The PVP Diaries #68

Let me bring this back for a minute:

We’ve been having a small uptick in deaths to go with the large bump in positives. The graphs are predictably startling. But “tons more people being tested everyday,” and all those mitigating factors, and whatever. I don’t know what this thing is, how serious or grave, but it’s certainly still here. That it is being artificially buoyed to some extent by politics is undeniable (or so I think), but who knows how much. And as I look at graphs with a marked upswing in the last couple of weeks – tests, positive results, deaths (not so much an uptick as a steady presence), I then come across the graph for new hospitalizations:

There appears to be a sort of diminishing of severity to go along with the surge in occurrence, such that you wonder how much we still have to fear. Some of you will say “there was nothing to fear in the first place,” some will say “don’t let your guard down,” and others will give it the ol’ “a little of both, somewhere in the middle.” All I know is that I don’t want to homeschool my son again.

The parents at The Boy’s school started a long email situation the other day, prompted by a Dad linking to an article about outdoor classrooms – some nod to yesteryear, open-air learning environments, the benefits thereof, etc. A dozen or more emails followed, all laser focused on that subject. The next day a friend, Mom of one of The Boy’s classmates, texted me privately and said that if they don’t – first and foremost – get a solid, complete plan in place for remote learning, they’ve failed. She sent an email to the school saying the same. I couldn’t agree more. Whatever the Coronavirus might actually be on the sliding scale of Vast Government Conspiracy to Global Death Sentence, the likelihood of being in the classroom in the Fall is close to zero (at least here in Washington). And this is the 21st century. I like the idea of outdoor learning as much as the next guy, but we’re not paying all that tuition to send our kids to a 1907 model of education.

The reading’s all been somewhat one-dimensional. And I also forgot to mention that my first post-4th of July read was “In the Heart of the Sea” as a follow-up to Moby Dick. I say go and read it. Twice, even. But under no circumstances are you to watch the movie. Do. Not. Watch. It. The book was written by a man with the most New England name I’ve heard since Hester Prynne: Nathaniel Philbrick. You’ll see some references to the whale stories in my hockey novel, if that ever comes to pass (no, it isn’t actually a hockey novel). Highly recommend.

To mix things up, and because my not-a-hockey-novel is set in a fictional Massachusetts (OMG I spelled that right on the first try) town, I’m starting today on Colonial American Travel Narratives. It begins with Mary Rowlandson’s story. The introduction (yes, I repeat, you have to read the introduction) goes a bit predictably academic when Rowlandson fails to mourn the death of her captors’ baby:

At the same time, the religious framework that mediates Rowlandson’s suffering makes her blind to the suffering of those who don’t share the same cultural assumptions.

Christianity and cultural assumptions? TARGET ACQUIRED. Please, Professor, do go on:

Rowlandson’s inability to extend sympathy suggests that her survival instinct outweighed the Christian admonition to be charitable.

No, it didn’t. In fact, I don’t see how her survival instinct had anything to do with it, or Christian charity. Rowlandson had already seen “seventeen family members and friends butchered before her eyes.” The people who did the butchering kidnapped her, and at some point lost a papoos of their own to sickness, about which Rowlandson simply said “I confess I could not much condole with them.” It would take something like a humanities professor to translate that reaction into cultural insensitivity or religious hypocrisy. For my part, I find the fact that Rowlandson did not outright celebrate the child’s death, and characterize it as an act of divine retribution, to be charitable in the utmost. Christian, even.

I take the kids to the doctor today for an annual checkup. I have no idea if this will involve any sort of a traditional flu shot, or if we’ve dispensed of that cute little ritual altogether. Seems kind of like going swimming in a raincoat at this point. I’ll certainly ask.

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