This Week in the New Normal #83

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.
As usual, since there was no edition last week, we’re technically covering two weeks in the new normal today

1. Are you ready for “heat-related deaths” to spike?

Last week Sky News reported the last scary climate change numbers: “10,000 people a year could die as a result of heatwaves”

Now, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend those numbers aren’t just made up.

Firstly, let’s go into “early 2020” mode for some perspective: 10,000 people is not that many compared to the ~650,000 people that die in the UK each year.

Secondly, let’s reasonably assume that as more people die of “heat”, fewer people will die of cold. Since thousands of people are supposedly killed by cold weather per winter, increased “heat-related” deaths could have almost no impact on overall mortality at all.

There, I’ve done my Devil’s Advocate due diligence, and we have established that – even if they are real – those numbers are not scary.

But, of course, they’re not real. The weasel-worded article establishes that if nothing else, using phrases like “could die as a result” and “heat-related deaths”.

Just as “Covid deaths” were ridiculously defined as “death from any cause within 28 days of a positive test”, “heat-related” deaths will simply be “deaths from any cause during a heat wave”. Soon after that they’ll probably start adding “climate change” to death certificates.

I’m not joking, they’ve actually suggested this already.

Don’t worry though, Anti-Establishment Elon is here with a solution: A carbon tax.

2. New Days are the New Days

This is a weird one. The Hawaii Supreme Court published a pro-gun control decision this week which used a quote from The Wire to make its argument:

“The thing about the old days, they the old days,” the unanimous Hawaii Supreme Court ruling issued Wednesday said, borrowing a quote from season four, episode three of the HBO series to express that the culture from the founding of the country shouldn’t dictate contemporary life.

Now, I don’t want to get into the gun control issue again, or indeed why – in the current climate – governments would be trying so hard to disarm their civilian population. A different issue for a different article.

I also don’t want to repeat the argument that attacking the 2nd Amendment is about attacking the Constitution as a whole, as demonstrated by quotes like this:

“”As the world turns, it makes no sense for contemporary society to pledge allegiance to the founding era’s culture, realities, laws, and understanding of the Constitution,”

I just want to point out how far society has fallen when judges and legal scholars are using pop-culture references rather than legal precedents to make their arguments. Clown world is here.

3. Taylor’s Inevitable Superbowl Win

Today is Superbowl Sunday, and that’s always an interesting day to spot messaging (subliminal or otherwise) in the Superbowl ads as well as on the field.

And this year Taylor Swift will be there, just like she’s been everywhere else.

The same year she coincidentally became the biggest star in the world she coincidentally started “dating” a football player, who is coincidentally a Pfizer spokesman, and whose team coincidentally made it to the Superbowl.

And when that team coincidentally wins and Taylor coincidentally gets to kiss her Pfizer-sponsored boyfriend in front of the biggest TV audience of the year, it will be just one big coincidence.

As political scientist Richard Bensell told ABC News:

“If you were trying to design a public relations campaign or situation that would maximise her appeal to the American electorate and to her fan base, you couldn’t do better,”

Quite. And not many seem to be putting 2 and 2 together on this.

I have no idea what the purpose of this “let’s make everyone talk about Taylor Swift everywhere all the time for a year” project is, or what and/or who she sold her soul to create it, but it’s damn weird.

Some say it’s about endorsing Biden, but elections are rigged so that’s pointless.

Maybe she’s going to run for President.

BONUS: Warning sign of the week

“Climategate” scientist Michael Mann won a 12-year-long legal battle this week. In 2012 Mann’s work was called fraudulent by two journalists writing for the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Review respectively, Mann sued for defamation and this week was awarded $1 million in damages by a jury.

It’s an interesting piece of timing for a 12-year battle to end, given the current…climate (pun very much intended).

The Guardian article covering the case closes with a quote from Mann:

“I hope this verdict sends a message that falsely attacking climate scientists is not protected speech,”

That’s a potentially worrying sign.

It’s not all bad…

I dunno, maybe it is all that bad.

Here’s some music:


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention resurgent calls for an EU Army or potential social media bans.

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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