According to Collider, Dune has been delayed until late 2021, which means I won’t get to see Oscar Isaac’s sweet Dune-Daddy Beard for a very long time. I take this personally.
I was already quite concerned about Dune’s expected release date scheduled for December 18th, but I held out hope for a while that things might be back to normal by then. Back in the Spring when all this started, I didn’t think it’d have a lasting impact well into Winter like this. As the Summer rolled on it became clear that we wouldn’t be out of this situation by the end of the year, and I braced myself for the inevitable. So the Dune release date getting delayed to October 2021 isn’t exactly surprising, but my goodness it certainly is upsetting.
The last movie I saw in theaters was Boku no Hero Academia: Heroes Rising back in February, and I obsessively wiped down my seat with Clorox wipes and was stressed about it the entire time. And that was before my state even had a confirmed case. So I’m certainly not ready to go out to a theater now (not that I have a choice as they are closed right now). My state has seen a surge since July that hasn’t gone down at all, and I don’t think I’ll be getting to a theater until at least next summer if I’m lucky.
Will I ever get to see the Dune-Daddy Beard on the big screen, or am I doomed to live in perpetual quarantine, only leaving the house for essential services and blocked from enjoying movies in theaters forever?
I’m not a Dune superfan. I’m an Oscar Isaac superfan. That man brings me an immense amount of joy. Back in April when they released the first promo shots, I literally wrote 1000+ words just about his beard. Weird? Maybe. But we are trapped in a hellish nightmare pandemic with growing civil unrest, so honestly why judge anyone for finding something to be joyous about? Just let me enjoy something while the world crumbles around us.
I’m reminded of an article I wrote back in November 2016: Don’t Feel Guilty Seeking Comfort In Fandom. A lot of us are clinging to small fandom things right now that might seem silly in the grand scheme of things, but have very real value for our mental health. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, even though the tone can sometimes feel inappropriate. Why send off a thirst tweet about The Beard in the face of a major global pandemic and civil unrest? It feels odd. But we need some joy. So we cling to these things despite the horror going on around us as a coping mechanism.
Unfortunately, thanks to the prolonged quarantine due to the complete mismanagement of the pandemic in the United States, this bit of fandom joy that I’d been looking forward to for months is getting pulled out of my reach, just like so many other things people are missing out on this year. And I personally lay the blame directly at Donald Trump’s feet.
That’s right. I blame Trump for the lack of Dune-Daddy Beard. And I’m righteously furious.
It didn’t have to be this way. Other countries, such as New Zealand, did incredibly well with their handling of the pandemic and are able to return somewhat to normal. We could have returned to theaters by now if we’d taken this threat seriously, encouraging a national mask mandate and social distancing, and being upfront about the severity of the pandemic. We could be just two months out from experiencing The Beard on the big screen. But we aren’t.
Some may say the size of our country or our density make this comparison to New Zealand inaccurate, but even China is able to do things like host pool parties in the city where the pandemic first began, while we’re unable to do things like that here in the United States. They have a far larger population than we do and they can have pool parties. Japan gets to release movies, too, and they’re way more densely populated than the United States.
So it’s not just the size or density of our country, but the way that we’re handling it. And that’s not even up for debate at this point. It’s just a fact.
Even now, as President Trump is infected with the virus, he continues to mismanage the situation by publicly downplaying the severity of the illness, going on a joyride while endangering his Secret Service crew, and leaving the hospital before he’s ‘out of the woods.’ At this point, dozens of people have tested positive (including those in attendance and secondary transmissions) after attending the Super-spreader event at the end of September, but the administration continues to be reckless, endangering the public and prolonging our isolation from one another.
Even as Trump sat in the hospital, taking supplemental oxygen and three different medications, many of which are reserved for the most severe cases, his supporters rallied outside close together and mostly maskless. That has the potential to be its own super-spreader event, but we may never know it. We only know about the Rose Garden event because of how high profile it is. The average event will get lost in the endlessly cataclysmic news cycle and we’ll never hear about.
Also, somehow Herman Cain, who died a couple months ago from the virus, continues to make tweets from the dead downplaying the severity of the pandemic (the Twitter account has apparently been taken over by staffers, but the Weekend at Bernie’s vibe of it all is incredibly uncomfortable). Somehow we are supposed to trust a guy who died from it that it’s not actually that serious. I would be offended if I wasn’t so angered by everything else. It’s just ridiculous.
They continue to not take this threat seriously and we’re all suffering for it.
As long as the pandemic continues to be mismanaged, we’ll be trapped in a perpetual cyclic lockdown situation, where the states that want to open up safely force their residents to stay in their homes while states that follow the President’s lead let it run wild. Some states may even inch closer to opening, only to pull back again when things get out of hand. It’s never ending. We’re trapped.
The fact of the matter is we’ll continue to have the things that we love pushed backed or cancelled altogether while we sit at home and watch the pandemic burn through the country like a wildfire. We’ll miss out not just on Oscar Isaac’s epic Dune-Daddy Beard, but many other films, conventions, sports, weddings, funerals, graduations.
We’re missing out on life. And we’re losing people who will never get to experience any of these things again, even when we eventually get to the other side of it.
At this point, over 208,000 Americans have died from the virus, and over 7 million have been confirmed positive. That’s roughly two percent of the population and rapidly growing. Statically, you know someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Statically, you probably know several. There are at least half a dozen people I know personally who have been diagnosed with it, with several dozen more just one degree away from me (friends and family of my own friends and family). And there have also been three deaths that have impacted people I love, none of which have been able to have proper funerals yet.
We’ll continue missing out on everything – big or small – until we have leadership that takes this threat seriously.
So yes, I lay the push back of Dune directly at Donald Trump’s feet, along with everything else we’re missing out on and everything we’ve lost. If we want to return to normal, where fangirlish thirst tweets about Oscar Isaac’s beard aren’t living in the shadow of hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of sick citizens, and an endless cycle of lockdowns and isolation, we need to snap out of this and get a handle on the pandemic.
Normalcy is possible. Getting fun things back in our lives is possible. Keeping our loved ones alive and healthy is possible. It’s just not likely under this current administration. We need to change things.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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