Has the world gone mad?

I thought craziness lived mainly in Florida - epicenter of the pandemic - where Gov. Ron DeSantis not only opposes mandatory vaccines for hospital workers, but also mask mandates for schools. He even threatens to de-fund schools that require students to wear masks.

As it turns out, however, pushing back against vaccines and Covid restrictions span the globe. Yahoo News recites objections to preventive measures all the way from Australia to France and Israel to Bulgaria. Resistance has even seeped like an oil spill into the art world.

Quitting time

A museum director in Italy quit his job in protest against the state mandate requirement that all museum visitors show proof of coronavirus vaccination calledgreen pass.

ArtNews Gobal reports that Fabrizio Masucchi, who ran the Sansevero Chapel Museum in Naples for the 10 years, quit in anger over his nation ruling that museum goers must either show digital certification for at least one dose of the vaccine or show negative test results for the virus in 48 hours prior to the visit.

Italy’s law also applies to movie houses, indoor sporting events and restaurants, and not just in Italy. France has an equivalent law. But Masucchi said in an open letter that museums are different and that his conscience demands he stand firm against what he calls his government “exploiting cultural institutions” by forcing vaccinations.


Staying calm

He explained his stance this way: “I would like to calmly remind you that museums are by their very vocation places of inclusion, and that equal access to art and culture [is] a right of all.”

Besides, he added, the state ruling is unnecessary because studies show that museums are safer than all other public spaces when it comes to contagion.

(He didn't identify the studies).

In contrast

Meanwhile, here in the American museum world, masks are a must for entry. Boston’s art museums are mandating masks regardless of vaccine status (owing to the lambda variant, which is reportedly vaccine-resistant). The Dallas Museum of Art also calls for masks. DMA director Agustin Arteaga even requires children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated to mask up.

His ruling may not hold. More about that in a moment.

Face masks are such a commonplace in American museum-going that to hear the New York Times tell it, they’re big sellers in museum gift shops.

Not in the Art Museums of South Texas, however. AMST had a mask requirement but dropped it. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott forbids such requirements. The Dallas News reports Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates in schools, businesses and government offices. Why? He says he’s “defending Texans' liberty to choose whether or not they mask up."

“Liberty”? Isn’t that like protesting noise ordinances to be free to play boom boxes at high decibel level all night, even if it disturbs neighbors trying to sleep?

No smoking

The Smithsonian’s American Art Museums not only require mask, but like every other U.S. art museum, ban smoking. Why don’t the anti-maskers object to the smoking ban in public places? Doesn’t that also interfere with their liberty?

“So, this is where we are,” as the song “World Gone Mad” goes. ‘It’s not where we wanted to be.” The last line of the lyric by Josiah Siska haunts the mind: “If half the world’s gone made/The other half just don’t care, you see.”