The Coronavirus death toll has risen of late, but the number of Corona cases has dropped. Because we’ve been relying on models that have been wrong from the very beginning, and nobody seems to have a decent grasp on the data, it’s difficult to determine how much of this is an improvement. The talking heads in our news media, those who don’t have an interest in maintaining a sense of panic, have suggested that we’re turning the corner or flattening the curve: choose the cliché that best comforts.
If the improvement is to be believed, then we should consider next steps: examining our reaction to the crisis and doing what’s necessary to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Many of us are already demanding accountability, whether that comes from impeaching the Bad Orange Man again, demanding reparations from Xi Jinpooh, or some combination of that. We don’t live in a world of accountability anymore, if we ever did. People fail up, not down. Not only that, but demands for accountability are, for the most part, misplaced in their targets. I know who I’d want to hold accountable, and it’s most likely not who you’d want to pay for the loss of lives and livelihood. The people hollering for accountability also generally tend to demand closure in personal relationships, which is a virtual impossibility. Closure, the way it’s wished for, is a gift as rare as the Hope Diamond. It never happens the way you want it. The only people who can offer closure are fiction writers, and that’s their job: to give you the make-believe justice you don’t get in the real world. A world that offers closure is a world that doesn’t need stories. No accountability, no closure. Deal with it.
So the best we can do is hunker down, protect our own, and prepare for the next dose of abject stupidity from our political, cultural, and intellectual leaders.
What’s odd about this situation is how convenient it is, from a broader political/cultural standpoint. We’re told that the best thing we could do during this major worldwide crisis is literally stay at home. Don’t interact with others outside of the gigantic poisonous cauldron that is social media. Don’t go to church or synagogue. Just sit there and suckle the glass teat until you’re told it’s safe to go out again. It’s the Slacktivist Cataclysm, where social media and television-addicted shut-ins are saving the world by doing what they do every day: holing up and ordering delivery. Previous generations went without sugar and meat, they planted victory gardens for food to support the war effort. Today, we hoard toilet paper and glue our eyes to Netflix to support the War on COVID-19. And if you question the wisdom of shutting down the world economy to combat Coronavirus, you find yourself trapped in Manichean stupidity: Don’t die for Wall Street. Stay inside or you’re killing grandpa. Don’t you care?
I’ve noticed a creeping escalation in my locale, where requiring social distance through force of law is no longer good enough. First they told us not to gather in large groups. Then they shut down non-essential businesses (I’d argue that if your business remaining open means the difference between personal ruin and personal survival, it’s pretty damned essential). Now they’re shutting down entire public areas to make sure you diseased proles stay socially distanced.
CLOSED. No swings for you. People could die, you know. And it’d be your fault.
Also CLOSED. For your own good.
Not only is this playground CLOSED, but the powers that be took the extraordinary step of removing the basketball hoops and backboards from the posts because HORSE kills.
This is the world we live in: misery and isolation, with neighborhood oligarchs hoarding toilet paper. CHOOSE SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
Next week I might have something different, something non-COVID-related, but who knows? It’s the only story anywhere. The information we get is different every day, the massaged data is sketchy at best, and virus mitigation techniques have already devolved into stupid TSA-style security theater. Just keep your mouth shut and stay inside.