Or Not

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
– T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

Wake me up in two weeks. No, belay that, wake me in a month. By then it will be what it’s going to be and all the conflicting predictions will have collapsed, quantum style, into the actuality.

Millions will be dead. Or not.

Treatments will be available. Or not.

The economy will be in ruins. Or not.

Democratic systems will have reverted to authoritarianism. Or not.

If I were in charge of the pandemic response for any jurisdiction, however large or small, I’d want hourly updates on tests conducted, infections identified and inferred/presumed, and hospital beds and medical supplies used and needed. In addition to actual numbers I’d want projections of all these things under different scenarios. I’d want comparative analyses of strategies taken by different countries and the measurable outcomes of each.

And I’d want it all yesterday.

But, given my limited purview, I find myself wanting a little less information. The free flow of information is essential to an open society, but in the face of a 24/7 hyper-partisan and hyperventilating news-cycle-without-end-amen, I find myself shutting down.

I swear that in the last week I’ve learned nothing from news coverage that changed my day. That’s OK: I already have enough information to do my right thing while in our 14-day home-from-travel quarantine: Stay home, wash my hands, donate (online!) to the local food bank, exercise (at home!), stay connected (online!) to family and friends, and undertake as many (virtual!) creative projects as I can. (I think that list was supposed to include housecleaning but it fell off for lack of room. Or interest.)

So I have a message for the world’s media: By all means, carry on. Call me in a few weeks.

Or not.

Maybe let’s leave it like this: When I’m ready for more, I’ll call you.


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7 Responses to Or Not

  1. Pingback: A Different View – Traditional Iconoclast

  2. Tom Watson says:

    That’s so interesting. I need the news of what’s going on, and what could affect or infect me, but I’m overloaded. It’s a catch-22. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that there seem to be fewer and fewer programs on right now that can help us to laugh and just provide a needed release and relief.

    So I’ve watched a few more movies lately. One I really enjoyed was “The Good Liar.”
    Last night I watched “All the Money in the World.” Great performances in it but it’s so tense that I was totally drained when it was over. Might say it wasn’t what I needed.

    One movie they’re touting is “Contagion.” Not now. Call me in a year or so.


    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Yes. And yes. I get that everyone has to manage their own news consumption and I’m starting to do a better job of that for myself. If you’re looking for Netflix fun, I recommend Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up specials. And Contagion is not on my list, either . . .

  3. barbara says:

    Ya can’t look and ya can’t NOT look. Sigh.

  4. barbara says:

    …and don’t read The Stand by Stephen King, whatever you do!

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