This post will be updated, as I come across things worth sharing.
Music for the soul. Physically-isolated musicians of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform ‘Appalachian Spring.’
An excellent, constantly updated picture of COVID-19 in the world is offered, at no charge, by The Financial Times’ Visual & Data Journalism team: Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the pandemic spreads | Free to read
If I were able to read only one work this month, I’d choose this essay by Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal,’ a Financial Times long read on April 3, 2020. Excerpt:
What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus. Some believe it’s God’s way of bringing us to our senses. Others that it’s a Chinese conspiracy to take over the world.
Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality.
Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.
We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman attempts to explain the horrors befalling the United States: ‘Covid-19 Brings Out All the Usual Zombies- Why virus denial resembles climate denial.’ New York Times, March 28, 2020
“… I suspect that the disastrous response to Covid-19 has been shaped less by direct self-interest than by two indirect ways in which pandemic policy gets linked to the general prevalence of zombie ideas in right-wing thought.
“First, when you have a political movement almost entirely built around assertions that any expert can tell you are false, you have to cultivate an attitude of disdain toward expertise, one that spills over into everything. Once you dismiss people who look at evidence on the effects of tax cuts and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, you’re already primed to dismiss people who look at evidence on disease transmission.
“This also helps explain the centrality of science-hating religious conservatives to modern conservatism, which has played an important role in Trump’s failure to respond.
“Second, conservatives do hold one true belief: namely, that there is a kind of halo effect around successful government policies. …
“As a result, the right often opposes government interventions even when they clearly serve the public good and have nothing to do with redistributing income, simply because they don’t want voters to see government doing anything well.”
April 1st: FOOLS!
Fool’s Day was premature, will be prolonged, but hopefully not permanent.
The joke is on the infantilized imbecilic psycho-eco-sociopaths who cared for no others. Who thought invincible themselves, their kin, and their cults of greed and ideological triumph.
May COVID-19 take them all. Shame it’ll take so many innocents along with them.
Silver linings? One possibility: coming out of this still on the road, upright, heading someplace better, in a happy caravan. Please?
The world’s premier business and financial newspaper calls for radical change: Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract – Radical reforms are required to forge a society that will work for all. Financial Times Editorial Board, April 3, 2020
“Radical reforms — reversing the prevailing policy direction of the last four decades — will need to be put on the table. Governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy. They must see public services as investments rather than liabilities, and look for ways to make labour markets less insecure. Redistribution will again be on the agenda; the privileges of the elderly and wealthy in question. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic income and wealth taxes, will have to be in the mix.”