The New York Times recently presented some “quarantine cooking tips.” “Cooking is a balm, and in this especially difficult time. . . “
New York magazine publishes a story on “how to make a perfect quarantine playlist.” Vogue offers “Creativity in a Time of Crisis”:
“For the first few days I felt low. Then my dad reminded me that I needed to dance and I needed to cook and I needed to do all of the things that make me happy,” says the actor.
It is great that we Americans are coming up with creative ways to keep up our spirits during the pandemic. I suppose most of us have devised and shared our own reading lists or other survival tips. Don’t get me wrong: creative responses to the pandemic are most welcome.
But one demographic seems to be largely missing in the media: people who have lost their jobs and are desperate, or people who led normal, middleclass lives and now fear that they may never return to the lives they had built by dint of hard work and fortitude.
I’ve scanned the media for stories about the waiter or waitress who has been laid off and has children to feed, the clerk at Macy’s who lived paycheck to paycheck.
Around 40 percent of jobs can be done by telecommuting, and the pandemic will likely give a push to this form of job flexibility, which is often especially helpful to women.
But that leaves around 60 percent who can’t work from home.
There must be a lot of desperation in this segment of the population, and yet you aren’t reading very much about them.
Of course, there has been some reporting on this group but nothing like the attention devoted to how more upscale segments of society are coping with the boredom of the pandemic. Shouldn’t we listen to them, too?
The protests over the shutdown are not led by the upscale demographic that has received so much attention. It is a movement of people who have an urgency about going back to work, namely because they fear that they will be ruined if they don’t soon.
Whatever you think about the timing for opening up the country, and this will be determined by states, with plenty of input from scientists, we should not be dismissing these protests.
But that is precisely what some are trying to do. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Rep. Debbie Dingell, the longtime Democratic member of Congress, seemed to try to Charlottesville the protestors—i.e., smear them as racists who carried Confederate flags.
But it was American flags you saw at this protest. If there were Confederate flags, most people missed them. Rich Lowery wrote about the “Confederate flag canard:”
You can watch long stretches of footage of the protests and see only a panorama of American flags — people flying them from their cars, waving them, draping themselves in them, displaying them on their wheelchairs. Many of the protesters are decked out in red-white-and-blue regalia.
. . .
It’s entirely legitimate, obviously, to disagree with the anti-lockdown protests and to think they are wrong to want to open up now. But, please, don’t depict them all as a bunch of neo-Confederates. It’s tiresome, and not true.
But it is an eminently clever way to dismiss a people from whom you do not wish to hear, people for whom cooking is no longer “a balm” because they are worried about the future.
Pandemics don’t affect only the middle and upper middle class, but so far these are the only Americans from whom we are regularly are hearing.