I’ve been thinking about this quote from 2002, Mark Turmell talking on the fall of the arcades and the rise of the Internet:
March 21, 2020
But the bottom line is that the players and kids stopped showing up. I think this is a weird fact, but every week we looked at earnings around the country, and the day that the Clinton report from the testimony of Monica Lewinsky got published on the Internet, the earnings in the arcades dropped 20%. Unfortunately, [those earnings] never returned! At that moment, I think the Internet became a source of entertainment.Sometimes cultural changes happen all at once. We are likely at some kind of pivot point now. Right now it’s so easy to ask What’s the point of anything social? Why do people like to travel so much? Why come together in huge numbers to see a show or a sporting event or a politician? For the first time in my lifetime, a huge mass of people are painfully aware of the little gamble each mass event can be.
Even smaller numbers - in earlier seasons, how rarely did I notice how so many activities in the world were so, so dependent on humans in proximity. We are such social creatures, coming together for so so much. When that's blocked... man do things fall apart. What a freezing water shock for an economy that has been jogging along, on pretty clear straight lines up from 2009, a kind of fake second wind from tax cuts. "Make America Great Again" will have a truth in autumn of 2020 that it didn't in 2016.
And the weird part is, it could be so much worse. This virus’ hospitalization rate, while enough to swamp our gotta-stay-lean-and-profitable (or government underfunded) health care systems, might be even smaller than it looks. Ditto the death rate. Bad enough, for sure, and my heart goes to everyone who has lost someone, or where the struggle is yet to come. But it’s just a biochemical die roll it wasn’t an order of magnitude worse. Pray that we will put a larger focus on forward-looking research focused on prevention and response.
Don’t let Trump off the hook for this one. No, it’s not all his fault, but our anemic response, our inability to get tests up and out in a way that would have really helped and saved lives, comes from the top. You had a pandemic response team around for a reason ’til he let it fall aside in 2018. Then we had months where we could have focused on building ventilators and masks and cooperating on getting the most accurate and fast test, but we just played wait-and-see. There’s historical evidence Trump really buys perception as reality, and so he just talked it down. And there’s a line between talking to soothe jittery markets and to spin so much “miracle” kumbaya that people don’t take important action, and Trump crossed it.
When Trump’s sharpie crosses out “Corona” and replaces it with “Chinese”… he knows the game he’s playing. Move the blame, distract from his own disastrous under-response - give a little “sensible” racism for his base with just a kernel of virological truth - but more importantly, if called on the distracting racist bullshit of it, he can turn the story into “oh look at those liberals, more worried about being all Politically Correct than with dealing with the big crisis here!”
All of us will have to rebuild some of our lives after this. Many of us will face economic hardships. And most of us might be poised to ask, what should my priorities in life be. Let us look for answers of love with safety and like the old hippy said:
There's always a little bit of heaven, even in a disaster area.Right now - find that heaven as best you can.
so no one was gonna tell me that walruses can whistle i just had to find this out on my own? pic.twitter.com/Pn06ZSkddH— 𝑒𝓂𝑜𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃𝒶𝓁 𝓈𝒽𝑜𝓇𝓉𝓎 (@FrickinDelanie) March 19, 2020