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Conservative author Bethany Mandel slammed for 'you can call me grandma killer' tweet about lifting lockdown

Before she reached the “grandma killer” punch, Mandel made a litany of accusations. Ironically, Mandel's Twitter bio proclaims she is a "homeschooling momma"
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

That “Grandma Killer” was trending on Twitter on Wednesday, May 6, may have been considered bizarre at a different time. But in terms of the sheer absurdity that we have witnessed in the last few months, it makes perfect sense for a morbid phrase like “Grandma Killer” to be typed by thousands who may not have ever thought they’d be doing so one day. 

Now that we have established that this is normal, let’s get to the bottom of it. Conservative American author Bethany Shondark Mandel, whose columns include amazing headlines like ‘How The Transgender Crusade Made Me Rethink My Support For Gay Marriage’, ‘The Boy Scouts Should Have Watched The Circus Before Admitting Transgender Girls’ and ‘If Liberals Want To Have Fewer Children To Save The Planet, More Power To Them’, wrote something on Twitter that sparked this. 

She wrote, “You can call me a Grandma killer. I’m not sacrificing my home, food on the table, all of our docs and dentists, every form of pleasure (museums, zoos, restaurants), all my kids’ teachers in order to make other people comfortable. If you want to stay locked down, do. I’m not,” adding, “Doesn’t mean it won’t be done responsibly but I am just. I am done. I feel lied to about the terms of this lockdown and I regret ever trusting that it would be done responsibly.”

Before she reached the “grandma killer” punch, Mandel made a litany of accusations. She suggested that the continuation of the lockdowns that were instituted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic would lead to “the destruction of society”, and that soon there would be “no pediatricians or general doctors or physical therapists or nurses or home health aides. No dentists. No zoos or aquariums. No private schools. No restaurants or caterers. No hairdressers or nail technicians. No gyms. No summer camps or daycares.”

Ironically, Mandel's Twitter bio proclaims that she is a "homeschooling momma".

Not debating the probability or the possibility of Mandel’s speculation, her choice of words were nonetheless interesting. So, why “grandma killer”? Well, for starters, COVID-19 poses a much higher risk to the elderly and the immunocompromised than anyone else.

Another reason may be because of callous remarks from conservative commentators on the coronavirus in the past, many have begun to identify conservative voices with this marker. For example, in March, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, “I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me -- I have six grandchildren -- that's what we all care about... And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don't want the whole country to be sacrificed. And that's what I see.”

The following day, Fox News’ Brit Hume said on Tucker Carlson’s show, “And I think, you know, we live with the risk of, you know, seasonal influenza every year and thousands upon thousands die from it. But we do not, as has been pointed out, shut down the economy to combat it… You know, we don't shut down the economy to save every single life that's threatened by a wide-spread disease. We just don't.”

Former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly said on Sean Hannity’s show early last month: “Many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway, and I don't want to sound callous about that.”

It’s not surprising then that Mandel would anticipate the “Grandma killer” tag. Of course, her comment led to some interesting reactions on Twitter. Journalist Rafi Schwartz commented, “Author of the iconic 'We Need To Start Befriending Neo-Nazis' article now would like to be called ‘grandma killer’ because she misses the zoo.” Journalist Gideon Resnick noted, “You know you’re in for something good when the post starts with ‘you can call me a grandma killer’.”

Innovative ways to taunt the comment were found in songs. Like such, “Yes folks I've done the research and you CAN sing ‘Bethany Mandel grandma killer’ to the tune of the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ theme song.” Others modified the classic Talking Heads song lyrics to “Grandma killer, qu'est-ce que c'est?”

American playwright, screenwriter, film director, and television producer Warren Leight, on the other hand, seemed to not find this funny at all. He wrote on Twitter, “Hi Grandma Killer. Can I also call you Nurse Killer, Friend Killer, Mentor Killer, EMT Killer, Jazz Musician Killer, Doctor Killer, NYPD Killer, Transit Worker Killer, Meat Plant Worker Killer, Immuno-compromised Person Killer?  Let me know which works for you.”