Intl. Notebook | Sex Files Mar 22 2020
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
In Barcelona a group decides that desperate measures call for hard times.


COVID-19 has caused many casualties—among them humans, finances, political stability, and baseball season. But one of the biggest casualties has been humor. Consider this next tale, which under normal circumstances could be funny: Friday night Barcelona police thwarted an orgy, an event that was in clear violation of public health measures in Spain mandating that people stay confined to their homes. But in times of isolation sexual caution is one of the first things to go, it seems. Eight people were arrested, but the event would have drawn as many as thirty had it proceeded as planned. Police were not in uniform when they arrived at the rental flat and were at first mistaken for orgy participants, but they identified themselves as real cops, really there to arrest people, and no doubt hard-ons instantly drooped when the news sank in.

You see, that story could be at least a little amusing, but this coronavirus, in addition to everything else it's lethal toward, is a humor killer. One of the detainees had a cough and fever and there's nothing funny about that. He was sent to a medical center for testing, and amazingly, came up negative. But did he know that in advance? Doubtful. Even if the pandemic robs this curious little tale of humor, it's still instructive as a preview of any potential breakdown of human society. People will inevitably divide into camps or tiny nation-states. Cable television has taught us that.

There will be the hardcore military style groups filled with people who all think they're alpha males, and which will descend into violent social hierarchies in which compassion is banished and anyone who coughs is executed on the spot and their body flung beyond the perimeter with a catapult. Then there will be the party-like-it's-1999 groups who figure they're all screwed anyway, so might as well go out on an alcohol, drug, and sex high, and whose ranks are eventually whittled away while foraging for power sources for their audio system. That would be the group from Barcelona.
 
Then there will be the start-anew-in-ecological-harmony groups that cultivate staple crops, eat wild cabbage, weave their own clothes, and include among their leadership ranks a guy who insists on being referred to as “The Teller of Stories.” And of course yet another group will consist of people with no discernible skills save a bottomless capacity for cruelty, and who won't be bothered to organize at all except to capture unlucky strays, return them to their encampments in chains, and set them on fire unless their compadres toss out half of everything they have. Scavengers, we guess you'd call them. That group is where most former bankers and politicians will end up.

What group would we end up in? Good question. The paramilitary group, forget it. We'd rather be shot and catapulted. And the fourth group is out because: bankers and politicians. Also, torturing people and taking their goods just isn't us, though it is, we'll admit, very pulp. So that leaves the second or third groups. Both have their charms. At that Barcelona party, police found, aside from guys with boners, an unspecified quantity of cocaine, speed, and crystal and liquid ecstasy. Could be fun fora while, but the companionship of constant drug users can be tedious. We worked in Hollywood, and we can tell you, get stuck next to a suit who's wired to the hairline and you'll beg for death. So maybe the hippie group is the one for us. It might take a while to adjust to eating veggies fertilized with our own feces, but that Teller of Stories gig actually sounds pretty sweet. We're going to Google some weaving techniques right now so we'll fit in.
 
Edit: Looking at everything we just wrote above, we realize another casualty of this virus must be sanity. We're losing it.
 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 23
1986—Otto Preminger Dies
Austro–Hungarian film director Otto Preminger, who directed such eternal classics as Laura, Anatomy of a Murder, Carmen Jones, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Stalag 17, and for his efforts earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, dies in New York City, aged 80, from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
1998—James Earl Ray Dies
The convicted assassin of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., petty criminal James Earl Ray, dies in prison of hepatitis aged 70, protesting his innocence as he had for decades. Members of the King family who supported Ray's fight to clear his name believed the U.S. Government had been involved in Dr. King's killing, but with Ray's death such questions became moot.
April 22
1912—Pravda Is Founded
The newspaper Pravda, or Truth, known as the voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg. It is one of the country's leading newspapers until 1991, when it is closed down by decree of then-President Boris Yeltsin. A number of other Pravdas appear afterward, including an internet site and a tabloid.
1983—Hitler's Diaries Found
The German magazine Der Stern claims that Adolf Hitler's diaries had been found in wreckage in East Germany. The magazine had paid 10 million German marks for the sixty small books, plus a volume about Rudolf Hess's flight to the United Kingdom, covering the period from 1932 to 1945. But the diaries are subsequently revealed to be fakes written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Both he and Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann go to trial in 1985 and are each sentenced to 42 months in prison.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
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