This Easter in the New Normal

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. Jacinda Ardern rewards

A little insight into the quid pro quo nature of politics to kick us off.

This week it was announced that freshly-retired Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern will be given not one but TWO cushy new roles. firstly she will be “consulting” with national governments, international bodies and social media companies about “tackling online extremism”. Secondly, she will is being appointed the newest trustee of Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, awarding grants and other nonsense to people who “combat climate change”.

I have seen some voices in the alternate media express concern that the same woman who was the architect of New Zealand’s Ned Flanders Dystopia will now have some authority in global policies on both the environment and censorship.

These fears are misplaced. Moving forward Ardern will have the same amount of functional power she ever had: none.

She had no say in New Zealand’s lockdown policies, she was just the mascot. Believing otherwise is akin to blaming Ronald MacDonald for your burger being overdone.

This is not a new job – or two new jobs – it’s just an important-sounding title and some kickback payments. A fancy gold hat for being a good little girl and always doing what she’s told.

2. 2+2 =/= 4

Welp, they finally did it. The final basic truism of the world has fallen, in true Orwellian style…with a modern twist.

The National Review published an article this week, headlined “2 + 2 = White Supremacy: How Woke Ideologues Corrupted Canada’s Math Curriculum” and centering on a presentation given by Canadian maths teacher Jason To to the Ontario Mathematics Coordinators Association (OMCA).

Among other things, the presentation used this slide, which lists “2+2=4” under “covert white supremacy”:

See, it’s not that 2+2 doesn’t equal four, it’s just that saying it does is potentially racist, or maybe potentially transphobic.

Either way, sometimes simple statements of fact can be damaging, and we need to stop them.

3. It’s next pandemic season again

You can tell it’s spring, because all the squirrels and hedgehogs and diseases have come out of hibernation.

After being loudly hailed as the “next pandemic” last Summer, monkeypox crawled into a cave and took a long nap over the cold winter months. But now it’s back, with new clusters being reported in France, with fears of a new mutation…Just as new trials are starting for the “monkeypox vaccine”.

Oh, in case you were wondering they did eventually decide on a name change, it’s just “mpox” now. It took them literally months to decide on that.

The birds as well as the beasts are being represented on the disease front.

Birdflu is still going strong, and received a news bump this week, when it was reported a dog in Canada died of bird flu after eating infected goose meat.

Meanwhile, Time reports that, in Japan, “they are running out of land to bury dead chickens”, which conjurs up delightfully absurd images of acres of tiny white crosses.

“Here lies Feathers, 2023-2023”.

The story doesn’t hold together, really. Because all culling logic says you burn diseased animals, not bury them. Burying them simply has them rot into the soil, or else get dug up and eaten by wild animals….but the bird flu story never made any sense in the first place.

Fortunately, we only have to spend a few billion dollars a year on testing and vaccinating our chickens, stockpiling human vaccines, and other “pandemic preparedness measures” in order to avoid another Covid. Phew.

BONUS: Nauseating hypocrisy of the week

In just the latest example of mainstream media normalizing the idea of editing reality for human consumption, MSNBC refused to broadcast Trump’s press conference after his arraignment on Tuesday.

This is neither new nor surprising, but what really will stick in your craw is Rachel Maddow – Rachel freakin’ Maddow – justifying it by saying:

“There is a cost to us as a news organization for knowingly broadcasting untrue things.”

BONUS II: Revealing quote of the week

The latest episode of the High Wire with Del Bigtree is a conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson, the media mascot of The ScienceTM in all shape and forms. During an exchange about dissent on Covid vaccines within the scientific community, he let this fly:

A statement so remarkably anti-scientific and so patently absurd…that I’m just going to let it sit there.

It’s not all bad…

The good news with reservations first. This week saw some potential progress in the US, where the Senate voted to end the Covid “state of emergency”. Any national emergency actually being ended is good news for the novelty as much as anything else, since most of them are still going strong.

In likewise cautiously optimistic developments, the WHO has revised their “Covid vaccine” guidance for children, saying it is no longer necessary to “vaccinate” children under 18 years old. That said, this is likely just as much face-saving and arse-covering as anything else, and national governments will continue to do it anyway – as the UK government said this week.

Protesters in France stormed BlackRock headquarters yesterday:

Bob Moran’s cartoon lambasting Piers Morgan and Julia Hartley-Brewer for attempting to revise their years of Covid collaboration is fun, and thematically topical, given the time of year:

Easter Viewing Recommendation

The programme of movies people watch over the long Easter weekend hasn’t really changed in decades – lots of sand, lots of sandals, ten minutes of interesting chariot race and four hours of boring everything else.

For anyone in the mood for a change I would recommend 2016’s Risen, a retelling of the Easter story from the point of view of the Roman centurion tasked with overseeing the crucifixion.

It’s not perfect, it’s not even very good all the time, but it is an interesting new angle on a very old story, and has some very good moments. Without spoiling much, the first half is very good…the second half somewhat dull. But it’s shorter than Ben Hur, better than Quo Vadis, and fresher than Prince of Egypt. If you’re in the mood for something new, give it a go.


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention the EU moving to ban anonymous crypto transactions or the UK’s largest teachers’ union supporting drag queens performing in schools.

Happy Easter everyone.

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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