One of the obvious casualties of the coronavirus shutdown is the loss of all sports. No NCAA tournament. No NBA. No NHL. No MLB. No nothing. Because of the immediate health risk to fans, nothing can take place. It has left a void so deep in our lives that ESPN has resorted to showing anything they can to keep fans interesting, including stone skipping, cherry pit spitting, belly flopping, and my personal favorite, “Slippery Stairs.”
But it got Br. Tito and I thinking: why couldn’t sports still be played, even without fans? Just 10 guys on a court, athletes in small numbers spread out on a field. Obviously, there’s a health risk to the athletes, but that’s small. And even more obviously, there’s a financial hit that many would take. But surely there are aways around these things.
No, what we want to suggest is that the reason we have no sports now has nothing to do with the health of the athletes or lost revenue… and everything to do with the importance of the fans. (We’re only partially joking.)
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a drill. Over 160,000 people have been infected worldwide with COVID-19, and more than 6000 people have lost their lives. The total number has doubled in 11 days, and is doing so quicker in the United States. We are in the midst of a pandemic with the worst ahead of us.
Two weeks ago, when there were around 50 cases in the United States, Br. Tito and I thought it might be interesting and relevant to talk about one of our favorite movies, the pandemic thriller Contagion. Yesterday, when we finally recorded the episode, our tone was completely different: the movie was an eery reflection of reality.
As you will see when you listen to the episode, there are many things that the creators got absolutely right about such a situation—where a virus comes form, how it spreads, the process for trying to contain it, the fear that surrounds it. In many ways, it is quite prophetic. And yet, there is one glaring difference between what we see on the screen and what we are seeing in our world today: many people still are not taking the situation seriously. Until yesterday, the President of the United States was shaking hands, saying the situation was under control and refusing to take responsibility his administration’s lack of preparedness; major news network were calling the virus a “hoax.” Many see the measures taken by local government and business leaders as an overreaction and inconvenience. Some are going about their normal lives with a sense of invincibility. While the CDC is stressing social distancing and avoiding crowds of more than 10, it was reported that Florida beaches are packed with tourists and spring break visitors. Right now, this virus is spreading at the same rate right in the United States as it is in Italy, a country, I should point out, that is at the point of collapse.
This is not a drill.
Br. Tito and I offer this podcast today to exhort everyone, especially young people, to take this seriously. Stop acting so selfishly and remember that, as Catholics, we have a responsibility to uphold the common good. We who are under the age of 60 may not have a serious risk of dying from this virus, but we do pose a serious risk to those who are over that age, and we most certainly can push the system over its breaking point by causing a spike in cases.
Wash your hands. Avoid crowds. Stay home.
If you’re looking for something to do, how about prayer? We always say that we don’t have enough for it, so here you go. What about reading a book, studying scripture, or learning more about your faith? (I know a guy on YouTube that has some great videos explaining things…) Maybe spend some time with your family, connect with old friends on the phone, or just catch up on some sleep. What we have before is a tremendous opportunity to take a step back and ground ourselves in what truly matters.
The specific virus in Contagion may be a bit different from what we’re experiencing, but the potential reality is the same: fear and misinformation could lead to a collapse of society. It is a cautionary tale. I suggest we take it seriously.
We like to jump to conclusions. We take a quick look, jog our memory, and move on. It’s not the worst habit to have (it’s a great evolutionary adaptation, actually) but it does leave us drawing incorrect conclusions from time to time.
Such is the case for the movie Knives Out. While most of the characters take a look at the surface and make their judgments, the detective on the case knows that there is more than first appears. He digs deeper and asks more questions because he is not satisfied with the easy answer. He wants to truth.
This week, Br. Tito and I discuss how the movie itself fits the same description. While it appears to be doing one thing and the casual viewer may come to conclusions based on what they see on the surface, there is more to this movie than a simple “who done it”…t
Let’s be honest: the Academy isn’t always the greatest at picking the “best picture.” This year wasn’t one of those years.
If you are like most people and did not see Parasite, I highly recommend going to see it. It is a beautiful, unsettling film about the effects of poverty that do nothing to romanticize the issue. It lifts the curtain on major issues of class without hiding from difficult questions. Not only is it a wonderful film, it is an important point of discussion for us as Catholics who claim to care for the poor.
As usual, our podcast goes through the whole movie with many spoilers, so hold off if you want to see it. That said, even if you don’t plan on seeing it (might not be for everyone) the podcast offers a great discussion on the topics.
Okay, so I realize that everyone is always disappointed in the most hyped movie of the year. Super fans will always set expectations too high, demand too much, and will never be happy. Everyone knows this, and no one wants to be a cliche.
But really. Can we all agree that the last The Rise of Skywalker was trash?
Again, not from the super nerdy point of view that such-and-such a character should have done this or that, or that the director didn’t pay enough tribute to some weird thing that happened in a movie 40 years ago. I’m not talking comic-con level bashing. I’m talking about the basic nature of the story telling. It was bad. It was disappointing. It was worth learning from.
Br. Tito and I generally don’t like to be negative on #EverydayLiminality, but there was just no other option with this movie. Let us know what you think.