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I thought things could not get any sadder, but that was before I turned on the radio: the crisis industry this morning was zoos. It is not really an industry, in the classic or even the Marxist sense (half the workers are the means of production, yet would you experience that as empowerment, if you were in a cage?), but it’s a thing. Even if you don’t agree with zoos and think bears belong in their natural habitat, I am sure you will still agree that the industry needs to be supported through dark times, that you can’t let the animals perish because no one is visiting them. Likewise, the wedding venues, the fashion houses, the drinking dens that didn’t get lively until 10pm, the clubs, the theatres.
Some industries were much faster than others to bring their crisis to life in the public imagination: there has barely been a peep out of fashion, yet I think about theatres and the rats eating through the velvet most days. The desperate pleas of events managers have surfaced only this week, while restaurateurs have made a case against curfews so solid that it would take a heart of stone (or, failing that, a Conservative government) to ignore them. But when you are all equally screwed, it is not a competition.
There remains, in public life, a rich seam of puritanism that you notice only when times are so bleak that you could really do without it. A sense that frivolity is immoral, even if it is 95% of your economy; a feeling that they had it coming, all those people dedicating their lives to the generation of fun. Puritans tend not to announce their disapproval except in the most roundabout ways, so you can rarely pin it on them. But standing on the precipice of a year that ends without dancing, bears, dancing bears, playhouses, ale houses, music or Christmas, all I can think of is how happy Oliver Cromwell would have been. It is like all his cancelled Christmases come at once. He would be dancing (not dancing) in his grave.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: No dancing, no pubs, no zoos, no Christmas: this pandemic is heaven for puritans | World news