Meet the Mom Whose Dystopian Anti-Mask Story Went Viral
“I wonder what other things will change, before my bones go into the Earth. Soon the memories of that other world, that world of freedom and breath... will be buried in my tomb with me. And only the young will remember. If they can.”
That’s how 33-year-old Virginia mom Carolynn Markey ends a July 19 Facebook post that has earned over 6,000 shares (and resulted in a mocking Twitter post that got 19,000 retweets). In it, she imagines a world 40 or 50 years into the future, when we’ve overcome the coronavirus pandemic. In this dystopia, vaccines are mandatory. “Coins” have been replaced with “chips.” Christianity, for some reason, has been outlawed.
This is a particularly volatile time on the internet. When people aren’t falsely attributing inspirational quotes to Dr. Anthony Fauci, they’re sniping back and forth about how, exactly, America got itself into such a dire situation with the COVID-19 pandemic—and most importantly, how to get out of it. The answers are simple: Socially distance. Wear a mask. But these directives have caused an uproar in a particular subset of Americans who see this not just as an infringement on their freedom, but—as Markey, who wrote in a blog post that she supports President Trump’s policies, imagines—the first step towards the total collapse of American society.
“I just was driving home from the grocery store and I was thinking, what if all the conspiracy theories are true?” she says in a recent phone call.
Then she sat down to write a story that the above-mentioned viral tweet described as “absolutely deranged.”
The comments on Markey’s original Facebook post are equally brutal. Most of them are just GIFs of confused TV characters and Homer Simpson backing into a bush.
“So exactly how many lines of coke did you snort before you wrote this?” one user asks.
“I thought there would be people who wouldn't like it, but I didn't realize there would be a lot of people who didn't like it,” explains Markey, who says she first posted the story in a “medical freedom” Facebook group before being encouraged to make it public.
Markey is not a medical professional or a public figure, but her post has enchanted as many people as it has repulsed. In the last three days, she’s sold 500 copies of her ebook, In The Dark Of The Station, and received 12,500 hits on her blog, Kitty Ears. Now, she says, she’s leaving the internet.
What were you hoping to accomplish with your Facebook post?
I don't know that I had a hope that [this would] accomplish something. I just wrote it because I write things. When I write it's more like I'm working through something—it accomplishes something for me.
Do you plan to make more content like this?
I plan to keep writing. I don't know if I'll write content like that. Usually I write fantasy or science fiction. I've never written something like, based in reality.
This post sends a strong message. Have any of your friends or family disagreed? How have you dealt with it?
I had a friend, she is very liberal, and she wasn't mean to me, but she was like, “I really disagree with your post.” I'm fine with people disagreeing. I wasn't really trying to make a political statement. I wasn't trying to say masks are bad. I wear a mask. I thought that if we were still wearing masks in 40 years, I wouldn't really like that very much.
Have you thought about getting the COVID-19 vaccine for you and your family when it arrives?
Would you feel any responsibility for the health of those around you?
Even before COVID, if one of my kids was sick, we would stay home. I'm not trying to spread disease everywhere or anything. If they recommended masks, I would think that was great. Other countries like Japan, they wear masks when they're sick. I can totally get behind a movement like that, but I really wouldn't want a law that everyone has to wear a mask as soon as they step outside their door or as soon as they enter an establishment. I would more like it to be a suggestion. I would still follow it if it was a law because you obey the law, but I wouldn't like it.
Would you get a vaccine if President Trump endorsed it?
I definitely would not get the vaccine. I would definitely go to jail before I signed up for that. [Markey’s main character in her post has a prison stint in her past.] When I got pregnant I was 100 percent for vaccines and my husband said, “We're not vaccinating our kid.” And I was like, “You're insane. Our child is going to die. You can't do that. We're vaccinating our child.” And by the time I gave birth, he convinced me not to.
Now that you have a platform, do you plan on using it?
I was going to do a whole year without the internet because I get really distracted by my phone and I need to be paying attention to my children. I think I'm going to avoid it