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The Myth of American Exceptionalism

Last night I listened to the audible version of N.K. Jemisin’s Emergency Skin, eerily and perfectly narrated by Jason Isaacs. I highly recommend it. But it hit close to home with our current crisis. Highlighting what happens when a small group of greedy people hoard all the wealth and power and the damage that does to the population at large. Like these jerks:

A medical device manufacturer has threatened to sue a group of volunteers in Italy that 3D printed a valve used for life-saving coronavirus treatments.

The valve typically costs about $11,000 — the volunteers made them for about $1. The volunteers should be celebrated, not punished. But individualism is the enemy of public health. Also on blast? All of these companies trying to operate business as usual and sending out their regularly scheduled marketing emails. Like I’m gonna book travel or buy that new Spring outfit right now. So many have already lost their jobs and those of us who still have work don’t know if we will after this all shakes out. Worse yet, the companies trying to market using the pandemic in some shady kind of way. And the non-essential businesses forcing their employees to go to the office anyhow, even when their work could be done remotely. That is definitely not flattening the curve. And many have called this out but grocery store workers - who are now critical infrastructure - should be paid and provided with benefits in a way that reflects that.

As discouraged as I’m feeling, I want to shout out some positives.

  • People Are Fighting the Coronavirus With Mutual Aid Efforts to Help Each Other
    An explosion of mutual aid networks is happening online. Like this, from Bandcamp: Supporting Artists During the Covid-19 Pandemic

    To raise even more awareness around the pandemic’s impact on musicians everywhere, we’re waiving our revenue share on sales this Friday, March 20 (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time), and rallying the Bandcamp community to put much needed money directly into artists’ pockets.

  • Calm suggests we Take a Deep Breath and offers up some of their resources at no cost.

    Without a doubt, many of us are feeling anxious as we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19. We’re feeling it too, and we wanted to share some of the tools we’re using to take care of our minds and stay grounded.

  • Other wellness articles are popping up for people new to working from home.
  • As theaters shutter nationwide, major studios are going straight to streaming
  • Hoping to participate in this Quarantine Book Club.
  • Netflix Party is a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.”
  • I am working on limiting my news intake. Drinking from the firehose does me no good. Now more than ever there’s got to be a balance between being informed and fixating on every new piece of awful information. I’ve found The Daily podcast from the New York Times to be very helpful.

At least I’m sheltering in place with my son. Things are particularly uncertain for him. But he is handling this with more grace than I could have hoped for, though he is obviously feeling down. His classes may be resuming online in April but it’s still unknown. I’m trying to find a way to help him structure his days while I continue working. I have tried Agile / Kanban with him in the past but it didn’t take. A former co-worker put this guide together, with her kids now at home, so our household is going to take another crack at it.

St Patrick’s Day selfie

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