REWIND: Five songs about not traveling during a plague, you jerks

Rudy Giuliani, Thanksgiving Travel, Trump, COVID-19, coronavirus

Rudy Giuliani, pictured here excited to get the middle seat on Frontier Airlines.

According to several polls, many of you are planning to travel for Thanksgiving. A whole lot of knowledgeable and prestigious people and groups, including the CDC, have advised against this using convincing rhetoric and an understanding that skipping those trips means not seeing family. That said, tact and understanding aren’t really my wheelhouse, so I have the following message:


When I’m not being a mediocre (at best) music journalist, I spend my time as an award-winning data journalist, so let me fall back on that skill set for a moment and show you a chart:

COVID-19, COVID, coronavirus, pandemic

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Nov. 20. Source:

Those arrows correspond to the following events:

1) Basketball season is canceled.
2) There are freezer trucks in the parking lots of hospitals to act as overflow morgues.
3) You’re going to pass through a packed airport to cram yourself into a sealed metal tube with strangers, then spend time in close proximity with your elderly loved ones.

If you need any more explanation than that, you’re dumber than Rudy Giuliani, but because apparently I still have to list five songs, here’s five songs about staying where you are.

Green Day — “Longview”

When this came out, 50 years or so ago, this was supposed to be a critical song about sloth and Gen X’s overall lethargy. But now it’s downright aspirational. This should be your holiday.

These days, you don’t sit around and watch the tube because your TV hasn’t had a tube for 20 years or so. But sit around and watch Netflix. Stay firmly planted to that velcro seat. Be so bored you’re going blind. Because someday you’ll stop being bored and you’ll still be alive to enjoy it. As an added bonus, you won’t have killed your parents with a plague just so you can argue with that one uncle who watches OAN!

George Thorogood — “I Drink Alone”

In 2020, the entire world is an airport.

Hear me out.

Airports are profoundly boring. The flow of time is determined by how fast you want time to flow; if you’re late for a flight, time moves at double the normal rate, and if you’re sitting around waiting for your plane to arrive, time essentially stops. Accordingly, there are no rules about socially acceptable times to drink. You can have a beer at 10 a.m., and nobody is going to say a word, because it’s an airport.

Now, if you really want time to go faster so the vaccine gets here, the days cease to move. And if you want to drink alone at 10 a.m., nobody’s gonna argue. It’s 2020.

Be like George Thorogood. Drink alone; be by yourself.

Madness — “Our House”

Your house. Not your childhood home, not “flying home for family” home, but your house. Your current residence. In the middle of your street, that you live on now.

Other than your brother getting ready for a date, which you should not do, most of this song is actually pretty relatable. It’s just the story of a house full of people occasionally getting on each other’s nerves and trying to get by. Also, the name of the band is Madness, which is extremely on brand for this insanity-inducing year. We’re all mad here.

John Lennon — “Isolation”

This one hits hard.

Yes, we’re all afraid. Yes, we’re afraid to be alone. Yes, it feels like our world is just a little town. But that is no excuse! Isolate, people. Like the abusive jerk sang, “I don’t expect you to understand; you’re just a human, a victim of the insane.” Two particular insane people, especially—Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell—who decided that instead of paying people to stay home and instituting strict mask mandates and contact tracing, they’d just let hundreds of thousands of people die.

I realize you’re suffering for something that’s not your fault, though if you’re seriously considering traveling after having seen that graph up there, it’s probably at least a little your fault. But you can at least not make it worse by killing your family. That should not be a controversial stance.

Lisa Loeb — “Stay (I Missed You)”

I don’t actually know what this song is about; I just know that Lisa Loeb spurred my lifelong thing for women in glasses, and for that she deserves to be included based on the title alone. [Gokhman note: and you just gave me a reason to again share my interview with Lisa Loeb].

Really, that’s all I’ve got for this one. I’m still mad at you for even considering traveling right now, so I can’t be too creative or thoughtful. I mean, my God.


What’s wrong with you, seriously?

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