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. Any solution you like as long as its neo-feudalism
A new report has been published claiming the best way the people of Europe can “hurt Putin” is to use less oil and gas.
The report, titled “Switch Off Putin”, goes as far as suggesting energy rationing, making it illegal to set your thermostat above 18 degrees, banning private cars from cities and ceasing all intra-European flights.
The write-up in the Guardian somehow crams in eating less meat as well.
Fly less. Drive less. Eat less meat. Live like a pauper.
At the beginning of the “pandemic” in 2020, we published a piece pointing out that every single policy being put forward to “prevent future pandemics” had already been suggested as a means of “stopping climate change”: Drive less, fly less, eat less meat.
Famously, when asked what colours the Model T came in, Henry Ford replied “any colour you want so long as it’s black”. Same goes here. Any solution you like, so long as it’s neo-feudalism.
We need to ban cars and planes and beef to
save the planet prevent pandemics support Ukraine.
They don’t care why you do these things, but they really, really want you to do them.
2. “Temporary” Covid laws
The government of Victoria has extended their emergency powers. The Australian state’s incredibly authoritarian “temporary” Covid laws were set to expire on Tuesday April 12th, having already been extended twice.
Then, on April 5th, Victorian health minister Martin Foley told the press there was “every expectation” they will be extended past the April 12th deadline.
The very next day, Premier Andrews did just that.
The only way any of this should surprise you is if you paid literally no attention to the actions of any government, or the use of any “emergency” powers, in all of human history. Which, sadly, does describe a lot of people.
The “temporary” powers are now set to expire in July…but I wouldn’t put any money on that.
3. Redefining Hubris
The UK’s National Gallery has changed the name of a Degas drawing to “better reflect the subject”.
The piece, formerly known as “Russian Dancers”, but henceforth “Ukrainian Dancers”, is a pastel drawing of two female figures. The Guardian article doesn’t say how they know that the women are Ukrainian, except that they have blue and yellow ribbons in their hair. Yes, seriously.
There’s no talk of disrespect for the artist (who presumably named the piece for a reason), there’s no talk of the dangers of the “updating” art to reflect modern sensibilities, and there’s certainly nobody pointing out that at the time the drawing was done Ukraine did not exist as a nation.
Only a vague, waffling justification for updating the title, and a suggestion that more is to come…
The National Gallery told the Guardian research that was continuing about paintings in its collection and information about its works was updated as and when appropriate and when new information came to light.
Which puts me in mind of this…
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
I really do hate how much we have to quote 1984 recently.
BONUS: Hellhole of the week
First time we’ve repeated an “…of the week” title, but how else can you really describe what’s happening in China right now? Currently, 50 million people are in full lockdown.
In Shanghai, they’ve had a week of “full lockdown”, literally no leaving the house for any reason at all, and are seeing massive food shortages. Residents are protesting by screaming from their balconies:
What the?? This video taken yesterday in Shanghai, China, by the father of a close friend of mine. She verified its authenticity: People screaming out of their windows after a week of total lockdown, no leaving your apartment for any reason. pic.twitter.com/iHGOO8D8Cz
— Patrick Madrid ✌🏼 (@patrickmadrid) April 9, 2022
In Jinan, people are literally on their knees waiting for white-suited drones to scan their digital vaccine passports, all allegedly in the name of pursuing “zero Covid”.
But the real reason?
Maybe it’s about pushing people to see when they will snap. Maybe it’s just crushing people for the sake of it. Or maybe it’s all a psyop done to normalize these dystopian visuals.
Who can say at this point?
BONUS II: Pathetic PR stunt of the week
The cringy imagery of Boris waddling around Kiev trying to look grave is blackly funny, especially when you know it was Churchill Day yesterday, and there press are being SO ham-fisted about it:
When they say Johnson is being “compared to Churchill”, they mean by them, just now.
Also, for future reference, “compared” is a media weasel word, like “appeared”. You could say Johnson is nothing like Churchill except they’re both overweight narcissistic poshos, and the media could truthfully sum it up as “Johnson was compared to Churchill”.
It’s not all bad…
It’s been a minute since we did a Meme Monday post, hasn’t it? Well to make up here are a few chuckle-worthy offerings to get you through the day…
We’d also like to say that our Rokfin panel had a great response, and to all those people saying they want to see more of it – we’re already planning the next one.
All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention Melbourne rolling out defibrillators to counter “dire” cardiac arrest numbers, the obvious coup in Pakistan or Canada’s looming “online harms” bill.