How are you all doing? To be quite frank, I’m forgetting what it is like to leave my house. I panic when I forget my mask and have to run back for it before I’m seen and (rightfully) shamed. I dream of restaurants and try to remember what it was like to go somewhere without feeling like I’m a selfish person for leaving my safe home. These were among the topics that Leonard Jacobs, Michael Houk and I discussed this week’s on the Burke’s Law podcast.
What else did we discuss? The fact that drugs are the answer! Yes, our impeached Orange president spewed the news that he’s been apparently, supposedly, I-don’t-believe-really-it taking hydroxychloroquine (“droxy” for those in the know) for weeks! What a revelation! Because, as we all know, he (and droxy) knows best! No trial with dead vets or lists of terrible side effects (including death) is going to stop our Human-Clinical-Trial-in-Chief from downing as many pills as he can. The lesson here is: do whatever you want! Scientists aren’t the end-all, as that noted ophthalmologist senator, Rand Paul, when he dissed that total third-rate infectious disease (so-called) expert, Dr. Fauci.
As we settle into our new normal of watching fights break out over some Trumper’s freedom to infect others by not wearing masks, drinking bleach and hoarding droxy, I thought about the speech that former president Barack Obama gave to the 2020 high school graduating class and the Historically Black colleges and universities last weekend. My first thought was that Obama agreeing to give this virtual keynote must have driven the Droxy King absolutely crazy! No one asked him — that had to sting. I admit, whenever I think about his rage at this slight, I break into a smile and feel better about the world. It made me remember better times with a better president and it gives me hope for November.
But what of the new world these young people are walking into? This can’t be what they expected. High school graduates may not even have a college to go to in the fall as many schools either won’t have in-person classes or else will have a truncated semester. They’ll miss out on what makes their college years, especially the first one, so special. The same for recent college graduates: What jobs are waiting for them? What do they do now with their newly minted degrees? Back to mom and dad’s house, working for Grubhub? Their world has changed and I wonder how this extraordinary moment will affect them and their futures. As Leonard surmises on the podcast, we know they’re pissed — at the adults who screwed everything up; at their lives on hold; at our government; and just in general. We can’t blame them — Michael, Leonard and I were lucky enough to have grown up in relative peace and economic well-being, for the most part. These young adults haven’t had a single year of their lives without America in war and/or not in recession. Obama’s administration did help us to crawl out from those quagmires — then the Orange One fucked that up, too.
As most of the states have begun to open up in phases and the various Karens scream to be let in here and there without a mask, the three of us agree this week that the virus is moving to rural America. Cases are already rising in places where healthcare infrastructure, having been decimated over the years, can’t handle what is about to happen. We’re nearly at 100K deaths and 1.5M people sick as of May 20. Can you say “Mission Accomplished”?
Our episode closes with a look at how COVID-19 has affected arts and cultural institutions. While many large museums, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art have substantial endowments with which to weather the storm, staff layoffs are still coming — to say nothing of what the pandemic is doing to smaller institutions. Look at small theaters and theater companies in NYC, for example. Many spaces that hold Off- and Off-Off Broadway groups have already closed for good. Will companies have any spaces to come back to? I’m not so sure. The venerable, irreplaceable Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is now on life support — maybe it just needs dramaturgical droxy.
Let’s be honest: whenever there are financial crunches in schools or cities, arts funding is always the first to go. Never sports, of course — the NFL, NBA and MLB (I had to look that up), with their billions in revenue and profits for owners, are already coming back. I mourn for artists and for those who enjoy the arts.
But here we are, week number 10 and it’s almost summer. I hope by August I can use my building’s pool; I’ll even wear my mask. But can someone tell me where to get that droxy? I just want some drugs.
And now, a sincere note of appreciation to our 3.5 listeners for your half-brained support. If you enjoy this podcast, please leave us a review and share this episode on social media or wherever humans gather until the year 2105. On Twitter, follow Liz at @burkelawNYC and follow CFR at @TheCFReport. And again: stay safe.