'don't you come near me, "cap" stubbs!'
April 5, 2020 11:13 PM   Subscribe

Relevant: 1919 Influenza Blues by Essie Jenkins.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:01 AM on April 6, 2020

Iconic Australian newspaper comic Ginger Meggs has incorporated the COVID shutdowns starting here - Ginger is lucky enough to attend a school that has voluntarily closed down, as the australian prime minister refuses to shut down schools nationwide. (In a what-state-is-Springfield-in moment, this confirms that Meggs is not South Australian, as it's the only state where school is currently still mandatory.)
posted by BiggerJ at 4:07 AM on April 6, 2020

Of the few comics I follow, today's Pearls Before Swine has been the first to reference the COVID-19 outbreak.
posted by ckape at 7:53 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Relevant: 1919 Influenza Blues by Essie Jenkins.
Well it was God's almight plan
He was judging this old land
North and south, east and west
It can be seen
It killed the rich, killed the poor
It's gonna kill just a little more
If you don't turn away from the shame
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:29 AM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

I used to enjoy reading the daily paper from a hundred years ago at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov; this option pops up on the landing page. As the pandemic crackdown increased, I started looking to read papers from the most severe periods of the Spanish flu, such as October of 1918.

It was amazing how strong the censorship was. There were public notices where necessary, of course, and some ads for patent medicines, but the news we take for granted today was suppressed in favor of war bulletins and Washington and murders and anything else in the world. This was the war effort, of course, but it must have been absolutely surreal at the time. A few days ago I saw a picture of an avenue just behind where I live now--in 1918, it was an open-air field hospital for flu patients, lined with tents and with cots where patients lay outside. If it was summer, this was probably just as well, and back in the day they considered that sunshine was the best disinfectant, but it was plain grass and a dirt road nonetheless. Imagine seeing that on your way to work and going on regardless.

Possibly one knock-on effect of this censorship is that there was no useful public recollection of the flu pandemic, nothing that would lodge it in the American consciousness on the level of the war. If young people had grown up learning and talking about it, would public health be better today? (But then, possibly not. Republican Boomers grew up with the threat of polio, and they nonetheless treated the CDC the way they have.)
posted by Countess Elena at 1:23 PM on April 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

My great-grandmother died in Philadelphia from the flu, when my grandfather was only a year old. He always said it ruined his life, because his father re-married a woman he didn't get along with. he lied about his age and joined the Navy at 16 to get away from home. His father and uncles had to dig a grave for her because the graveyards were too full of bodies. Influenza has always been part of our family mythology and it's been very distressing for me to hear people minimize it as 'just the flu'.

Then again I still had to have a couple of serious talks with my Mom to get her to stop going to Tai Chi so YMMV.
posted by bq at 9:22 AM on April 7, 2020 [4 favorites]

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