Its unlikely a coincidence that countries run by women have done far better controlling corona than countries run by men. Theyre less obsessed with being right and more focused on taking care of things (and people). Thats just basic biology: When women step out of the spotlight to assess what needs doing, they dont have to worry about losing their masculinity.
That said, among the impossible happenings last week was Dick Cheney launching the hashtag #RealMenWearMasks to coax guys with fragile egos to cover up. A whole industry has popped up to make masks macho enough for real men: whiskey bottle masks, Darth Vader masks, mustache masks. Seriously, this is a real thing.
Part of whats wrong with our vision of right, no doubt, is our bloated diet of advice books, columns, TV shows, videos, Instagram feeds. They school us in right way to be content, raise children, have sex, succeed, be a man. It goes without saying these generalities almost never apply to individual cases. Whats right for which man? Which kids? Succeed at what? Content with what?
Whats right is what works in any given space, time, context. Newtons laws of gravity are wrong if you want to explore a black hole, but can be right enough to get spacecraft around the solar system.
What matters is finding the right way to thrive in whatever world youre in.
Coronas environment is us, its all-too-welcoming hosts. Its found the right way to use us to get it where it wants to go.
What do we have that corona doesnt? Well, weve got science, weve got art, weve got fun.
Science tells us whats true, whats possible. Art reminds us of what it means to be human, what matters. Play lets us fool around with crazy ideas that might turn out to be brilliant. Between them, weve got tools for creating a sustainable equilibrium that preserves the best and discards the worst of our ideas for vaccines, for prevention, even policing.
Meanwhile, weve got families and friends we care about. Weve got orchestras playing for houseplants, ballerinas dancing at home with their dogs and cats, Zoom charades, cat videos, now even dancing Karen videos. Weve got magicians. Weve even got search tools that reveal exactly how Houdini made that elephant disappear.
Viruses mutate to survive, to take advantage of changing environments. Corona cant live without us. So it learns all about our lungs, our hearts, our behavior, our global health system, the better to spread and grow strong. In turn, it teaches us about ourselves.
Black people, in a weirdly analogous way, have been learning about white peoples worlds for centuriesin order to survive. Most white people havent felt the same need to learn about Black peoples worlds. So to some, scenes of brutality seemed to come almost out of the blue (pun intended)an elephant if there ever was one, trampling on people for realon their freedoms, yes, but also literally on their lives. What does that teach us about ourselves?
In the end, we must co-evolve. Like the spinning Earth, we roll along together, or not at all.
Trevor Noah recently said that if mutation is coronas secret weapon, then were going to have to mutate to fight back.
He concentrates, muttering to himself: Mutate! Mutate! Mutate!
A third eye appears on his forehead. He cant see it, of course, because its a part of himself.
He shrugs his shoulders. I guess nothing happened.
Maybe were already adapting and just dont know it.
Photographs: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe/Getty Images; Andrea Savorani Neri/Getty Images; Steve Pfost/Getty Images
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Keeping Up With the Coronasor Why the Virus Is Winning - WIRED
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