Return of the Repressed

If we were immersed in a classic Hollywood horror movie, Corona would have been crushed, or chased away, or it would have mysteriously disappeared. Then, after everyone had stopped thinking and talking about it, Corona would have come roaring back, wreaking havoc and leaving destruction in its wake.

But we’ve been given a different script. Corona has fought off the resistance. It’s not gone away or been rendered impotent. It’s still here, as potent as ever and gaining strength. The villagers know it’s still here but they’re acting as if it’s not, resuming business as usual, exposing themselves daily to the horror in their midst.

Is this the repression, this inner conflict waged against the conscious awareness of horror? It’s not gone; it’s just gone underground. There in its exile it festers and grows, probing for weakened defenses, gathering its forces…

4 thoughts on “Return of the Repressed

  1. On second thought, maybe I’m giving the villagers too much credit…

    “I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. This is going to go away without a vaccine. It’s gonna go away, and we’re not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time,” Trump said at the White House after meeting with Republican members of Congress. He did admit there might be some “flare-ups” before COVID-19 goes away, but “maybe not,” and predicted, “we’ll be able to put them out.” Pressed about what evidence he has seen that the pandemic will vanish without a vaccine, Trump responded: “I just rely on what doctors say. They say it’s gonna go.”

    Of course the doctors say no such thing. But the virus will “go away without a vaccine… after a period of time” — that’s herd immunity. Trump’s core constituents understand the subtext and endorse it. On third thought, maybe I’m not giving enough credit to that subset of villagers who willingly embrace the Dark Triad of narcissism, Macchiavellianism, and sociopathy.

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  2. My son is working for Merrit Medical in a workforce of 1000. They are regarded as essential workers so they have continued to work apart from 2 weeks of early annual holidays. They do not observe social distancing, wear masks/ppe or do any kind of tests. The wages aren’t great either but it’s secure. Those large multi nationals make their own rules which trump the region where they happen to be.

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    1. That’s dreadful but seemingly inevitable. The good news I suppose is that your son has maybe one-tenth the risk of dying from corona that we old-timers do of dying from the flu. And yet every year we go out there exposing ourselves to the latest flu mutation, taking reasonable precautions but still going about our lives. The bad news is contagion. Cuomo reports that most New Yorkers falling seriously ill to covid had been staying home: it’s likely then that they caught the virus from younger family members and friends. For us old-timers who get infected, corona is ten times as deadly as flu.

      I’d have thought that the large companies would insist on more stringent protective measures in order to avoid breakouts of illness among the workforce, reducing productivity and revenue. Maybe, given the huge spike in pandemic-related unemployment, companies figure they can easily find replacements. A Stanford survey found that work was the main reason for lapses in social distancing.

      Adding insult to injury, essential workers are punished financially here in the US. Workers deemed non-essential who’ve been laid off due to the virus are eligible for unemployment compensation plus an additional $600 per week, which for most means they’re getting better pay for staying home than they were while on the job. (That provision sunsets the end of July.) In contrast, essential workers get no hazard pay for being on the front lines, and they don’t qualify for the boosted unemployment package if they decide to quit because of the health risks.

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  3. Our Text Today:

    With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death”.

    (from Masque of the Red Death)

    The improvisatori are the most numerous followed closely by the buffoons bladder whacking the populace with bi-orchid balloons.

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