From Valuing a Degree in Gender Studies to Valuing a Job at the Supermarket: COVID-19 Has Changed Things Overnight

JUST YESTERDAY a university degree in gender studies was valuable. Today a job at the supermarket is valuable.

Yesterday a share portfolio was prized. Today a stash of toilet paper, hidden away in a bathroom cupboard, is prized.

Yesterday all a woman wanted was Chanel. Today all a woman wants is hand sanitizer.

Yesterday we dreamed of taking a holiday in Italy. Today we just hope the Government will let us out of our homes.

Yesterday we dreamed of being CEO of a major corporation so as to dominate the business world. Today we dream of hosting a Zoom meeting so as to mute everybody.

Yesterday we aspired to live in a trendy apartment in a major city like New York. Today we envy people who live in the middle of nowhere, far from anything and anyone.

Yesterday manufacturing was unimportant because the Chinese did it all for us. Today grey and grimy local factories would be a source of community pride.

Yesterday public transport was for everybody. Today everybody wants to travel in their own car, if at all.

Yesterday teaching our children to be LGBTQ allies was a priority at school. Today we are worried about how to teach our children numeracy and literacy skills at home.

Yesterday we never thought about Communism because China was sending us cheap stuff we couldn’t live without. Today we recognise Communism for the evil that it is because China sent us a virus that could kill us all.

Yesterday we understood that transnational organisations like the United Nations and the European Union were the hope of world peace and security. Today we understand that it’s every nation for itself.

Yesterday the World Health Organisation was trusted to warn us if a weird flu-like bug popped up 10,000km away. Today we don’t trust anyone but our local GP.

Yesterday food magically appeared on supermarket shelves. Today we are suddenly aware that someone has to grow it and harvest it and process it and package it and deliver it.

Yesterday we were in awe of beautiful celebrities who told us how to be virtuous like them, if only we had their life. Today we are in awe of non-descript truck drivers who spend all night at the wheel getting pasta and flour to our local store.

Yesterday universities boasted that huge numbers of international students gave them diversity. Today diversity doesn’t necessarily seem to be an inherent good.

Yesterday there was nowhere better to be than aboard a cruise ship with a thousand other people. Today there is nowhere better to be than at home with your family.

Yesterday dress sense was incredibly important. Today the top doesn’t need to match the bottom and the shoes are completely irrelevant, provided I get the webcam angle just right.

Yesterday what was hailed as genius was actually madness. Today what had been dismissed as madness is clearly genius.

Covid-19 – Sorting the wheat from the chaff since January 2020

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