To understand 2020’s pandemic is to see virus as a language we can use. By drawing on viral principles—viruses are infections through information, viruses can be understood only through percentages and exponentials, and viruses are zombies from outer space—the dynamics of our twenty-first-century virus crisis can be discerned, even influenced. The crisis isn't just biological, it is about ideas and how they propagate through, for example, conspiracy theories and inflammatory actions. Viral emotions are integral to what is happening, as attention to both the virus of fascism and fear-based reactions to COVID-19 make clear. The opposite of fear, or perhaps the product of fear sometimes, is bravery. Hope is beyond that. Viruses spread because of their intrinsic properties and the relevant vectors, catalysts, growth mediums, and controls. Our future will be shaped by a wide range of viruses. We know it will be abnormal, but viruses will not act alone. Much of nature, and thus human culture, is beyond the viral. The key issue is control and just what mix of authoritarian control, self-control, and out-of-control (in both senses) we will end up living with.

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