In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘The horror films got it wrong’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Wednesday 1 April

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. George Monbiot in The Guardian

on community action

The horror films got it wrong. This virus has turned us into caring neighbours

“Instead of turning us into flesh-eating zombies, the pandemic has turned millions of people into good neighbours.There is no guarantee that this resurgence of collective action will survive the pandemic. We could revert to the isolation and passivity that both capitalism and statism have encouraged. But I don’t think we will. I have the sense that something is taking root now, something we have been missing: the unexpectedly thrilling and transformative force of mutual aid.”

2. Kevin Courtney in The Irish Times

on a world-weary public

No April Fool jokes please, we are not in the mood

“Today is April Fool’s Day, and no doubt many of us woke up this morning hoping it would all turn out to be a bad joke. Maybe someone would arrive at our door and, instead of wearing PPE, they’d be wearing an ‘I’m with Stupid’ T-Shirt and a big grin, and informing us that Donald Trump was right all along: the whole coronavirus thing was a big, fat Democrat hoax, and we all got suckered in. That the whole pandemic story was lifted from some obscure Dean Koontz novel (1981’s The Eyes of Darkness, to be precise), and, as happened with that Orson Welles War of the Worlds radio broadcast, we all mistook fiction for reality and got ourselves into a Covid-19 lather.”

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3. William J. Bennett and Seth Leibsohn on RealClearPolitics

on perspective in the time of Covid

Time for a second opinion

“Each death is a tragedy and horrible, but the chance of it is also very small, depending on if you contract the virus and what your age and underlying medical conditions are. Will the numbers be much bigger than our annual rate of flu deaths? Already this year we have lost 24,000 to the flu and expect that number to rise at least another 24,000, probably more. Coronavirus deaths at half the flu number would also be much smaller than our annual rate of opioid overdose deaths - 46,802 - or annual deaths due to motor vehicle crashes, 33,654. For none of these problems - some anthropogenic and due to acts of volition, some caused by nature - have we or do we change, literally, everything, from stay in shelter orders and travel bans to the shuttering of almost all retail and service businesses.”

4. Sultan Barakat in Al Jazeera

on a tenuous agreement

Afghanistan’s peace process is in danger of unravelling

“Those of us who witnessed United States officials and Taliban representatives shake hands on February 29, 2020, were inspired by the political will for peace that we witnessed. Yet many of us have also recognised the inevitable difficulties in implementing the agreement concluded in Doha. But what we could not have anticipated was the two crises which would simultaneously threaten to derail the entire Afghan peace process: the Afghan presidential election dispute and the Covid-19 pandemic.”

5. Rohina Katoch Sehra in HuffPost

on ageism

Women are leaning in and loving their gray hair like never before

“In films and on TV, ageist casting is rife ― silver-haired women are either gummy grannies or washed-out women set up for a second sexual wind. Increasingly, they are villains like Narcissa Malfoy (Helen McCrory in the Harry Potter movies) and Alma Coin (Julianne Moore in The Hunger Games), their hair visual affirmation of their frosty, amoral personas and dysfunctional inner lives. Occasionally they are flat, sexless, oracular or quasi-authority figures like M (Dame Judi Dench in the James Bond films) and Nova Prime (Glenn Close in Guardians of the Galaxy), placed firmly outside the humanizing influences of family and friendships and defined exclusively by their solitariness.”

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