Pandemical Discourses 2: weekly digest- ‘All that Hankering…’

Pandemical Discourses: your weekly digest
9th April 2020
A Pandemic, Conflict and Options for Justice for Victims of the Syrian Conflict by Shannon Maree Torrens
18th April 2020


All that hankering after Vera Lyn and the Queen of England, wartime spirit and Johnson with his ‘ancient inalienable rights of a free born people’ on the corona-telly really is enough to make every one of us sick. So here’s a solid and much needed crit from Fintan O’Toole, journalist and indomitable seeker after truth from a country with its own national press. These rights are, O‘Toole points out, only factually ‘ancient’ in this nationalist scheme of things, for the English, or, put in cruder terms, the ‘Anglo Saxons’ –shame Scotland’s regionals are too feart to engage with the obvious sometimes… (but then there are other agendas here …) ( Fintan O’Toole – Guardian – Myth of British Exceptionalism Exposed )

And just to further lance the delusion-pustule, The Byline Times have put together a succinct, and useful timeline of decisions taken – and those not – by the UK government.  The accounting here is hostile, to be sure – but the facts presented have an inalienable – perhaps even unavoidable – quality all of their own  (Ian Sinclair and Rupert Read – A National Scandal ( )              

Indeed, ‘Fact’ in all its hard, grim, granite construction has made a surprising comeback against the deep-faked, post-truth spirit of 2020. And it has proved vengeful in its judgements. We are now, all of us, its prisoners. Jailed for two decades, now a criminal justice advocate , Jennifer Toon offers guidance to the fresh meat eyeing up the notional prison yard (Jennifer Toon – Guardian – I was in prison for two decades, here’s what I learned about Isolation’ ) The actual, factual prison yard is of course, far worse than mere lockdown. Toon is also staffer for the Marshall Project, a collective of journalists (many ex-cons) who are carefully documenting the effects of COVID on America’s prison population – and yes, those facts are indeed grim, and unforgiving. (The Marshall Project )

And when those hard facts make you sick in heart and body, then you can always turn your google to France and Spain, where the virus seems to be taken not just seriously, but as a provocation to ponderings on humanity, the world, history, philosophy, porn …

Paul B. Preciado, Spanish writer, philosopher and commentator, author of Testo Junkie, extends the concept of the regime of the pharmacopornographic to see the effect of the virus as an expansion and intensification of biopolitics in the EU from the isolation of non-european peoples outside the zone to operations on populations within it too. In her/his powerful piece ( Paul Preciado -Opinion – El Pais – Apprendiendo del Virus ) in the Spanish daily El Pais an historical connection between community and immunity is drawn to show how, in effect, we get the plagues we wish for, and the only way towards cure in this community is via major political transformation.

And for those of us who don’t have Castilian Spanish –or can’t be bothered with Google translate – here’s a very much more personal piece from Preciado on the experience of the virus at home in Paris:( –Paul Preciado -The Losers Conspiracy )

But if you can’t be bothered with continental philosophisers either, and if you’re not a loser and have got plenty money, then sure, there might be other ways to really engage with the French…( Guardian – French Turn Back British Holidaymakers )