Why do we feed so much on end-of-times energies? The COVID-19 pandemic, like other catastrophes before it, got some of us hooked on phobic energy and terror. Travis Alexander, a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Humanities Program at Rice University in Houston, takes a deep dive into our psyches to find out why we do this. "I am not an epidemiologist, nor am I interested in virology in the biological sense. What I am interested in, and what my training as a literary critic leaves me well prepared to see, is what I call, if somewhat grandiosely, the surplus phobic energy of the response. Some people seem to want or even need something much more existential – spiritual? libidinal? – than the pure scientific accuracy to which they pledge their allegiance. This excess is evident in their aggression toward the very genre of the editorial itself, and their insistence that our moment of emergency can reasonably brook no opinion but the most pessimistic."