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WHAT CAN COVID-19 TEACH US?

I feel like the internet is forcing the brain out of my head. Meme by meme, tiktok by tiktok, conspiracy by conspiracy, Tory pundit by Tory pundit, I am slightly edging further and further away from sanity. We as humans are conditioned to purpose. We are hardwired for connection and belonging. When that is stripped from us on a physical landscape, we look somewhere else, and whilst I wrestled with COVID-19 symptoms I, along with most of the world, found my connection and purpose in the internet.

I preface this whole article by saying — there is A LOT of joy to be found on the internet. Outside of the Karen's and the incels and the trolls, there are dogs and military service people being reunited with families, there are hidden talents being unmasked and there are old people singing childhood songs. But, lurking dormant, there is a fear that is prevalent in this pandemic. There is an onslaught of fake news that breeds off of our collective fear, there is sensationalist media, there is racism and xenophobia and there is ignorance and stupidity and it all has a platform on the internet.

In between headaches, nausea and Joe Exotic, I found reams of this bullshit. Fake news about vaccines, food-banks, border lockdowns, military states and people or countries to place blame upon. It demonstrates the hopelessness this world is facing — that we retweet and recycle rubbish hoping the information will be a mast in these tumultuous winds of change. I even question how useful the well-intentioned cliches are. How useful is it to be told we are all in the same boat if that boat is capsizing at rapid speed and you cannot swim? Or your Uncle Lenny got his arm bit off by a shark in 1982 and you have inherited his PTSD and can’t even bear to look at the water? Or lots of people on your boat suddenly have trust funds and life-savings and can buy armbands and flotation devices and you can't even afford a decent two set that doesn't smell like the intersection of weed, piss and mothballs?

I have found the beautifully spirited… Join in ashtanga LIVE with Dave & Kelly who did a three day course in their hotel in Salou back in 2012 to take your mind off the fact the global pandemic is strangling our economies, our loved ones, our liberation and our bodily functions, to be sweet but ultimately not that useful. (Again, they are saving people from boredom and injecting JOY and LOVE for many, so crack on!) But I cannot escape the notion that we have a pandemic and it is a crisis of leadership. We have elected officials who continue to play party politics with peoples lives. Who seemingly will not make the connection that this pandemic is caused by capitalism and they are leaving it up to the average Joe on the internet to fill in the gaps. (Sorry Joe) We have all read the Facebook posts that say Coronavirus isn't real, it's _____ (insert here: population control, 5G, China trying to ruin the global economy, Bill Gates, a weapon to spot a peadophila plot, the Earth cleansing herself etc.)
All or any of these theories, if true, would be terrifying. Therefore, it is up to our billion pound press teams to pull these theories apart and to safeguard the truth. But in the nucleus of truth is where the fear is for those who care more about politics than humanity. Who would rather play party politics with peoples lives than admit we need to create big structural change. Who are terrified that at the heart there is an inescapable, absolute truth in all of these theories and that is... Coronavirus is capitalism personified and everybody knows it… including your Auntie Josie, but even she won’t write it in a WhatsApp chainmail.

Oprah, or Black Jesus, talks about how in every crisis there is a lesson we are being willed to learn. Whilst we try to be productive in this quarantine, writing novels, getting ABs, getting fingered, not crying about our ex or growing hair like Doc Antle or Diana Ross, we must spend some time to think about why we are here. Why we are in this situation. What lesson we are supposed to be learning. Maybe we are being forced to learn the lesson that mass production/consumption is killing us. That the systems we have built modern economies on are destroying the very fabric of this planet. That there is something much scarier than isolation, than Coronavirus, than Carole Baskin, and that is global warming.

With the global temperature rising, pandemics and health at large will becoming of increasing concern. Between 2025 and 2030 Arctic summer sea ice will melt toward zero, leading to global crop failures and economic chaos that will effect the most vulnerable of our society first. I do not say this to add to the stream of sensationalist media that profits off our collective fear, but rather to say there is a genuine opportunity to create stable systems that put the safety of the planet and human rights at their core, systems which provide access to education, water and healthcare for all - not just profits (piss off Toby Young!!!). We have seen how fragile the planet is with the ruination of the coral reef, the Amazon burning for months, animals perishing, floods in Yorkshire destroying family homes. But we have also seen how fragile this economic model is that we serve. Your job can suddenly be done from home. Homeless people can suddenly have access to shelter and food. Access to decent healthcare suddenly becomes a universal human right. It has came to that point again when socialism has to bail out capitalism. When the working classes, the front line workers, must save the day for us all. And thank fuck they do.

Sidebar to say thank you NHS workers, you are fucking rockstars. So is every frontline worker from ASDA cashiers to foodbank volunteers, to police, to military, to chemists trying to create vaccines. We salute you!!!!

When I first started 'isolating' I had an electronic shaver, an Adidas jumper and a book. I felt woefully unprepared and uncomfortable like Priti Patel being confronted with human decency and compassion. The book has sat, like my DMs, untouched, collecting dust and yearning to get its back blown out. The Adidas jumper is sewn to my back like a Kelloggs swimming badge but instead of lengths it tallies the times I have stumbled from couch to bed, sometimes pissed, always nauseous. This isolation has made it very clear that I do not need the shit I obsesses over. So how do we learn this lesson? We can stop consuming as much fast fashion (We can shop ethically and second-hand much more), we can stop consuming SO MUCH MEAT (we do not need it, it is literally KILLING us and it is the cause of this pandemic - no bacon tastes as good as liberation feels) We can vote/donate/share/campaign for political parties/representatives that have the interests of the planet, not profits, at their core. Just like in this pandemic, there are always amazing humans doing incredible things for the benefit of the many, not the few. Seek them out and take this pandemic spirit with you and support them, help them galvanise and be more effective and realise that whilst we are on a mission to flatten this curve, their is a much bigger curve that is heading straight for us and it will take everyone of us to beat it. Coronavirus has shown us business as usual is dead and there is a new world that needs creating.

I do not get paid for my writing so if you want to help me be skinny, shattered but a little less skint, you can buy me a coffee here and I'll love you forever: 
https://ko-fi.com/ellishoward

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Comments

  1. Replies
    1. best thing i haveread in a long time - we need more people like you to change this broken system and fix the world.

      Delete
  2. Plant More Trees

    Eat Less Meat

    Grow Community Gardens

    Put Piano's in Parks

    Build BBQ's in Public Places

    Always Be Kind

    ReplyDelete

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