I’m getting very tired of that male bedroom voice over the radio, and sometimes on television, a suave male fitting that radio voice, pushing some restaurant chain, or maybe a local medical group, or box store, with those calming words, “Remember. We are all in this together.”
No, we’re not.
We know who’s open and who’s not allowed to be open. We know who’s going to work and who’re not allowed to go to work. We know who’s had to file for unemployment, and we know who’s allowed to curl up in front of their computer at home, still in their jammies and house shoes and put in a few hours instead of going to the office.
We know who can’t keep their job and take care of the kids because school’s closed or childcare’s shut down.
We know who’s getting a steady paycheck and who’s still waiting for that relief deposit in the bank.
It’s no difference than the Have’s and Have Not’s who lived and died during the Black Death of 1347, only the sleeping arrangements were reversed; the royals snuggled down in relative safety behind castle walls while the Have Not peasants outside the gates bore the brunt of the pestilence. Barbara Tuchman wrote an unflattering history of both the aristocracy and the Church as Europe’s First and Second Estate tried to restore the old order without the benefit of almost a half of their prior workforce, the Third Estate. (A Distant Trumpet, 1978)
We are seeing this be played out now, only, unlike the 14th Century, the Third Estate is American, free, votes, and has almost all the guns.
Barbara Tuchman penned a “law” based on that era, which serves as warning about contemporary historians and modern media.
Disaster is rarely as pervasive as it seems from recorded accounts. The fact of being on the record makes it appear continuous and ubiquitous whereas it is more likely to have been sporadic both in time and place. Besides, persistence of the normal is usually greater than the effect of the disturbance, as we know from our own times.
Tuchman’s Law, as follows: “The fact of being reported multiplies the apparent extent of any deplorable development by five- to tenfold”