I was wrong. I thought that the crescendo of hysteria that’s been festering like a planet sized boil in the wake of Trump and Brexit would dissipate once a serious crisis came along. It’s like we’d been massaging a giant zit with lard everyday, kneading around it, aggravating it and daring it to erupt. Our hysteria strayed well beyond the political, of course. Fuelled by the inexorable voltage of social media, the tribes both left and right, grew angrier, louder and scarier every day. By the end of 2019 our communal frenzy had infected our views on gender, race, biology and science itself, trampling across the muddy terrain of truth, then straying further, deeper and dirtier into culture’s slippery mire.
Even Hollywood, our superstar storytellers, seemed to have lost the will to live, offering us little more than yet another regurgitated superhero that we know won’t really come to our rescue.
Then bang, Covid19 arrived. In an odd sort of way, the timing felt right. We knew we were due a dose of punishment for all our sinful excess. Greta had made that clear enough. And it’s a brand spanking new decade after all, the perfect time for a spot of self flagellation. As Spring 2020 broke, tiny green shoots of sanity could be spotted peeping above the gently warming soil. We were all in this together they said, and so we clapped, banged saucepans and awaited our leader’s daily sermon like a family huddled around the wireless during the blitz. Sadly, it’s clear now that what we were enjoying was nothing but the short, harmonious chime you hear when the system reboots.
Lockdown made matters worse. Much worse. Egged on by social media’s relentless needling we took to the streets, raised our fists, smashed a few shop windows, looted a few sneakers and toppled a couple of guano-fied statues. Summer 2020 became an orgy of outrage. We blamed our police for brutality in countries thousands of miles away, blamed the government for doing too much…and too little, too late and too soon, blamed our race and gender, but best of all we blamed our own history for bringing us here in the first place.
And so, here we are in autumn 2020 and as the days darken and the trees turn shades of Trump, it’s clear that the script for the Twenties has been written. We’ve supped on a sickly cocktail of guilt, fear and anger, topped off with a neat, narcissistic slug of entitlement, and it’s left us wary as to where our ship is heading and doubtful as to whether there’s a ship at all.
Please don’t listen to those that tell you this madness will evaporate after the election for the leader of the free world. On the contrary, we can expect months of viscous legal wrangling and prolonged civil unrest to help ring in this decade of uncertainty. The ’twas-ever-thus’ brigade are wrong. Powered by the vitriol of mobile we will endeavour to exacerbate every tiny irritant we can sift from the grains of our existence to cultivate into another calamity. We won’t find peace because we’re simply not ready for it yet. In short, a wave of mass masochism has infected the West.
This is the real killer virus.
Thanks for reading. Now please follow me on Twitter @retailfuturist for more devastating insights into where we’re all heading…