The greatest enemy of authority, therefore, is contempt, and the surest way to undermine it is laughter.
— Hannah Arendt, born in 1906
"It makes absolutely no difference whether gods and devils exist or not. The secret ambition of every true poem is to ask about them even as it acknowledges their absence."
—Charles Simic ("Charles the Obscure")
Today, for the first time for over thirty years, I don’t have an employer. This is because I decided to retire rather than to face the unwelcome choice between online teaching and exposing myself to COVID in the classroom. I think, in fact, that I didn’t have enough “points” to get an exemption from face-to-face, despite being nearly 62 and having high blood pressure. Oh well, the issue is now moot. I shall miss being around students, chatting to them, helping them and getting the buzz that you get from a good classroom discussion. I won’t miss reading and marking student essays and exams though. Not one bit. I hope I’ve done a good job over the years, even though I feel I only learnt to teach well in the past decade (thanks to the direct and indirect influence of Harry).
Fast Company – This new data visualization shows the tremendous impact on mental health over the next decade. “More than 200,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19, and even that doesn’t paint a full picture of the tragedy. The data visualization firm Periscopic has created a heartbreaking new series of interactive graphics called “Lifelines” that attempt to provide a more comprehensive look. They illustrate the effects that COVID-19 and the resulting economic recession have on mental health—showing that, ultimately, COVID-19-related fatalities will extend far beyond the official death count.
Foster + Partner – Bruno Moser, Theo Malzieu, Paula Petkova. May 2020: “The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way we live our lives. Significant and long-lasting repercussions will be felt across society and industry, many of which are sure to influence the way we approach the design of our buildings and cities. Over the past few weeks, the Urban Design team at Foster + Partners has been exploring how recent and fast moving developments in urban planning – instigated and encouraged by the current crisis – will affect and shape the future of our home city and others worldwide.
HP Workforce Evolution – Survey Findings, October 2020 – “Despite the hardships office workers are facing during these times, employees believe they can use this disruption to better their ways of working: