Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Triumph of Death

  "The Triumph of Death" by Pieter Brueghel, the Elder

Most people would be hard put to create a nightmare that was as extensive an all-encompassing as the actual events of 2020. No sooner has the pandemic spiked for the second time than a new virulent strain 70% more contagious is discovered in England. In the middle of the first surge George Floyd is suffocated by a Minneapolis policeman causing widespread rioting that's met with ugly and racist responses from proto-fascist organizations like the Proud Boys. Forest fires devastate California which is then hit with double digit Corona infections. The ninth circle of Dante’s Inferno would have trouble competing with these morbidities. Along with the suffering is the fact that there's a small but incredibly visible part of the population who are profiting handsomely from gains in the stock market which are no reflection of the economy--something which actually contributes to the grotesquery. Huge swaths of the population suffer while the lucky few carefully hoard their money. No one is going to jump the line, when vaccines become available, but will privilege again win out, sparing the lives of the rich while condemning the poor to being statistics, the bodies in refrigerator trucks that are suddenly appearing in California cities? Sartre said “hell is other people.” Certainly this applies to the bikers attending the rally in Sturgis whose gathering is responsible for 250,000 infections. And what about the solitary hell taking place on video conferencing sites  like Zoom, which tease its adherents with the prospect of human connection?

Read "Trumpty Dumpty's Great Fall" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

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