No, seriously: Outgoing NIH director picks up guitar and sings 'COVID over the Rainbow'
Francis Collins, the outgoing Chief Pharisee of the National Institutes of Health, gave a bizarre farewell address on December 14, 2021, during a so-called U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "town hall" event (which, despite the name, appears to have been pre-recorded on a soundstage).
In so doing, Collins achieved a rare feat, something generally unachievable by mortals. Like one of the ancient Greek gods, he managed to completely and perfectly personify a particular aspect of human behavior. As Aphrodite personified sexual desire and Athena wisdom, so in this special moment did Francis Collins become the quintessential embodiment of...hypocrisy.
Francis Collins is the man who oversaw Tony Fauci and the NIAID's funding of coronavirus gain-of-function experimentation (yes, it was gain-of-function research) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (yes, it was the place where COVID-19 originated). As Rutgers professor Richard Ebright put it:
The NIH — specifically, Collins, Fauci, and [Lawrence A.] Tabak — lied to Congress, lied to the press, and lied to the public. Knowingly. Willfully. Brazenly.
Collins made his career by supporting and funding morally objectionable research of many kinds while sporting the public persona of a sort of hyper-spiritual and unctuously tenderhearted Christian. Nowhere was this on fuller display than at this "town hall."
In a performance that exemplifies the term "tone-deaf" in so many ways, the dear, avuncular Collins picked up a guitar — complete with a fake expression of surprise at its presence on the set — and gave a birthday party clown's rendition of his own clumsy, cringe-worthy parody of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," entitled "Somewhere Past the Pandemic."
With his gray walrus mustache, Francis resembled an underfed Captain Kangaroo. His fingerpicking was rudimentary, his rhythm variable, and his voice alternated between a thin warble and abrupt talk-singing. He channeled Fred Rogers as best he could, albeit with none of the sincerity and ten times the creepiness. Through it all, he carried a smarmy glint in his eye that seemed to say, "See? I didn't have to be an evil scientist. I could've been a third-rate folk singer!"
But it was the words, ladies and gentlemen, the words. They weren't lyrics; there was nothing lyrical about them. Yes, they were badly enough composed — extra syllables at the end of several lines, strained rhymes like "come off" with "cough" — to send Harold Arlen and Judy Garland spinning in their graves.
But it was their message that sent Francis into his Apotheosis of Hypocrisy. For example:
"Somewhere past the pandemic, we'll hug our friends / And thank the people and science that brought the pandemic's end."
In the seemingly benign guise of an amateurish, lighthearted children's singer, Francis Collins achieved several Olympian feats of hypocrisy.
He made a cartoon of the misery and death suffered by millions of people worldwide, caused by a virus whose origin he almost certainly played a role in, and also caused by the draconian measures; suppressed therapies; and rushed, mandated vaccines that he, Fauci, and the rest of his NIH foisted upon the world.
He attempted one last time to gaslight the world about his role in this great disaster, and he recast himself and his cronies as grandfatherly benefactors of mankind rather than the amoral profiteers that they are.
He played his utterly phony public persona to its logical extreme, one last nauseating time.
The whole song lasted about two minutes, though it seemed much longer. Finally, finally, struggling to reach the top notes, Francis ended with:
Yes, let's end COVID now, shall we? Step one: pound sand, Francis Collins.
Image: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services via YouTube.
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