Another day, another Dan Andrews press conference meme. This time, The Australian journo Rachel Baxendale was shut down by the Premier himself for asking a weird question about face masks that has an extremely tenuous link to the reality faced by most Victorians each day.
Yesterday, in response to Liberal state MP Bill Tilley‘s rant about face masks, Andrews said that yes, masks aren’t the most comfortable thing to wear, but they’re a hell of a lot more comfortable than being trapped at home and using a fkn machine to breathe.
In comes Baxendale stirring up anti-mask sentiment with an obscure and extremely specific case that relates to hardly anyone.
“Someone by themselves in regional Victoria going for a walk, and there’s noone else in the same square kilometre as them, it’s a bit silly for them to have to wear a mask, though, isn’t it?” she asked.
Dan “But what’s the issue Rachel … seriously”
Rachel “y’know” Baxendale with the ridiculously specific question. Again.
When she goes for a walk, I assume she first launches a drone to ensure there is no-one else in the vicinity. #auspol #covid19vic #springst pic.twitter.com/XHXcUtO9pz
— Squizz (@SquizzSTK) September 28, 2020
Andrews quickly shut her down: “What’s the issue, Rachel? Seriously, what’s the issue? Why is it such a massive issue to have to wear a…”
Baxendale then jumped in, insisting being allowed to not wear a mask while going for a walk in complete isolation in rural Victoria was in fact a “health purpose.”
“That’s an esoteric debate, really,” Andrews added.
Baxendale has since clarified she is by no means an anti-masker, but it was too late. The hashtag #WhatsTheIssueRachel burst into existence, memeing the shit out of the whole situation.
I did ask the Premier whether it made sense for someone in regional Vic going for a walk by themselves in circumstances where they might be the only person in a square kilometre to be obliged to wear a mask. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable question.
— Rachel Baxendale (@rachelbaxendale) September 28, 2020
Heaps of people came up with their own, “esoteric” hypotheticals about when and when not to wear a mask.
A few of them are perhaps even more relatable than Baxendale’s example.
If Venus is in retrograde but a crescent moon is waxing gibbous, should I wear a mask while looking through my telescope if I have my left leg raised in the air? #WhatstheissueRachel
— Triple-Jab Tuffers 💉💉💉 (@RichardTuffin) September 29, 2020
If a surgeon is operating alone, less than 5km from his home, does she still have to wear a mask?#Whatstheissuerachel
— They said (@TheySaid01) September 28, 2020
If I’m Parachuting into Victoria and I’m the only one jumping out of the plane, do I need to have a mask on the whole way down, when I get 5km from the surface or just before landing… #WhatstheissueRachel
— Pauly D (@DK_Flipper) September 28, 2020
#WhatstheissueRachel when I wear a mask do I have to put my false teeth in?
— Ewart, Dave🇦🇺 (@davidbewart) September 28, 2020
Meanwhile, others looked at road safety as a comparison to Dan Andrews asking everyone to wear a proper, fitted face mask.
How often do you witness a serious car crash? How often do you wear a seatbelt? Bingo.
If I’m at a red light and there aren’t any other cars around, can I drive straight on? I mean, it’s a bit silly that I have to stop, isn’t it?
— Stephen Williams (@WilliamsCodex) September 28, 2020
If I’m driving a car and I don’t have an accident, do I still need to wear a seatbelt? What if it is a lonely country road? #WhatstheissueRachel
— Rapid Unscheduled Disassembling CEO of this site (@geeksrulz) September 28, 2020
Others got sidetracked from masks altogether, showing just how random the question really was.
If a train leaves Melbourne heading East travelling at 200 km/h and a horse and cart leaves Sydney travelling South at 24 km/h how many masks should a pie shop owner in Darwin wear when doing their laundry? #WhatstheissueRachel
— Mike Cullen (@MikeCullen73) September 29, 2020
Premier, many Victorians are telling me tomorrow is Wednesday, but I thought today was Tuesday. What is going on here, and when will you apologise for this? #WhatsTheIssueRachel
— PRGuy (@PRGuy17) September 29, 2020
The whole thing is reminiscent of the Andrew Probyn meme from Scott Morrison‘s press conference earlier in the year. The main difference here is the substance and context of the question(s) being asked.
From the mismanagement of hotel quarantine to over-policing or marginalised communities, there are heaps of fair criticism’s of Victoria’s lockdown, and Dan Andrews’ handling of it.
Being made to wear a face mask isn’t one of them.