It’s One Of The Seven Days Of The Week, Not That It Matters.

Are Europeans cooler than Americans? In normal times, I would say, ARE YOU KIDDING ME HAVE YOU SEEN EUROVISION???  ; however, in these times of global pandemic, I’m thinking that Europeans are way hella cooler than I ever thought they were. I was listening to Sylvia Poggioli report for NPR about the corona virus from Rome and she ended her piece by translating something she saw on a city wall, courtesy of a local graffiti artist:

The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.

This is high class graffiti, if you ask me. I think this is beautifully sad, and sums up our shared COVID experience, but is particularly meaningful for what we in America are going through, not because of the disease but because of, well, you-know-who turning our nation into a shithole country.

The line is  from Antonio Gramsci (January 22, 1891 – April 27, 1937), an Italian Marxist philosopher and communist politician who wrote on political theory, sociology and linguistics. He attempted to break from the economic determinism of traditional Marxist thought and so is considered a key neo-marxist. He died in prison, having been brutalized for over a decade by the Fascists because “For twenty years we must stop this brain from functioning”.

Gramsci wrote the above line while in prison, in 1929.

Our Dear Reader Steve, an American living in London, has reported on his blog  Shadows & Light,  that someone has been walking around North London wearing a Plague Doctor suit:

This, too, sticks me as a very classy, European way to make a comment on life during COVID. Fun Fact: The face mask is shaped like a bird’s beak because the doctor wearing it would fill it with sweet-smelling flowers and spices to counteract the evils in the air during the Plague of 1656.

Can you imagine what would happen if someone walked around New York City with that get-up? Nobody would get the reference, and I’m pretty sure they would get beat up, because tensions are high and people are irritable and this outfit is scary.

You can buy a Plague Doctor suit from Walmart on-line for $66.98.

For fun, I googled “COVID graffiti” and the inter webs did not disappoint.

This is more graffiti from Rome:

Wetteren, Belgium:

Nairobi, Kenya:

Madrid, Spain:

Sale, Morocco:

Glasgow, Scotland:

I don’t get the Pulp Fiction reference, but all around the world we all wear face masks and we all know what the virus looks like and it makes me feel that we really are all in this together, except for these dip shits:

I personally don’t know anyone who is out there bitching about governmental over-reach. The people I know are delighted to follow the order to stay home and stay far away from everybody. I myself am having a whale of a time. I haven’t made a To Do list in weeks, I live every moment as “Present”, and I experience time much the same way as our early human ancestors did — as an un-numbered, unhurried flow of days and nights that give life a pleasant rhythm of sleep and wakefulness, doing and not doing.

The only thing I have to show up for is my weekly Korean class and this week I got the biggest thrill. This is my current level of reading comprehension:

If you’ve ever learned a foreign language, you know that in the beginning it all feels random and impossible, and nothing makes sense, and everything whizzes past you at a terrifying speed. And then one day, something clicks and you begin to recognize a pattern or a word or two, and then a whole complete thought appears like magic and you think, Wow, I’m almost fluent! And then it goes away and you’re confused again, but for that brief moment you had a glimpse of what being inside that language will feel like, one day, and it’s enough to keep you going.

That’s where I am this week. I can read!  Now, let me see if I can say this in Korean:

못쓰게 만들다 Trump.




















A Footnote:

We in the US have a TV show called Ozark and the actress Julia Garner won an Emmy for her role, and yes, she actually did say, on that show and in character:  “I don’t know shit about fuck.” That’s the kind of witty repartee we have in America.

Have a great weekend, everyone. See you Wednesday, and in the meantime, ignore the monsters. Go have a nice glass of wine. It’s still good to be alive.





5 Comments, RSS

  1. I do love Ozark. And I love that quote from Antonio Gramsci. It’s poetic, isn’t it? And so true.

    I’ve seen some coronavirus graffiti here in London, but the piece I saw was heavily over-tagged so I didn’t photograph it. Some people apparently respond badly to coronavirus graffiti.

    I suspect Europeans aren’t handling this any better than Americans are. You’re just seeing the best of the European responses — the ones that make it into the media. On the flip side, we have conspiracy theorists here in England burning down 5G cell phone towers because COVID is supposedly a scam meant to conceal the ill effects of advanced communications technology. Good grief!!

  2. Megan

    Ozark is totally terrifying not sure I can watch the latest series… as for who is coolest. We really shouldn’t generalise as I am sure there are some very uncool Europeans and some cool Americans… however the question is answered definitively if medical personnel are being paid less because shareholders are not making enough money out of the Covid 19 pandemic. It is quite unreal and truly shocking.

  3. Kirra

    Congratulations on your progress towards Korean fluency!
    The US medical system is truly horrific when looking in from another country, I sincerely hope after this you might be able to change it. Hospitals/Schools/Social Services should cost you money (ie you pay taxes to the government to pay for it), they are simply not for making money. Go into another business area for that.
    It’s kind of amazing to remember what the US was like with Obama, it just seems like it was a ridiculously fabulous time by comparison to now.

  4. The people in that protest pic sure spell better than the Michigan protestors, whose banner said FREEEDOM. Personally, I think if you can’t spell freedom, you don’t deserve it. On the last protest a car had painted on it “Libety or Tranny.” Personally at this point, I’d take Tranny.

    Loved the assorted graffiti. And leave it to Italy to have graffiti from a Marxist philosopher who died more than 80 years ago. Now that’s a smart sign. And I love the plague doctor, although he’d probably get the heck beat out of him if he walked around here in that.

    Hang in there. We get another day to be healthy. Grab it!

  5. My cat is like those dogs at 6:01PM, and AM too, but also at 12 noon and 9PM and maybe when he is inspired even between those hours. He think he can fool me into thinking it is time to feed him.

    “The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.” That is the best quote to come out of this whole mess. I love it. Hope you don’t mind, but I am stealing it.

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