This Week in the New Normal #11

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Austria and Germany travelling back in time

In Germany, despite never have any kind of “public health emergency” worthy of the name, Angela Merkel’s government has always been determined to parlay Covid19 into as much extra power as they can. Busily turning society on its head whilst implementing horrific propaganda exercises.

The emergency powers seized by the government last year are set to expire this month, and there are already loud voices calling for their extension at least through the winter.

Alongside that, this week it was announced over 12,000 German troops are on standby to “support vaccination efforts”, and worst of all it was reported in Die Welt that Germany is considering another lockdown only for the unvaccinated.

Austria, seemingly desperate to prove it loves fascism just as much as Germany, has some regions already putting millions of unvaccinated people back into lockdown.

Austria and Germany are quite keen to show the world they’ve learned almost nothing from their past mistakes.

2. Toxic masculinity and climate change

The search is over, ladies and gentlemen, we have found it: The worst headline ever

Is toxic masculinity the reason there are so many climate-hesitant men?

It’s perfect. It looks like it was produced by an algorithm (maybe it was). It’s got everything – casual misandry, woke buzzwords, and absurd sciency-sounding phrases that mean literally nothing.

(Personally I’ve never heard of “climate hesistancy” before, but it’s a natural evolution from “vaccine hesistancy” and yet another example of the press trying to align Covid and climate.)

As to the actual content of the article, well, it’s a about a report from some (probably billionaire funded) NGO which has found that men are much less likely to change their lifestyle to combat climate change.

It is a predictable melange of meaningless statistics, barely disguised sexism, outright war on maleness, and “expert” opinion.

A few days ago, in my article on “climate change diagnosis”, I wrote about “experts in made-up fields” giving their opinion in the press. The example I made up – I thought satirically – was “climate ethics”.

Reality has once more proven to be far more absurd than we could ever imagine, with the introduction of Dr Katrien Van der Heyden, who is described as “a gender expert specialising in masculinity and climate change”. Which is the funniest job description I’ve ever heard.

Dr Van der Heyden hates men, by the way. She doesn’t say that, of course, instead insisting that some men (sorry “male allies”) are perfectly OK. But others, (I suppose these would be “male enemies”) are refusing to do their part because of their adherence to the “traditional definition of masculinity”:

the traditional way of defining masculinity as everything that is not feminine and everything that is power and privilege

Speaking as a man, I’m not sure any of us would define masculinity in those terms. I’ve certainly never considered my role as especially defined by privilege.

But hey, she’s an “expert in masculinity and climate change”, and what’s the world coming to if that no longer means anything.

BONUS: Sick dog of the week

Do you remember back in May, when the UK’s first cat with Covid was found? Do you remember the Guardian telling you not to panic? Do you remember the stock image of a very unimpressed cat? We covered it in This Week in the Guardian #12.

Well, not to be outdone, the dogs have joined the party. That’s right, we have now seen the UK’s first case of Dog Covid. Apparently in a Dalmatian named Kip. He was mildly ill in October and is now fine.

If you’re considering this entire story nonsense, well you better check yourself, because it was confirmed by a “top vet”. A TOP one. So take that, cynics.

What I found funny about this is that every single UK outlet covered it, and every single outlet used a stock image of a different breed of dog. Apparently, they weren’t even up to googling “Dalmatian”, and just went with “dog” because it was faster.

It’s not all bad…

School districts in Florida are dropping their (illegal) mask mandates. This follows news of one 8 year old Floridian girl who has been suspended 36 times for refusing to wear a mask, which is impressive and brave.

The fifth circuit court in Louisiana has put a stay on the federal vaccine mandate, questioning its legality.

Also this week, actor William Hurt has written an article for AE911Truth detailing his journey to questioning the official account of 9/11. The Oscar winner writes about his initial doubts and why he can no longer stay silent. A good read, and hopefully one of many more to come.


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention the danger of “climate conspiracies”, India’s proposed “pollution lockdown” or the Guardian article claiming white men don’t feel real emotions, and when they cry “it’s a threat”.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.


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