Starting Over

Starting Over: Enter the Dragon

Combine a pandemic and an economic crisis and you get the dragon

In the beginning, I thought that the Covid-19 pandemic would resemble something like a tornado. We take shelter in our storm cellar. The tornado passes through. Those in its direct path (and given my demographic status, that could well be me) suffer the most. And after a while, the all-clear sirens sound and we surface to rebuild what the tornado has destroyed.

I expected the damage to be severe, but I thought it might offer us a chance to get some things right that were obviously going wrong. I’m not talking about architecture.

My first Starting Over column projected forward to that rebuild, and what I wanted us to get right was our relationship to the culture in which we all must swim. I want us to build a culture that works for us instead of against us, and one of the central drivers of both the actual reconstruction process and the new culture that resulted could and should be the arts.

No, they aren’t tornadoes. /Image by Nathan Johnson

My metaphor was wrong. I suppose all metaphors are wrong at some level, but events proved this one wrong almost immediately. The tornado analogy failed at the “shelter in place” stage, and it failed both because we aren’t so deeply bunkered that we are out of communication with each other and because we’re going to have to be in that state for a lot longer. We don’t know how long.