As of this week, many parts of life on Earth look very different. The stock market is collapsing again and even beloved celebrities aren’t safe from global pandemics. Harvey Weinstein is going to prison for 23 years. Billie Eilish addressed body shaming during a concert. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin performed “Baby Got Back” on The Masked Singer, and scientists have decided that 5G is safe after all, which … isn’t that something that people should have figured out earlier? Of course, all of this is just window dressing for the fact that the coronavirus is continuing to reshape reality all over the world. Let’s just get into that right now, shall we? That is, after all, what the internet was talking about this week.
What Good Are Experts, Anyway?
What happened: As Covid-19 continues to spread everywhere, countries are taking action in a number of ways. In the United States, those ways include slow, unclear, and somewhat inept.
What really happened: Remember when Eminem performed “Lose Yourself” at the Oscars last month, and no one was quite sure why? Turns out, he was an avatar of the coronavirus, predicting a time when everyone would be afraid of their palms being sweaty, knees weak, and arms heavy with vomit on their sweater, even if it’s just mom’s spaghetti. Yes, Covid-19 continued with its world domination plan last week, and even got the promotion that it had been hoping for.
Yes, the coronavirus is now a pandemic. The pronouncement was made as the world went into lockdown over the virus.
Actually, let’s dig into President Donald Trump’s Wednesday evening announcement that foreign travelers from Europe (though not the UK) would no longer be allowed into the US for 30 days—with the exception of US citizens and cargo, two things the president didn’t mention in his television address, not least of all because it made no sense, a fact pointed out by many, including noted Trump supporter Piers Morgan.
It’s fair to say that the announcement was not met with much, if any, praise for strong leadership.
And then, of course, there’s this.
So, how are things going in the US with regards to Covid-19?
Well, that’s pretty much the definition of Not Great, Bob, isn’t it? As of this writing, there are more than 2,400 confirmed cases in the US, and it’s spreading rapidly through community transmission, which has nothing to do with travelers from Europe, China, or anywhere else. Hey, remember when the president was telling people that the risk was very low? That was just two weeks ago. Now, there’s this.
So, what can the government do in a situation like this? It can, apparently, extend the tax deadline for certain undisclosed entities and plan to offer financial aid to corporations while adding $1 trillion to the national debt. But there are limits to what those in power and willing to offer, it turns out.
Oh, and on Saturday, the US government announced it would extend its travel ban to the UK and Ireland.
The takeaway: OK, sure. But how is the US doing compared to other countries?
What happened: Just how will the coronavirus impact your life? Well, it really depends on how busy your calendar is over the next few months—because, chances are, it’s about to get a lot more open, considering everything that’s getting canceled.
What really happened: What will life in the time of coronavirus look like? It’ll be far less social, for one thing—which history shows is probably a good thing. Two weeks ago, it seemed like a big deal that a James Bond movie got postponed, but that was nothing; by the end of the week, there was the surprise announcement that SXSW wasn’t going to happen, with the annual event being canceled for the first time in 34 years because of the virus. Last week, even more events started to drop off the calendar as well.
By midweek, one very specific message started to circulate on social media.
Expect that this will be what the future looks like for a while.
The takeaway: This feels appropriate, somehow.
The Democratic Primaries Continue
What happened: As the coronavirus spreads, the US Democratic presidential primaries continue apace. Last week, a heretofore close race became less tight, even if it’s seemingly far from over.
What really happened: The never-ending Democratic presidential primary dragged on last week, following a Super Tuesday that saw Joe Biden jump into the front-runner position pretty handily, leading to Senator Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg dropping out, leaving things as a straight race between former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. (Yes, Tulsi Gabbard is technically still running, but still.)
With momentum clearly on Biden’s side, Sanders started talking about Tuesday’s Michigan primary as the turning point, predicting victory in the state in a repeat of his 2016 performance against Hillary Clinton. It would be, he predicted, proof that his was a movement that was not only growing, but was the only option to defeat Donald Trump in November. So, how did that work out for Sanders? The answer is “not too well.”
The same thing happened in other states, with Biden winning big across all states voting, with the exception of Washington—where he split the delegates evenly with Sanders—and North Dakota, which Sanders won.
Of course, not everyone is convinced when hashtags about US politics start trending when most of the country is asleep. (Look, it seems suspicious, but maybe the true leftist revolution comes from a bunch of insomniacs, OK?)
Even as things continued to appear to go Biden’s way, Sanders refused to step down, instead looking forward to tonight’s debate—although some believe that’s simply a feint to allow him to exit gracefully.
There’s a certain irony to Sanders supporters resisting calls for their candidate to drop out when they were doing the same to Warren a week prior. Opinions, nonetheless, were split as to whether Sanders was making the right choice.
But, no matter what eventually happens in the primary campaign, Democrats will come together to vote for the nominee in November, right?
The takeaway: Meanwhile, in perhaps the clearest sign that Biden is the front-runner for the nomination yet, he started talking like he was giving a stump speech in the general election.
Alex Jones’ DWI Arrest
What happened: Meanwhile, InfoWars’ Alex Jones was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated. Turns out, the internet wasn’t too sympathetic.
What really happened: It has been a rough week, there’s no doubt about it.
Well, that sounds strange. Especially because no one knew anything about it before this. But, yes: Alex Jones—founder of right-wing site InfoWars and man who owes $100,000 after claiming a school shooting was faked and being sued as a result—was protesting his innocence just a little bit too loudly last week after being arrested on a DWI charge in Texas.
That sounds, admittedly, pretty dark—although Jones thinks it’s a conspiracy against him. It’s fair to say that people weren’t feeling entirely sympathetic to what was happening, perhaps because of that very attitude.
No, tell us how you really feel.
The takeaway: But wait, that wasn’t the only bit of Alex Jones news last week.
So, you know, there’s that.
Wait, When Did Jenny Lewis Go Out of Style?
What happened: OK, everyone, you can all relax; we’ve discovered the “Hendrix supporting the Monkees” moment of today, as long as you can allow for the fact that neither of the analogs really work that well if you think about it too hard.
What really happened: Imagine my surprise, dear readers, upon seeing that Jenny Lewis was trending at the start of last week. Jenny Lewis! Former child actress and star of Troop Beverly Hills, who went on to break hearts as the lead singer of Rilo Kiley before going solo and ruining people’s lives with the loveliness that is Rabbit Fur Coat and The Voyager. Jenny Lewis! Surely, if she’s trending on Twitter, it’s because everyone is proclaiming her greatness! Let’s just click through and see what people are saying about her…
That Lewis was supporting beloved pop moppet Harry Styles on the US leg of his world tour wasn’t news—that was announced back in November, with Lewis talking about it as “an amazing opportunity” soon after—but what brought the Styles fans’ anger out was news of Styles’ Australian support, British singer-songwriter Mabel, who is apparently preferred by Styles’ core demographic. (At 24, she’s closer to their age than the 43-year-old Lewis, too.)
While it’s true that the kids weren’t into the selection of Jenny Lewis, what really overtook the internet was the older demographic’s response to that displeasure. Did they decide that it was time to politely educate their younger brethren on the charms of Ms. Lewis? Yeah no, not so much.
While others are taking the even longer view, apparently.
Even as sickness and pandemics overtake our world, it’s strangely reassuring to know that the never ending war between generations and the music that each love is something that can and will survive no matter what. Viva humanity!
The takeaway: So much for cross-generational understanding.
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