The front page of your newspaper, earlier today
Stupidity has a knack of getting its way, as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.
Albert Camus, The Plague
The most handsome existentialist ever, Albert Camus, may live again as his book flies off the shelves like a 16-pack of toilet roll. At least, we hope it does before they close the bookshops. The Plague concentrates not on the virus itself – the original French title La Peste has a far dirtier sense of ‘pestilence’ for the English reader – but on the deterioration of interpersonal relationships as the fever takes hold.
As an interesting aside, here is a little riddle for you. Camus was on his way to see Death on the day he died, but died before he got there. Gentle reader, the suave Algerian – a far better writer than the pompous, wall-eyed, Stalinist, toad-faced Sartre – met his fate in a car crash in 1960 in the French town of Villeblevin. He was on his way to see one of many mistress, actress Maria Casares, who had famously portrayed Death in Jean Cocteau’s 1950 film Orphée. But back to the drab present day, where death is looking a good deal less attractive than the high-cheekboned Mme. Casares.
In the US and Europe we have already seen the sheeple battling it out in the aisles for toilet roll which, if free market values obtain, will presumably soon cost more than gold. And we have also seen the gormless rabble that assembles under the ripped tent canvas of the Left throwing mud-pies at Trump and Johnson over the outbreak. The biggest foe, however, is what Pamela Geller dubbed the ‘enemedia’.
One of our news slaves, chained in a basement here at British Intelligence Towers (Bit early in the week to start all that nonsense again. Ed,), came across a feature in the Mail on Sunday. The feature was the latest rather drab instalment in Peter Hitchens’s tenure at the MoS, Hitchens being a man daily looking more like Prince and Andrew and currently writing like Eeyore. In the sparkling age of HTML, the piece – on coronavirus, perforce – linked to another feature headed ‘Coronavirus symptoms – How to spot them’.
Following the link, our man found, as promised, a piece on coronavirus. There were about 20 cross-heads. ‘How will it affect the elderly?’ ‘How quickly does it spread?’ ‘Does gender matter?’ ‘What precautions should you take?’ The only thing missing was a description of the symptoms as promised by the original link.
The Chinese media, on the other hand, has come up with a great wheeze. They were just getting over the outbreak, the Communist government said, when a load of pesky foreigners arrived and spoilt everything. One of the worst aspects of the pandemic is that it started in a Communist country, where the truth is only ever a desperate last resort. If it had started in Denmark – the world’s most honest country according to Transparency International (Somalia is the least honest, for context) – we feel sure we would have had more trustworthy information, and faster.
Now, our resident science expert is still absorbed in his quest for the perfect Bloody Mary, so we know no more than you do. That said, if this pandemic turns out to be all fur coat and no knickers, we do wonder if the media beaters – as in the men employed to ‘beat’ the grouse out of the heather so they can be shot by red-faced men in plus-fours – will be held to account.
The media, trumpeted as objective bringers of news from a turbulent world, have been shown all too often in recent times to be gatekeepers who allow information that suits them and their elite paymasters to pass through the heavily defended gate to the plebs waiting outside the city walls. We know now that the news is often not what you read, but what you don’t.
The IMF is preparing a fiscal stimulus for Europe, but how will that be spent? Could the time be approaching when the EU will find out the real cost of all those asylum centres, translators, court cases involving migrants, jail time given to migrants, processing of asylum applications, benefit payments, policing of migrants, advertising campaigns to stop migrants raping people, and the various other hidden costs attendant on open borders policy?
Economies are taking a beating, which means that even the economic layman must realise that they were over-leveraged to begin with if a virus can scupper them. As for governments, one senses that their greatest fear is that people will begin assembling on a local level and solving problems thrown up by the pandemic themselves. Watch for government diktats which prevent this. They will follow as surely as a Bob Dylan gig.
In the end, just as measles presents as red spots and a high temperature, the coronavirus presents as mass stupidity on the part of people and malevolent cunning on the part of government and their provisional wing in the media. The uneducated masses produced by decades of non-education, a program that has ironed out even common sense, will continue on the search for the perfect bog-roll, while the elites will work to use the panic to increase their totalitarian grip on the lives of all.
Perhaps it’s all for the best. Possibly mankind is just another rubbish idea, like the dodo or the 8-track stereo system. Whatever the outcome, we wish you all – of whatever political stripe – health and security during what are clearly troubled times.