Aaron Rodgers getting tackled and fumbling, in a game a couple of years ago (www.twincities.com).
by Dan Burns
Jan 23, 2022, 8:30 AM

Anti-vax, Big Lie acolyte gets humiliated. Does it matter?

Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers NFL team. For the most part he’s really good at it, and as the NFL is now by far the biggest sports draw in America that makes him a major public figure, like it or not. From a couple of days ago:

“When the president of the United States says, ‘This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,’ it’s because him and his constituents, which, I don’t know how there are any if you watch any of his attempts at public speaking, but I guess he got 81 million votes,” said Rodgers.
(Yahoo Sports)

The “I guess he got 81 million votes” is being widely interpreted as him pimping the Big Lie, and from what I’ve seen Rodgers hasn’t claimed otherwise.

Last night the Packers lost a home playoff game that they were widely expected to win. This is far from the first time in Rodgers’s career that that’s happened. In fact, while he’ll still be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and all that, it means that for all his gaudy statistics he’ll go down as a guy who rarely got it done when it really mattered.

Will unvaccinated Trump wingnuts decide that with the bubble burst Rodgers must be talking out of his ass re: the vaccine (which he is)? Or see it as God punishing him for his selfishness and hubris? And therefore go get vaccinated, and change their voting habits while they’re at it? To expand on that, if celebrities, in sports, politics, or whatever, weren’t being publicly anti-vax, would more people be getting the vaccine? Enough to get us to “herd immunity?”

Fat chance. First of all, there are certainly plenty of examples, every damn day, of people possessed of arguably excessive selfishness and hubris not being punished by anyone’s deity of choice. Quite the contrary.

But the biggest reason by far is that so many people live in extreme cognitive rigidity, when it comes to their politics and worldviews. They’re raised that way, more or less, and they’re never encouraged to get beyond it, to say the least. And there is always plenty of reinforcement available for diehard right-wing belief, no matter how patently ridiculous by any rational standard. “Rational” and “fact-based” have nothing to do with it. It’s all about bad cognitive habits, and whatever pushes the right buttons emotionally.

So to answer the question, even if every rich and famous anti-vaxxer out there, A-list or otherwise, was to sit down and shut up like she should, I doubt that it would help significantly with vaccination numbers. The cognitive rigidity – the deep, and deeply irrational, denial, if you prefer – is just too powerful. That’s arguably the #1, fundamental reason why creating lasting, large-scale, positive change is such a hard thing to get done in this world.

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