright disobedience, even of practical and reasonable advice, will become inevitable. And that’s when things will become a lot more dangerous than loud singing and four-family gatherings.
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24 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom Order on Singing at Gatherings Hits a High C of Ridiculousness”
Arbitrary and capricious, as well as ridiculous.
This dictate is also aimed at home churches. Newsom the bigot is working on annihilating churches just like his Chinese masters. He is not far from rounding people up who won’t bow to him.
Who was it that said that “your freedom to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins”? This is just an extension of the argument about wearing face masks. Virtually all experts insist that face masks will be at least as important in finally controlling the pandemic as an effective vaccine. And Newsom’s rules are take that reasonable, logical rule a bit further . . . as is necessary in a crowded state like ours. On the other hand, should we follow the Haredi, who have made Israel the most concentrated coronavirus hotspot in the world? Frankly, Mr. Caine, I’d rather be safe . . . than sorry.
Would you mind sharing with us what is your stake and interest in having the entire population of California unnecessarily locked up and masked up and denied their civil rights until Newsom gets good and ready to allow them again? You know he doesn’t have the right to do this and so does he. Too bad he has a court date in three days to determine if he can continue this phony Emergency Powers nonsense until we’re all dead. Ridiculous.
“Those who would trade their liberty for a little perceived security will soon find they have neither”.
Thanks Jules. This whole article ignores the fact that the governor is trying to slow the spread of a deadly virus, not arbitrarily trample on rights for no reason. The indoor church where full voice singing took place became a super spreader event. The US is failing to control the spread vs other countries, largely because many people are more concerned about exercising their rights than taking necessary steps.
You’re kidding, right?
Whether what Gov. Newsom is “ordering” seems strange to you or not, when we follow these guidelines our communities in California stay a lot safer and we have far fewer (in our case, NO deaths) cases than you do in New Jersey. So hooray for Gov Newsom for saving us (especially the elderly and sick) from you folks who value your “freedom” so much you’re willing to make others sick and die. If this whole stupid country would stop worrying about whether they’re having fun and start thinking of others, we might finally get over this disease.
What are you talking about?
Be sure and wear rubber gloves and a mask while driving solo and always and I mean always wear a mask between bites!
We haven’t gotten over the common cold or flu…we learned to live with it, and without dictating how others should live and behave.
Value your freedom, and that of others’ freedom to maintain your own.
I agree. I’ve always laughed when I saw the labels on things like paint thinner that are “known to the state of California to cause cancer,” and said, Well, good thing I don’t live in California so I’m safe!” Obviously I understand the larger meaning of the notice and I don’t sniff paint thinner. But wow, I am so thankful I don’t live in California. I’m in South Carolina, where our governor is very much aware of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers’ fear of tyrannical government. He has left it to local governments to make mask rules as they see fit. I do agree: we haven’t managed to stop the flu, which is supposed to be less contagious than COVID, and with a smaller death rate, so how can we expect to stop COVID? Most people recover with no problems.
Dont forget, if you are outside under a cover, canopy, etc. Said cover must have 3 open sides or 75% open. Also, wear your mask in between bites of food. Who put this together? DHHS? Some random manager? And Newsom thought these were good ideas. By doing this, he has taken any credibility he may have had and burned it. Good luck Newsom.
So, if a suitable “frequently sanitized” indoor restroom is not available, are we to go outside? Does the Governor specify the minimum size of the bush that we are to use? In terms of toilet paper: if we put the “A”and “B” sections of the local newspaper together, does that qualify as two-ply?
So many questions, so little common sense.
Funniest comment in 10 years, “does he specify the size of the bush” ????????????????
Evidently you are not aware of the new mandate issued Friday from Gov Newsom’s public health officer Dr. Ghaly that before using any such facility (if available) or bush (if not available) you must turn around three times (while masked) and scream like a chicken (while unmasked). Failure to follow this rule is an infraction and will result in the issuance of a $500 citation by local authorities.
Funniest comment in 10 years, “does he specify the size of the bush” ????????????????
Is there anywhere to buy rolls of T.P. with Newsoms’picture on it?
The vast majority are paying no mind to the drivel. The few who do are as big an enemy as antifa or blm.
“Virtually all experts insist that face masks will be at least as important in finally controlling the pandemic as an effective vaccine.”
Oddly enough, the CDC recently released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6936a5-H.pdf) that suggests masks to be of doubtful utility (money quote: ” In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public.”,….i.e. very little apparent protective effect). In fact, you could argue that the data presented in the document table indicates an inverse relationship for mask use vs. infection.
Just WHO is going to enforce/police to see that these rules are followed??? Don’t the local police have enough to do already??? how ridiculous