What's in store for us? We're self-isolating and trying to figure it out. This week: a $200 million dollar money hole, Christ squirts, and personalized reality TV.
Churches will be the center of the next wave of outbreaks. Organized religion has always been the country's flaming sword and its Achilles' heel. It has led us into foolish crusades in the Middle East, immiserated its parishioners, whitewashed white supremacy, perpetuated the subjugation of women, oppressed LGBTQ communities, covered for child rapists, tricked people into scammy health care markets, and forced billions to read bad translations of exceptionally bad Greek writing. Now its houses of worship will prolong a deadly pandemic because a bunch of death cultists can't handle one more month of Zoom meetings.
Right-wing pastor Rodney Howard-Browne used his church service yesterday to tell his congregation that the coronavirus pandemic is a globalist plot to "kill off many people" through forced vaccinations. https://t.co/ahY1JyXJS3 pic.twitter.com/nJaHMT6sVV
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 16, 2020
On Friday the President called for churches to resume in-person services immediately. In Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee is working on guidance for reopening church services following aggressive and nearly successful legal challenges in Oregon and California, plus constant nagging from Republican leadership in the Legislature. But it was a choir practice in Mt. Vernon that created a "superspreader event" in Skagit County, infecting 52 people. And as I mentioned in Slog AM last week, one county in North Carolina linked its outbreak to a single church service, "actually, a youth rally,’’ according to Rockingham Now.
In Salem: "a stunning concentration of COVID." In Sacramento: "180 Exposed To Coronavirus During Mother’s Day Service At Defiant NorCal Church." In Baton Rouge: "Member of defiant Central church dies from coronavirus illness." After resuming mass in May, a Texas church shut down again after a priest "probably" died with the coronavirus and "five other members of the church's religious order also tested positive for COVID-19." In Chicago: "Churches reopen for Sunday service in defiance of Illinois' stay-at-home order." Even with new social distancing measurers in place, I expect churches will be largely responsible for the resurgence of the virus. —R.S.
Girl it’s fine, we are just gonna die alone.
— MALIKA (@MalikaNgozi) May 23, 2020
There's a lack of information about singles and dating in the wake of stay-home orders. The Netherlands, for instance, released guidance for singles to get one, and only one, "sex buddy" for the time being. Across the board, research is showing that courtship is changing, that people are taking things more slowly. For my brother, there's a fear that this slow pace will continue. He's worried people won't want to meet up, that caution will trump impulsiveness, and he'll remain just as he was during quarantine: alone.
Maybe this all could change once dating apps start offering "COVID-free passports." —N.G.
Gala seats are typically reserved for butts who are willing and able to unload cash. But out of COVID-era necessity, OtB facilitated a free and virtual gala this year that was not only successful at raising funds—they raised over $80,000 in one evening—it also expanded OtB's reach. The contemporary performance venue has long had a national reputation, and my friends in Minneapolis and New York City, who've only followed OtB from a distance, were able to engage in this gala from their living rooms.
More regionally, I was able to take a film class offered by Portland's Movie Madness on early kung fu movies, which I never would have been able to take pre-pandemic because the class was supposed to be in-person. Hopefully these arts organizations and audiences will be able to build on these new relationships in meaningful ways. —C.B.
Although the studio may opt to push Tenet to a later release date or make it available on demand, the insecurity of the theater circuit probably means these big-dick, giant-crew, hundred-million-dollar movies will become financially and physically impossible for the next few years. Coupled with the idea of quarantine pods, I believe smaller budgets, lighter crews, and more intimate storylines will become favorable to production studios large and small as we deal with the economic fallout of the 'rona. —J.K.
I thought about this while watching Netflix's popular The Big Flower Fight, hosted by Seattle local Kristen Griffith VanderYacht. In its first episode, the show weirdly decides to only show a portion of the contestants during the episode's final judging. I thought this was bizarre. Who were the characters looming in the shadows? Were they ghosts? Was someone else seeing them?
Personalized edits would be ridiculous in regular scripted television, but what about reality TV? What if you saw more confessionals from the character that best fits your taste? I'm not arguing that this would be a good thing—but every other aspect of our online lives seems to be tailored to our clicking habits. When will reality TV do the same? —C.B.
Something along the lines of my brother's psychology will eventually be expressed in the children who've been on lockdown and social distancing for over two months. This difficult period will leave a permanent mark on their development. Indeed, a recent study in Spain that, according to the New York Times, "examined the psychological impact of the confinement on children in Spain and Italy" found that around "90 percent of 431 Spanish parents surveyed described emotional and behavioral changes in their kids, including difficulty concentrating, irritability and anxiety." There is no way of avoiding this impact and its potential negative consequences. There is no and may never be a cure for COVID-19. It is either we stay at home for long stretches of time or spread the deadly virus. —C.M.