Purgatory phase as Coronavirus dominates news and art

quarantine in US 1915-1920

You can’t get away from it. In the grocery, almost everyone is masked. Turn the radio on in the car when you’re running errands, and the news briefs are “Coronavirus-centric” every time. Music is not spared either. In an email blast today a major performing rights organization sent out a link to numerous songs dubbed “protest” songs, and a quick glance at the org’s news page reveals social justice in abundance alongside tales of, as we call it in our family, “Da ‘Rona.”

Welcome to 2020, a year many of us cannot wait to leave behind, despite as my grandmother frequently warned me, we are “wishing our life away.”

editor wearing mask
Image: Indie Art South

This phase of the virus that began in China and scorched the globe feels like Purgatory. Life hasn’t returned to normal and we have no idea when it will. We can hope.

Most of the protest songs fail to strike a nerve in people like me because those my age grew up in an era of true and necessary social change that was organic. The music of the 60s and 70s cannot be equaled. Much of what’s going on today has to do with political power and artists eager to brand themselves “woke.” You will never get the brilliance that was Motown from “woke” sectors.

Small businesses are suffering, bars in particular.

I talked to a doctor yesterday about the Coronavirus. We both agreed it is unpredictable and one thing we’ve come to know is how much we don’t know about it.

In an epic bout of irony, Mexico is stopping Americans from crossing the border at some places. As if things couldn’t get more ironic, the city of Seattle helped one protest group build their “CHOP” zone complete with de facto walls despite opposing walls on the Southern border. In the Grand Prix of irony, Seattle then had to tear down the walls around the CHOP zone.

We just celebrated our country’s birthday, and many in the entertainment and political class ranted about how crappy the USA is. None of them appear to have read global history because as young as the United States is, we look like a choirboy compared to some countries far older and extremely oppressive. When the wealthy bemoan the country that made them wealthy, maybe it’s time for us to tune them out.

My family is still trying to limit outside contacts, and we wear these annoying masks when we go out. We haven’t dined out (other than to pick up takeout), gone to a party, or placed ourselves at risk. We have no idea when this will change—it’s like we are stuck in a holding pattern.

One man I talked to during a business meeting last week has a definitely skeptical approach to the Coronavirus.

Come Election Day, he predicted, there will be a miracle healing.

I’m not so sure he isn’t right. I suspect those “protests” will decline then as well, depending on who wins the top office.

~~Featured photograph: The photo at the US Library of Congress has the caption “Child Quarantine: New Jersey,” dated 1915-1920. There was an outbreak of smallpox in a number of US states during that time, and New Jersey was among them. (Original image from glass negatives, Bain News Service)

(Kay B. Day/July 8, 2020)

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