Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Jour-J

Tomorrow the Reich has promised to again respect a handful of rights that it had lately treated as forbidden privileges, such as being able to go to a store or restaurant. The 7 PM curfew will be pushed to 9 PM. Movie theaters, live theaters, and museums will reopen. The Eiffel Tower is supposed to reopen on June 16, after a nine-month hiatus. Disneyland is supposed to reopen on June 19. Hotels will be open from what I understand, but I don’t know where they will find customers.

No word on when mask mandates will be lifted, if ever.

We shall see how this first day of fewer restrictions on fundamental freedoms will work out. I don’t personally go to theaters or restaurants, so I won’t really be affected by most of these changes, but public excitement appears to be building, as usual, or at least that’s the impression the media seem to be trying to create.

Roofless Notre-Dame
For the first day or perhaps longer, I suspect that restaurants will be occupied by all the problem drinkers, and then increasingly by normal people thereafter. There may be a lot of shopping, too, with all retailers and shopping centers now open after months or a year or more of inactivity. As for myself, I’ll continue with my routine, to which I’ve adapted.

• • •

In other news … the plaza in front of Notre-Dame has been closed again, due to high levels of lead again being detected. The fire at Notre-Dame two years ago melted and burned away its 300-ton lead roof, which resulted in some light lead residues in the  neighborhood. With the hysterical overreaction that is a hallmark of our times, the entire area was sealed off for a while. Now the plaza is blocked off again, until further cleanup can be carried out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Promises, Promises

Well, the government has lately been mumbling about restoring the freedoms that they illegitimately canceled more than a year ago, and about gradually allowing the peons over whose liberties they’ve run roughshod to gradually crawl back with respectfully bowed heads to a more normal life. Ostensibly this is because the heroic and unerring efforts of the Dear Leaders of society have saved us all from the near-apocalypse of the Deadly Virus pandemic. The reality, I think, is however somewhat different.

First, this magnanimous gesture serves as a bone thrown to the masses as a reward for their obedience and submission.

Second, the natives are increasingly restless. It seems that, more and more, they are comparing what they’re being told with what is actually happening; and as the hysteria—and the hypnotically compelling effect it exerts—begins to show signs of weakening in consequence, more and more people brazenly question the restrictions imposed by the Reich and come closer and closer to just chucking them all in massive civil disobedience.

Third, I daresay that, even as impaired in their reasoning as the powers that be apparently are, they must realize that the scary Deadly Virus theater cannot extend its 14-month run for eternity; and finding a way to bring down the final curtain gracefully—without actually admitting what a farce it was from the start—must begin somewhere.

And so the government has made known its ridiculously complex plan for allowing the proles to throw off their chains between now and the end of June. In the best tradition of French bureaucracy, it is awash with pages of dates, figures, and other arbitrary details and constraints—none of them supported by any type of science, of course. I haven’t been able to summon the patience to read this plan in its entirety, but I note that reopening of restaurants, museums, gyms, and some other businesses (but not discotheques) is mentioned, for specific dates—with all sorts of limits, naturally.

The good old days
We shall see whether the government sticks to these promises on this round. Whatever happens, I’m sure the government will take credit for all good news, and will blame all bad news on all those hordes of disobedient, retarded everyday citizens who refuse to obey every command they are given with all their hearts and souls.

 • • •

Meanwhile, back at the Palais Bourbon … the French National Assembly has rejected a plan by the goverment to create a “vaccination pass” that would be required for travel and for admittance to certain other venues under vaguely specified circumstances. It’s the vagueness that made the Assembly wary. I hope this means that members of the Assembly are regenerating the backbones that they’ve resorbed over the past year. Even so, I suspect they’ll cave soon enough. The pass will take the form of a QR code; I guess yellow stars are technically passé these days.

 • • •

I’m still looking for work, after being laid off late last year by my employer, who was faced with an 80% loss in revenue due to Deadly Virus hysteria. I submit applications but nobody replies. And I wonder how I’d get to an interview or job, anyway, since my physical condition has deteriorated dramatically after over a year of sitting at home and it’s hard to walk more than a short distance. That’s a consequence of the DVH, too.

(Note: I don’t call the DV by name because anyone who doesn’t toe the party line precisely with respect to it risks being forcibly silenced. Orwell’s prophetic novel, 1984, entered the public domain not long ago, and it seems to have been taken as a model for public policy now as well.) 

I keep busy with job searching, along with small, sedentary projects in my chosen fields of  IT, graphics, and audio-visual arts. It’s unfortunate that nobody seems willing to pat for any of the latter.

The weather has remained generally excellent. The days when I could go for long walks seem far away, even though they were only a bit over a year ago.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The More Paris Changes

Not much to report lately. Paris is largely in suspended animation, still mostly paralyzed by hysteria over the Deadly Virus. A third lockdown is in effect, although it is more bureaucracy than substance this time. The streets are not as deserted as the were during the first lockdown. There are still no tourists, however.

Some major hotels are laying off staff. Fauchon, next to the Madeleine, is closing that iconic store and others (its major competitor, Hédiard, went out of business several years ago). Disneyland is still closed, but has converted one building into a giant vaccination center. Most places are closed, in fact, this being imposed by the lockdown. Hairdressers (but not beauty salons in general) and barbers are allowed to remain open for this round, for some reason. The Louvre and other museums are closed. The Eiffel Tower is closed. Shopping centers are closed (I think—it’s hard to keep up). And schools are a mess, with policies changing daily. Each lockdown is more complex and absurd and bureaucratic than its predecessor.

Everyone must still wear a mask everywhere. There is a push to get everyone vaccinated; I suppose at some point everyone refusing vaccination will be rounded up and shot. About 30,000 people a day test positive for the virus; at that rate, the entire country will be contaminated … in six years. And with the current mortality, everyone in France will be dead in just six centuries.

You still need your “papers” to go outside, and there’s still a curfew at 7 PM. But with shops and restaurants still closed (except for take-away and delivered meals), there aren’t many places to go. The weather in Paris is excellent—as it usually is in April—but there’s no easy way to profit from it.

On a recent visit to the Champs-Élysées running errands, I noticed more people out and about than during the first lockdown; and considering that they’re all locals—tourists are still conspicuously absent—I guess it was a reasonable crowd. A fair amount of vehicular traffic, too, although less than normal (insofar as I can still remember what “normal” was like).

I’d like to shoot more videos for my YouTube channel, but with the city currently resembling a wax museum, topics are in short supply. I suppose I could document stores closing and going out of business. In the past year there has been an uptick in gang violence n Paris which is unusual … but everything happening these days seems to be unusual. Strikes, demonstrations, gun violence, virus hysteria, hysterical reactions to relatively trivial events: it’s all very strange, a bit surreal.

I should try to document the newly renovated place de la République, place de la Bastille, and place d’Italie, but with so much hysteria and uncertainty these days, it’s logistically challenging. I have a very long list of things t do when and if society ever returns to normal. I haven’t even had my hair cut in almost two years and it’s down to my shoulders.

The artists are disappearing from the famous square at the top of Montmartre, the place du Tertre. Already, 80% of the square has been taken over by tourist-trap restaurants (currently closed, but their terraces are still there), and another 25 artists’ spots have been removed to make room for still more restaurant terraces. A famous, huge wisteria tree near the square (place du Calvaire) has been cut down by the city, too, raising a local outcry—but trees do get old and sometimes sick and must occasionally be replaced. This 129-year-old tree was dying, so it had to go. When you look at the trees on the boulevard Clichy or the square du Vert-Galant, you see how quickly they can grow to a large size, so it’s not that big a deal to have to cut one down from time to time.

The Reich is now mumbling again about resuming the respect of civil liberties. It has mentioned gradually reopening society starting this month. But policies change daily and promises ring hollow.