The chief stockholder of Blaska Policy Werkes spent much of yesterday (03-19-2020) watching Wayne Carini chase classic cars on cable TV. Tension was high as his lovingly restored 1915 Pierce Arrow went on the auction block. What’s wrong with those bidders! Dog-faced pony soldiers! Happy ending: Wayne really did not want to sell in the first place, he told his viewers, puttering off into the horizon.
The no-sale had nothing to do with the coronavirus shutdown. The program was a rerun. We’d seen it at least a year ago but damned if we were going to subject ourselves to more COVID-19 pandemic misery on the cable news shows.
We’re reading! A BOOK! Danubia, Simon Winder’s iconoclastic account of the 600-year Hapsburg empires in Central Europe (and, for a time, Spain and the New World). Irreverent with a vengeance! (Restore the Habsburgs, oppressors of my German Bohemian ancestors!) The dynasty powered its way through various plagues, 30-year-wars, and the occasional in-bred idiot — so maybe we can too!
Most of us are self-distancing … Most of us are experiencing the same pause in normal life … The great paradox, of course, is that we had to be set apart in order to feel together. I’ve been writing about the social fabric for years now, but you really see it only after you’ve lost it. — David Brooks, New York Times.
Now, this word from Reality
This is Blaska’s malaise speech. Picture your bloggeur in a cardigan sweater, fireplace lit, writing in a southern Georgia accent.
Isthmus, Madison’s weekly newspaper, has suspended publication!!! A high-profile, local domino in the collapse of the worldwide economy.
Isthmus made its living on advertising from Madison WI’s once-vibrant foodie, live music, and theater scene — now suddenly, just within the last week! — shuttered, silent, dark. State Street, Willy Street, Capitol Square, Atwood Avenue, Monroe Street are nearly empty. Thirty thousand school children are at home or casing neighborhood garages. Plenty of parking at the big malls!
The economic pandemic
California’s governor predicts over half the state’s population — 25.5 million people — will be infected with the coronavirus over the next eight weeks. Assembly lines at General Motors and Harley Davidson, flights are grounded. Sports arenas are empty. Retirees are watching their rollover IRAs evaporate as the stock market sinks. We’ve been saying an economic recession is certain. Now we’re thinking in terms of a Great Depression.
Who knows economics better than the Wall Street Journal?
The human cost of job losses and bankruptcies will exceed what most Americans imagine. … A tsunami of economic destruction … will cause tens of millions to lose their jobs as commerce and production simply cease. … Another month like this week and the layoffs will be measured in millions of people. … there is no amount of money that can make up for losses of the magnitude we are facing if this extends for several more weeks. … millions of businesses will be bankrupt and tens of millions will be jobless.
Playing by Airport Rules
The tin foil hats are in their glory. Conspiracies are floated on the thinnest of “evidence.” The coronavirus was created in a lah-BOR-atory at the behest of George Soros — all to discredit Donald (Can Do No Wrong) Trump. Corporate drug companies controlled by billionaire capitalists don’t care about us little folk.
Our grandparents heard the same kind of nonsense during the 1930s from the left and the right. We give David Brooks the last word:
All those burn-it-down/ destroy-the-system/ anti-establishment tirades ring a little hollow, too. It’s not the angry outsiders who are protecting us right now, it’s the Establishment. … In the meantime: Airport Rules apply. If you want a beer at 9 a.m., go for it.