“Quarantine. Q-u-a-r-a-n-t-i-n-e. Quarantine.”
–Howard Hughes, “The Aviator”
Hi. How are you?
As this fine gentleman recently pointed out on Twitter, the 2004 movie The Aviator starts with an 8-year-old Howard Hughes learning how to spell the word “quarantine”—and ends with him as a germophobic hermit having a nervous breakdown and repeating the words, “the way of the future” over and over again:
The insinuation being…perhaps this popular Leonardo DiCaprio biopic was somehow prophetic about ye current coronavirus.
Or is it just simply that hindsight is…2020?
This would seem, then, to be the perfect segue to all the so-called pop-cultural “predictions” of the current troubles. It would seem that way.
But the problem is, contemplating the assemblage of such a list **just yet** makes me feel…very…tired.
Instead, let’s take a moment to give a hand to the most-posted gif on Twitter for the last several weeks running:
The way it works is that some celebrity’s name like Neil Diamond or Jamie Farr or somebody like that will appear on Twitter’s trending list, and then people will post “Relieved Denzel” to show their appreciation that said celeb has not died of the coronavirus. I believe it was William Gibson who first predicted that such a cultural ritual would be held at the very lip of the Eschaton.
“But Val,” you may plaintively wail, “is it really TRUE that we are on the very lip—caressing the very gums—of the Eschaton?”
What we have right here, right now, is a perfect storm—
We have ALLLLLL these things that society and business and government have NOT properly addressed.
Let’s not even get into politics right now. Since ostensibly this is an “entertainment” site, let’s address the topic of declining ticket sales and the pressure on the studios to release more first-run movies direct to streaming and online digital purchase.
So EVERY year, it was like: “ticket sales are declining, the studios feel pressured to release more first-run movies direct to streaming and online digital purchase.” But they NEVER “pull the trigger” to make that crucial decision.
Or take the comic book industry. Even before COVID-19 dropped, one of the biggest debates was whether comic retail shops could survive. One of the arguments being, every other entertainment medium has an affordable “all you can eat” digital Netflixy option, and waiting 30 days for a $3-5 pamphlet edition of a comic book is rather quaint—unless you REALLY LOVE the comic, in which case I understand, but certainly, the majority of the massive glut of comics the big publishers shove out into the world every month through Diamond is probably not at that particular “beloved” level in any large enough quantities for an entity like AT&T (who now owns DC) to give a shit about.
But I could be wrong.
At any rate…we have this “black swan” event like the COVID and suddenly ALL these issues that were unaddressed and festering (you know, like proper universal health care in the U.S.) get put on the table for review pronto.
And so in the case of the comic book industry, what I hear is that many writers and artists have been requested by publishers to stop work for the time being.
And I also…was recently given a hush-hush *possible* time-span in which everything—in the world, but specifically on the entertainment side—will be “back to normal.”
And THAT’S why I like watching videos on YouTube of people refurbishing old Matchbox cars!
But seriously, folks…it may shock you to hear that I am not unduly negative about the current situation. Oh don’t get me wrong—it really sucks. It does. It fucking kicks rocks in Hell.
But we’ll get through it.
It’s just going to be “different” out on the other side. It just is.
And understand: for some people, Change is the Eschaton. It’s the end of the world to them.
And I get that. I feel that way myself, sometimes.
Thanks for reading!