Above fame, wealth and happiness, who now wouldn’t choose a drunken night out with a bunch of friends? I would go anywhere for a good dinner, even south of the river, and oh for one pompous gallery launch where wine is even worse than art.
How can you think of parties at a time like this when ambulances are lining up and businesses are climbing their bottom line? How can we not? The spirit springs from what has been refused: the piety of the lock makes us pray for the opposite.
As forgiving as it may sound now, a good party move can eventually be part of the cure. No Covid itself – leave that to scientists – but to dress in nice clothes and go out flirting with the city again. To get out of this dark winter, we are going to have to forget about it. And some strong cocktails might help.
Had we, humanity, already gone through this communal oblivion once before? It occurred to me in mid-December while reading a tweet that had gone viral: “It became very clear to me why the 1918 pandemic was followed by the Roaring Twenties and why people were dressing up. to go pretty much anywhere, ”@JenniDigital wrote. From where we are now, it rings true. And the idea that there could be a post-pandemic boom out of sheer relief has been floated throughout the year.
Did the historians of the 1920s miss something? Book after book will attribute this hedonistic decade to the influx of cheap post-war credit, the arrival of the automobile and radio stations, the illicit thrill of Moonshine Prohibition, and the unbinding of women. London went wild for the Bright Young Things and the Gargoyle Club; Berlin partied as if it knew what was to come.
But you won’t often find a mention of their pandemic as a trigger for the decadence that followed. The Spanish flu, which passed through a third of the world’s population, killed more than five times as many American citizens as the Great War, and in 1918 outstripped the artillery in its destructive power.
Was it too difficult to assess the scale then? The statistics weren’t up to par, the press was censored, there was no world health organization. Or was the flu too abstract an enemy? Unlike a war effort, Influenza did not have a propaganda machine to recount its victories. He just went from town to town.
It was perhaps too commonplace to talk about it. As Virginia Woolf noted in her 1926 essay “On Being Ill,” “In practice, audiences would say that a novel about the flu lacked intrigue.”
What has fallen into legend instead are the aftermath: jazz clubs, moonshine, and Wall Street highlights. In a cruel irony of timing, as New Year’s midnight 2021 struck, there was no fireworks display but F. Gatsby the magnificent is out of copyright. The mansion doors of his West Egg mansion were opened to the public, invited to one of the big fictional parties with yellow cocktail music and lines of cordials and the swell of laughing, flirtatious voices, which we can now read for free. from the limits. of our Tier 4 sofa.
In our current state of suspension between disease and vaccine, the question is: what next? Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have visions for economic recovery, hoping for increased post-pandemic spending. There will also be the pent-up energy of boredom and loneliness tearing apart bars – alcohol recovery. They may want to take this into account, or even encourage it in moderation.
Because we will need a little mist to forget a year not only of the disease, but of the bitterness created by its inequalities on money, employment and our freedoms.
For almost a year, life has been defined by dark-faced officials reading death statistics. We have been made to think about our every movement, about everything and everyone we touch.
Real life is not that conscious space preached by yoga teachers and mindfulness applications. Who needs more time to think? As the lockdown has shown us, what we aspire to is not inner peace but to live without ourselves and in company. If the return to this is done through the semi-consciousness of a libertine era, so be it.
Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist at Yale, recently published a book on Covid and its effects on society, titled Apollo’s Arrow. The way a tabloid interpreted its scholarly work is quite revealing. The New York Post ran an article on her book under the headline: “Crazy Sex Roaring Twenties Await After Pandemic: Yale Prof.”
Was it to shock his readers? No, it was a message of hope.
Follow Joy on Twitter @joy_lo_dico
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