March 9, 2020

"It’s been a spiritual exercise in letting go. You paid for season ticket on the subway, now you realize..."

"... subway travel is the surest way of getting the disease. You have a subscription to the gym, the gym is closed. So is the cinema. Your tickets for concerts and football games are useless. Your children can’t go to school. Or university. Even mass is canceled.... Two weeks ago, when the first restrictions came in — banning all kinds of gatherings and closing pubs, though not actually restricting our movement — we were sure they’d overdone it. A cafe owner in downtown Milan told me angrily that one of the best weeks of the year had been blown: carnival, Fashion Week. Hoteliers complained of 90 percent cancellations. Then we saw the number of infections shoot up.... But inevitably the virus is bringing a new awareness that we all share the same physical space, Milan, Italy. We really live here, and we sink or swim together... I sense a new spirit of unity. The fallout for the economy will be huge. But paradoxically the government is very likely to be strengthened.... One suspects that when, God willing, the emergency is over, there will be those who will not want to relinquish this newfound power and the sense of identity and responsibility it brings."

From "This Is Life Under Lockdown in Italy/Your tickets for concerts and football games are useless. Your children can’t go to school. Even mass is canceled" by Tim Parks (NYT).

35 comments:

Oso Negro said...

Yes! All you people please stay home and clear the airport for those of us who travel of practical need. You can enjoy that sense of community.

Char Char Binks said...

The state of emergency will NEVER end. There will ALWAYS be viruses, there will ALWAYS be risk, there will ALWAYS be death, there will ALWAYS be fear mongering, there will ALWAYS be little chickens proclaiming in all caps, "THE SKY IS FALLING!".

Ann Althouse said...

"... the government is very likely to be strengthened.... there will be those who will not want to relinquish this newfound power...."

A serious threat.

Nancy said...

I think Camus wrote a novel about this.

Curious George said...

"You have a subscription to the gym, the gym is closed."

The gym Althouse. Even in Italy.

Carol said...

No infections in Montana yet but I'm making one last walmart run then I'm dialing back my obligations for awhile. What gets me is people are pooh-poohing the risk, shaming those who are concerned, but after it hits it'll be "who coulda seen it coming" like after the 2008 crash. No accountability.

I'm as political as anyone, but my new slogan is "All bullshit aside (and politics = bullshit) this thing is serious, folks!"

Fernandistein said...

Even mass is canceled

The healing miracles at Lourdes have also been cancelled.

Tom T. said...

"But paradoxically the government is very likely to be strengthened."

In other words, we want to be able to criticize Trump now for not taking harsh enough action, and criticize Trump later for taking harsh action.

JAORE said...


I'm booked on a flight to Vegas Wednesday for a long scheduled family reunion. Then meeting friends for a (rental) motorcycle trip through Nevada, Arizona and Utah. I am also in the age-of-concern group.

So, what is the wisdom of the masses on this?

Do I:
Cancel the flight and eat thee cost of flying plus tickets to a show. Miss a chance to ride through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world with dear friends.

These chances are getting rarer and rarer as I age.

Or do I: say YOLO and go.

Amadeus 48 said...

Poor Brother John didn't get to Mantua to give Romeo the word--he got quarantined on the way--and the star-cross'd lovers died.

Lazarus said...

Sorry, it's the other way around. People have been telling me to go for experiential rewards, rather than material goods. Now those experiences are being cancelled or deemed dangerous. So I am stuck in the house with all this stuff, and a little happier about the hoarding lifestyle. The epidemic makes it harder to let go.

Larry J said...

My wife and I booked a cruise last May. The cruise is schedule to sail on the 26th. The original plan was to visit Genoa and Florence before disembarking and flying home from Rome. Even when they change the itinerary, it looks like we're going to cancel. Our ages and health make going on the cruise sketchy. It's a disappointment. We've been looking forward to it for a long time. Looks like we'll make a road trip to Florida instead. The cruise line announced a change to their cancellation policy and we will have to the end of next year to use the money we've paid.

Andrew said...

As much as I usually think Trump has amazing political instincts, his tweets about the virus strike me as tone deaf, to say the least. He tweeted out a meme of himself playing the violin, calling Nero to mind. That to me is a bizarre own-goal. This virus is the one thing that could allow Biden's carcass to be elected.

rehajm said...

First Trump accused of doing too much,

now accused of doing too little.

In both cases, all Trump's fault...

stevew said...

Sunk cost fallacy. You've already spent the money. It doesn't matter to the finances of the situation whether you go to the event or take the trip. Go or do not, but do what you think is best.

Phil said...

Jaore - go on the trip. Exercise caution while flying, skip the family vacation if you must, consider blowing off the show, but get that ride in! Seriously - that's low risk of exposure and you are right about never knowing when you'll be able to get in a ride like that.

rehajm said...

Exercise caution while flying

Bring your wipes and hand sanitizer and turn on the vent thingie so it's blowing in your space. It's mostly fresh air that's running through a HEPA filter.

rcocean said...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on Trump,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Then you will NEVER be a NYT reporter.

rcocean said...

We just need to cancel everything. After all, its a cancel culture. Just ask any comedian.

rcocean said...

I wonder how many dummies read these report of the virus hysteria overseas and think its the same in the USA? Anyway, look for the MSM to keep the hysteria going.

People are cancelling flights, domestic travel plans, conferences, and parties. They don't really know why or when it will be safe to come out of their bedrooms, but don't try to reason with them. Its impossible.

Mark said...

"What gets me is people are pooh-poohing the risk, shaming those who are concerned, but after it hits it'll be "who coulda seen it coming" like after the 2008 crash. No accountability."

Carol, there's a lot of `them' here. The conspiracy theories and mocking dismissals are completely ignored by the host and many commentators, just as they will be in the `I told you so' phase.

Lots of 20/20 hindsight on this blog.

Mark said...

All of Italy is on lockdown.

Mark said...

Carol -- I don't see anyone pooh-poohing the risk. I do see a lot of people rightly saying we shouldn't all freak out.

As for "letting go," we could all do for a little worldly detachment, as I said the other day.

Remember you are dust and unto dust you SHALL return. Prudence is prudent, but the fact is that we are all going to die. Many millions of do each year.

A little perspective would be useful.

Mark said...

The healing miracles at Lourdes have also been cancelled.

No, Mary is always on the job. She is a mother, and she cannot stop being a mother. She will continue to be with us and commend us to her Son now and at the hour of our death, whenever that may be -- 30 years from now or tomorrow.

Karen of Texas said...

I appreciate your words, Mark, especially about the comfort one can find in their faith.

It's true, no one gets out of this world alive.

Btw, y'all might want to look up a Dr. Robert J. Rowen. Practice in California; he went to Africa and proved ozone could treat Ebola. He and another doctor buddy are willing to go on board a quarantined cruise ship and treat those with covid-19 with ozone to prove its effectiveness. Finally had a paper about ozone/covid-19 accepted in some medical journal. Just and fyi for those thinking there is no way to treat this.

Chinese are using ozone and IV-C from a few links I've followed.

But it is the internet and people lie, so...

hombre said...

Overheard from average Democrat: “Damn Trump! Oh, Italy? Where’s Italy anyway?”

Mark said...

The thing about Lourdes - and I was there last year and year before - yes, there are too many tourist-types there (and were in Bernadette's time to her everlasting annoyance), and there are a few who seek a physical cure, but of all the malades and reasonably well pilgrims, most are there simply for the spiritual closeness to God, our Lady and Bernadette. And everyone who stops in the Chapelle de la Reconciliation is healed -- in the most important way.

From the practically non-stop Rosaries to the multiple Masses every day to the Eucharistic procession and adoration to the candlelight procession -- it is about something more important even than this world.

Ave, Ave, Ave Maria, Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

Mutaman said...

In this time of crisis, thank God Donald J Trump is our President.

wbfjrr2 said...

Amen, Mutaman.

Leland said...

What gets me is people are pooh-poohing the risk, shaming those who are concerned, but after it hits it'll be "who coulda seen it coming" like after the 2008 crash. No accountability.

We just see different risks. I see a government that has shutdown all forms of free public association. You see a government that is protecting its people. How many weeks do you think the Italian government should protect its people in this manner? Imagine, it is easy if you try, that Trump ordered all movie and stage theaters shutdown for the next two weeks to prevent the spread of this disease?

Jeff said...

You only live once. Why drag it out?

Achilles said...

JAORE said...

So, what is the wisdom of the masses on this?

Do I:
Cancel the flight and eat thee cost of flying plus tickets to a show. Miss a chance to ride through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world with dear friends.

These chances are getting rarer and rarer as I age.

Or do I: say YOLO and go.


You will almost certainly die if you go.

But you are far more likely to die on the motorcycle ride than you are to die from COVID-19.

You will also certainly die if you stay home too.

Achilles said...

Carol said...

I'm as political as anyone, but my new slogan is "All bullshit aside (and politics = bullshit) this thing is serious, folks!"

My pants are serious too.

The Flu is going to kill orders of magnitude more people this year than COVID-19.

Car Accidents are going to kill orders of orders of magnitude more people than COVID-19.

And if I am wrong we will all die anyways.

But we all know deep down inside in a month or three we are going back to normal and feel kinda silly.

Gk1 said...

After going to work in the city last week and today I can already see benefits from this covid-19 scare. People are now actually being less ill kempt slobs than usual. There are guys queing up at the bathroom sink after using the toilet and wiping their ass. "Personal space" is finally being recognized on elevators and public transportation again. I haven't flown yet but I am pretty sure people won't be bringing smelly bags of McDonalds and eating them on the plane or doing a pedicure in the aisles. A fellah could get used to this kind of "plague"

Mary E. Glynn said...

A fellah could get used to this kind of "plague"
--------------------

Very few American deaths in this most recent panic plague...

Easy to see how fear can knock out US financial markets. We're not nearly the most secure place to park your global money anymore. Who is helped by that realization, and who is harmed?