Sunday, March 8, 2020

Going Viral

I’ve never cared much for dystopian novels but I’d rather read one than live in it as we are now. It is as if the virulence of Trump’s world has been made manifest by this corona virus. His toxicity found its corporeal match.

For the past three years we have been delivered to the time when German fascism took root. Now we are about to feel the sting of the 1918 influenza pandemic. What’s next? Another Dust Bowl? Locusts? No need for any re-enactment. I’ll take their word for it. 

I suppose microorganisms need love too but must we really provide them with a homeland? They appear to be shaped like some sort of spiked wheel, similar to the icon for settings. Here I am hitting the delete button. Nothing happens, proving that there is a world out there, actual, besides virtual.

Before antibiotics I dodged diphtheria in my day. Scarlet fever got me red-faced and left behind a murmur of the heart to be remembered by. I whooped past whooping cough, loosened the vise of the Grip and defeated polio with coins in the March of Dimes collection box . Chicken pox, measles and mumps had their way with me but German measles with its tiny swastikas never got past my Maginot Line.

If the Putin-Trump Axis had designs to sow chaos within our borders they might as well not bother any further. We've endured their ethical pestilence. The landscape is already unrecognizable. Language itself is on life-support. Dow and Jones are in mortal combat. People are masked, quarantined.  Shelves and stadiums emptied. We have become even more atomized than before, shut-ins. 

In the last chapter of Jose Saramago's dystopian fable, Death With Interruptions, he depicts Death as defeated by the music of a cellist. Death succumbs to the resonant chords of Bach's Suite Number Six. Finally a work of fiction I'd be happy to inhabit. Let Art have its way; its transport may be our best hope. But just in case better wash your hands again.

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