Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Final Solution: Journal of the Plague Year

Do you remember where you were on September 10, 2001? Do you recall what you were doing that Monday night? Perhaps you got up to meet someone for an early morning breakfast or you were sweating bullets at the gym as the planes hit the Twin Towers. Catastrophic occurrences are a little like mini event horizons which rarely presage the black hole into which the human race is slipping. The present pandemic presents a similar bifurcation. The rising of Joe Biden’s fortunes have come on the heels of the arrival of the coronavirus on US shores. At first there were distant alarms, but it was all far away in China and there were still a crowded field of  Democratic nominees. Then any beneficial feelings that might have derived from the closing of ranks in the Democratic party were lost to the dark clouds on the horizon that have been growing like the threat of one of those tsunamis that obliterates entire coastlines in Malaysia. After the Fall is the title of a famous play by Arthur Miller and no one would claim the world before say 9/11 or the current viral threat was lacking in its problems and difficulties. But people licked their electoral wounds at communal events like Austin’s SxSW which has been canceled. Life went on. When major calamities occur like 9/11 or Hurricane Maria which struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, whole populations are traumatized as they have been by the threat of coronavirus and life is never the same. You may look back wistfully on a previous state that felt comparatively carefree, but you may also find yourself consigned to documenting what you can no longer control like t the central character in Daniel Defoe’s novel, Journal of the Plague Year--which dealt with the bubonic plague which struck London in 1665.

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