We Now Live In A.C. – After Cirona

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If a week is a long time in politics, then a month during a pandemic truly feels like an eternity. Such is the intensity of the coronavirus outbreak that the economist Thomas L Friedman stated in the New York Times “There is the world BC — Before Corona — and the world AC — After Corona. We have not even begun to fully grasp what the AC world will look like.” In the early AC days the American talk show host Stephen Colbert described the situation by saying “We don’t know whether it’s a feather or a brick.” A few weeks later and we know for sure that this, whatever it is, most definitely is not a feather.

Now that we live in the AC era, an era where the anchor of normality is well and truly set adrift, many of us look back in yearning to our BC lives. Writing in the Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi pines “Remember the good old days when supermarket shelves were stocked with toilet paper? Remember when only a few people were familiar with the phrase “social distancing”? Remember when you could cough in public without immediately becoming a pariah? Remember February? I have never been so nostalgic for “normal”. I have never longed so desperately for a dull day.”

This epidemic has increased anxiety levels all round, partly due to the fact that we sit and watch the news more than ever, something I didn’t think possible. Since the advent of President Trump (himself a type of immoral virus) the 24 hours new cycle spews out information at break neck speed. And just when I thought my neck could not be any more broken, along comes the coronavirus speeding up the news cycle exponentially, as noted by Natalie Morris over at the Metro: “The current news cycle looks like the opening montage of an apocalyptic horror movie, and every headline leads on spiralling death counts, panic in the streets and dire warnings from official-looking medical professionals…We are living through a scary moment in history, so if you are feeling anxious, that’s normal.”

Rani Molla over at vox.com pretty much confirms our increased news addiction: “If you feel like you’ve been glued to the news lately, you’re not alone. We’re collectively reading much more news during the novel coronavirus pandemic than normal, according to new publisher traffic data…Page views were up 30 percent last week compared with last year…Overall traffic to news sites has gone up.”

Okay, so we are all scared and we are all watching the news perhaps a little too much. What do we do now? Well, the American satirist Bill Maher has some non-medical advice to help us calm our nerves. According to Maher, we need to focus of the 3 S’s, which are “sugar, stress, and sleep. Get a lot of sleep, don’t have sugar, and don’t stress. Turn off the fucking TV! I haven’t watched the news all week. I get it, we’re in trouble, I don’t need to see it every two minutes. And I think I’ve been sleeping better because of it because, I mean, people are going get it or not.”

Further advice was provided in a letter published in the Metro, which simply suggested how we should all just binge-watch our way out of this: “What about giving the whole world a two-week Netflix holiday and having the government supply us with free popcorn and food delivery? They spend so much on wars I bet they could afford that. It should stop the spread of coronavirus.”

The coronavirus is bringing out the best in humanity, with medical staff working tirelessly around the clock. Some have even lost their lives for their heroic efforts. Unfortunately we’ve also seen the worst, with some profiteering from the outbreak in many different ways. And then you have the weird and wonderful reactions. For example, the Shish Mahal Indian restaurant in Glasgow is offering a free curry to anyone affected by the deadly virus, despite there being no confirmed cases in the city at the time of writing. Good luck delivering that. Not to be outdone, the Maaya Indian Kitchen and Bar in Milton Keynes have said they will give a free toilet roll for purchases over £25. Spend over £80 and you will be treated to two free toilet rolls. One assumes after eating their food you will need them.

The collective reaction to the virus reminded me of something comedian Marc Maron said in his recent Netflix stand-up special End Times Fun, filmed before the epidemic started: “I don’t know what it’s gonna take to get everybody to unite. Haven’t we been entertained enough? Isn’t there something that could bring everyone together and make us just realize that we’ve got to put a stop to almost everything. What would it take? Something terrible. That’s what brings people together. Nothing good. It’s gotta be something bad and big. Get everyone to fucking snap out of this trance. I don’t know what it’ll take. Does the sky have to catch on fire? Would that do it? If we all walked outside and went ‘Oh, we fucked it. Fucking sky’s on fire. God damn it. I knew we were in trouble, but fuck, it made the jump from land to sky. This is bad.’”

Although the sky may not be on fire, at least not yet, it does feel like this virus is the bad and big and terrible thing that is uniting us all. And in an attempt to unite us all a little further, and to take our minds away from the unpleasantness temporarily, please find below several comedic quotes that I hope you will find amusing. Present circumstances persisting, enjoy!

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It’s easy to get depressed or anxious in the world that we’re living in right now. A lot of that is due to Donald Trump. He wants us to fear everything, even Mexicans. He tells us that Mexicans are going to take our jobs. Let me tell you something. Mexicans are not going to take your jobs. Robots are going to take your jobs. And once the robots have all the jobs, trust me, Mexican robots are going to take their jobs. Lazy Mexican robots, sleeping on the factory floor. – Jeff Greenspan

Is Google male or female? Female, because it doesn’t let you finish a sentence before making a suggestion. – Anon

I’ve been married a very long time, over 20 years now. And when you’ve been married this long you get to know each other so well. My husband knows me well. And I know my husband so well at this point that we can have a full blown argument, from start to finish, and he’s not even home. – Sindhu Vee

I’m trying to slim down. I was at the gym today for three hours. I did 45 minutes of Instagram, 1 minute of cardio, then I went to the smoothie bar for the rest of the afternoon. – Jeff Ross

In Texas where I’m from there is a lot of weird Christian Muslim tension. I don’t really understand it because Christianity and Islam are the same thing. Both have one God, both started in the Middle East. Only difference I can think of is that Islam is the one true religion. Besides that they’re pretty much the same thing. Do you guys realize how tough it is that I’m the only one in this room who is going into heaven? You guys seem so nice but rules are rules. – Usama Siddiquee, American stand-up comedian

I was crossing the street in my neighborhood and this guy walked by me, muttering ‘ISIS’ under his breath. So I turned to him and said ‘ALLAH-HU-AKBAR!’ I mean, if you really thought I was a terrorist, would you want to provoke me? – Mariam Sobh

People accuse of me of sneaking references to metal working into my tweets. Well, der. – David Quantick

It’s tough being a man right now. Bruce Jenner got out just in time. – Jeff Ross

I met an American girl. We went on a date. I took her to a Syrian restaurant, because that’s the only place I can afford. I’m like “What would you like to have?” And she’s like “I don’t know, what should I have?” And I’m like “Well there’s shawarma.” She looks at me and says “No, I’m a vegan.” I’m like “What does that mean?” She’s like “We don’t eat meat or chicken.” I’m like “Oh, a vegetarian.” She’s like “No, a vegan. We don’t eat eggs, milk, chicken, yoghurt, or honey.” And I’m like “Oh, a Syrian refugee.” – Omar Mohammad

Since we all love shows about drag queens, and we used to love shows about baby beauty queens, we have to make a show about baby drag queens. We could call it Lil’ Queens. That way when ISIS kills us all at least we’ll deserve it. – Bill Maher, Jun 2019

Hello, my name is Ibrahim. I’m currently a part time Muslim. I don’t pray much, I like to party, and I love pepperoni. But I get stopped and searched at every airport going, so it kind of balances itself out. – Ibrahim Sesay

I never liked my index and middle fingers but I’ve made peace with it. – tweet from Steven W Skinner

I lived in Alabama throughout college. I went to a really small Southern Baptist school where there was no diversity whatsoever. It was 99% white people and me. The closest I got to another Arab there was Jesus. – Atheer Yacoub

The three major religions have a lot in common, and this is just a really small example of something that they all share. And you guys can look this up in the Bible, the Torah, and the Quran. They all talk about heaven the exact same way. They all refer to it as a paradise land flowing with milk and honey. And that’s one small thing we can all agree on, that vegans are going to hell. That’s what I got from that…I have nothing against vegans. In fact some of my best friends are self-righteous. – Atheer Yacoub

Whenever my family would travel to Palestine and back, my parents would always order a kosher meal, even though halal was available. I guess they knew better. Kosher and halal are pretty much the same thing, except when you order a kosher meal they let you back into the country. So just a little tip for you guys, make sure you do that. – Atheer Yacoub

The next best thing to being a doctor is marrying a doctor. After I turned 30 my mom stopped caring what kind of doctor, it could be a doctor of history, a doctor of art. I think if Trump had a medical degree she’d like if “Give him a chance. No man is perfect.” So ever since I turned 30 every year my family reminds me that my biological clock is ticking, I’m getting older, I need to have kids. When my parents first saw that show 16 And Pregnant they were like “That poor girl. Why did she wait so long?” – Atheer Yacoub

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