Responses to coronavirus appear directly connected to cultural history

I have an interest in history. There are some things history can’t explain, but history can be helpful.

I also have an interest in how language is used. I have an interest in language usage. By way of example, I’m interested in how power at times speaks its own language whereby up is down, in is out, and large is small.

Sweden’s cultural history

The relationship between Sweden’s cultural history and its response to the current pandemic is of interest, as is language usage that revolves around the term ‘Swedish exceptionalism.’

When I read about death tolls, I keep in mind that the numbers can be quite approximate; in some cases, deaths may be undercounted.

Some recent links of interest include:

April 27, 2020 CNN: “Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story.”

April 27, 2020 Euronews: “Sweden’s coronavirus strategy: Is the older generation paying the price?”

April 28, 2020 Vox: “Has Sweden found the best response to the coronavirus? Its death rate suggests it hasn’t. Sweden’s coronavirus death toll is worse than America’s but better than New York City’s.”

April 29, 2020 Politico: “Swedish leader defends coronavirus approach, shrugs off far-right embrace: Foreign Minister Ann Linde says the country’s response has been pragmatic, not libertarian.”

April 29, 2020 Slate: “I Just Came Home to Sweden. I’m Horrified by the Coronavirus Response Here.”

April 29, 2020 Euronews: “Sweden’s coronavirus exceptionalism will not be remembered favourably by Europe ǀ View.”

Governance history and cultural history

Governance history and cultural history are interconnected, but it can serve a purpose to treat them separately. Among the general themes that come to mind is that governance history in many jurisdictions has given rise to a lack of funding for long term care for the elderly.

In some jurisdictions, however, for reasons related to regional or national history, funding and management of long term care has been exemplary. In some cases, leadership has been of the highest quality.

April 14, 2020 CBC: “Advocates wonder why long-term care COVID warnings were ignored: Deadly crisis ‘foreseen’ in patchwork system with known weaknesses.”

April 29, 2020 Stat: “We need the real CDC back, and we need it now.”

April 29, 2020 Stat: “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funds Bay Area effort to track coronavirus as the economy reopens.”

April 29, 2020 CBC: “‘Absolutely could have been avoided’: How one nursing home director’s fast actions may have saved lives: This care home has no COVID-19 deaths. Another one nearby has 39 deaths. Why?”

April 29, 2020 Reuters: “City demolitions expose Ethiopian families to coronavirus.”

I’ve been following the case of health researcher Eva Lee with interest

April 29, 2020 Science: “Georgia Tech researcher pays a high price for mismanaging an NSF grant.”

How we make sense of the world is always of interest

I like to read about topics such as Celtic legends and Norse mythology as they concern themselves with the human quest to make sense of things. Theories about how the universe works are similarly of huge interest for me.

Oct. 15, 2014 Quanta: “At the Far Ends of a New Universal Law: A potent theory has emerged explaining a mysterious statistical law that arises throughout physics and mathematics.”

Georgia’s response to COVID-19 is a reflection of Georgia’s governance/cultural history

April 29, 2020 Atlantic: “Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice: The state is about to find out how many people need to lose their lives to shore up the economy.”

On a broader scale, what is happening in the United States and the United Kingdom as it relates to COVID-19 is readily understandable if a person is tuned into the cultural history of each country.

Atlantic Monthly’s take on what COVID-19 entails

April 29, 2020 Atlantic: “Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing.”

The Festival Theatre, designed by architect Robert Fairfield in close consultation with the Stratford Festival board of directors and theatre staff, was awarded the Vincent Massey Gold Medal for Architecture in 1958. The theatre features a thrust stage. Jaan Pill photo

Recasting History (2015)

I am highly impressed with a review of Recasting History (2015) that appears in Canadian Literature.

I’ve written about Recasting History (2015) previously including at a post entitled:

Recasting History (2019) features well-researched, clearly written analysis of CBC television’s depictions of Canadian history

I came across the book when I was researching an article for the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario about the history of the Stratford Festival. In terms of my own interests, it’s among the most valuable books about history that I’ve encountered.

Tom Patterson Theatre Centre construction site on parkland along the Avon River in Stratford: view looking south from Lakeside Drive east of Waterloo Street South. The theatre features a thrust stage. Jaan Pill photo


I have a strong interest in the views of documentary maker Peter Watkins regarding how news and entertainment are delivered:

Canadian Literature (a quarterly) highlights “Recasting History: How CBC Television Has Shaped Canada’s Past” (2019); at this post I also discuss Peter Watkins’ take on film language

Life is frequently but not invariably about hierarchy, about dominance and submission, as in the story of the British empire, Russian empire, Napoleonic empire, and American empire.

History is frequently the message of the current hierarchy, the expression of current dominances and power structures. It is also, depending on circumstances, the expression of other voices.

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