Boccaccio placed his ten Florentines in lockdown, where they filled their many idle hours with tales of this, that, and the other thing — indeed, quite a lot of the other thing, which is why a scandalised Vatican placed his book on its ledger of proscribed texts and kept it there until scholars produced bowdlerised versions some 200 years later. Today, rather than the prudence of individuals surveying their situations and making decisions accordingly, it is authoritarian edict and the constabulary’s fines that have consigned all Australians to the enforced isolation of their homes.
Still, the right to tell stories remains so far untrammelled, and Quadrant Online readers and contributors have some to share. From today, on an irregular basis, we’ll be posting brief and dispatches from all over. Contributions are invited and should be sent to Decameron.Diary@gmail.com
This post will be updated as fresh epistles arrive, either via the email address above or, when relevant, lifted from our subscriber-only comment threads.
The Wuhan virus, we are told, is subject to mutations, making the task of producing a vaccine that can block an ever-changing target a difficult exercise indeed. What doesn’t seem capable of change is the advertising industry’s mustering of the closest-to-hand cliches, as Quadrant contributor Christopher Heathcote observed when he passed along the video below.
Currency Lad (via Catallaxy) shares a snapshot of Dan Andrews’ Victoria:
There being no Catholic prelates to stitch up just at the moment, lawyers to repurpose as informers against their clients or photos to be leaked of prominent sporting personalities in embarrassing attire, Victoria Police was able to muster eight officers to quiz a homeless individual in a Melbourne park. Look closely at the picture and notice how the officers are keeping the regulation 1.5 metres’ distance from the object of their inquiries.
Also note VicPol’s apparently belief that the Wuhan virus cannot move sideways.
Tezza writes from the national capital:
There are worse places to find ways around Covid-19 restrictions than Canberra, where sunshine and plenty of open space for exercise and recreation have helped drive daily new infections and hospitalised patient numbers to zero. Amazingly, the local government has stuck to the bare bones of the agreed social distancing and home arrest rules. As surprisingly, the rules have been policed with remarkable restraint by the ACT Police. There has been little of the abuse of police discretion reported in NSW and Victoria, but plenty of curtain-twitchers complaining of illicit parties and a few cases of police advising people to move on rather than sit and drink their take away coffees, but few if any fines.
However the ACT education system’s limitations occasionally display themselves, as in the first sign (above) displayed in a typically bucolic setting where it would be practically unimaginable to contract Covid-19. The photos were taken about April 8. Somebody must have pointed out the problems with the first sign, which had been replaced by the second version (below) by April 23.
Ah well, my municipal rates at work …..
Shoshanna Silcove writes:
Any discussion of a solution to the Corona crisis that minimizes or ignores the enormous impact of an economic halt on human life, is short sighted, unserious, foolish, and shallow. We live in an extremely complicated and interdependent socio-economic structure. Any artificial interference or halt to our socio-economic activity has a huge domino effect and directly impacts human lives.
It is interesting to note that the vast majority of people who are calling for economic cessation are not at risk of losing their livelihoods, businesses, homes, or of starving to death. In such circumstances it is very easy to be flippant about closing down the economy because such people believe they are not affected by it (although they very well might be down the line but are in denial of that fact presently ).
The meme of “lives before money” is media driven virtue signaling that makes one sound so noble but, is in reality foolish and selfish because it neglects to take into account the many millions of lives that will be ruined or destroyed by economic devastation. There are myriad of examples of this devastation to human life that are occurring with increased frequency daily, so much so that it is quite apparent to all except those in denial that the Corona virus is far less a threat to human life than the economic devastation that is being forced upon us as its cure.
Retired blogger Professor Bunyip stirred from the murky depths of his billabong last week and sent this note to Quadrant Online. I’m pasting it here for the information of those curious about just how far and how broadly Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ agents are interpreting his instruction to keep the populace in line.– rf
The Bunyip writes:
Last week as an experiment I called Premier Dan’s dobber line (13 14 44) and told the voice on the other end that I had just returned from a Subway franchise, where I heard a fellow customer mouthing off while I waited for my sandwich to be built. I told my hotline interlocutor that this “anti-social hooligan element” was loudly saying the Premier is both a crook and an incompetent, a man whose Keystone Kops couldn’t even frame a cardinal properly, and the fact that he won’t reveal the terms of the Belt-and-Road agreement he has struck with Beijing suggests he should register as a foreign agent.
Well, the fellow on the phone was more than interested. He said those words “could be construed as a threat against the Premier” and asked me to stay on the line while he transferred me to a detective who would take down details of the hooligan’s licence plate etc.
Not wanting to break the law and waste VicPol’s time (surely there are speeding fines to be handed out) by formally filing a false report, I rang off at that point. But the lesson could not be more clear: watch your liberties, one and all. The person presiding over Victoria does not respect them in the least.
Elizabeth Beare writes:
As I raise my glass to our future penury, one of my favorite memes, those up-cheering pieces of wit doing the internet rounds to lighten the burden of the incarcerated, is very apt for those of us who use the time productively to practice our one-upmanship:
Actually, it’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarantine Region of France; otherwise it’s just *Sparkling Isolation*.
Of course it is.
A modest subscriber:
A friend, heading across Melbourne to reclaim some loaned tools and share dinner with an old schoolmate and his wife, was stopped by police and quizzed about why he was so far from home, VicPol having the ability to scan licence plans and determine the driver’s address. Not fancying a $1600 fine, he whipped up a quick lie to the effect that he was en route to a (non-existent) girlfriend, concupiscent contact being one of the few joys still allowed Victorians. The officer smiled, no doubt having heard this line before, and asked to see a picture of the purported squeeze.
“Actually, officer, I don’t have one because (embarrassed pause) she’s not actually my girlfriend.”
“The truth is she’s my mate’s wife and he’s away in his truck.”
Whether or not this represented a breach of the lockdown laws remains moot, because the policeman slapped the roof and sent him on his way.