Hoping Covid-19 carnage will save the planet? Then you’re the ...

Ideas

Hoping Covid-19 carnage will save the planet? Then you’re the problem

Fear is overshadowed by the casual monstrousness of believing that the mass death of others is a good thing

Columnist

In a sunny tea garden in a small Overberg village, four people sat together, enjoying each other’s company, the breakfasts in front of them, and the prospect of global holocaust.

It hadn’t all been global holocaust, to be fair. The little group of retirees had also discussed a minor outrage caused by a new arrival in the village who hadn’t yet learnt “his place”. But when one of them said: “So how’s this virus?” the effect of the question was so startling that I must admit to you that I wrote down verbatim what followed.

Because I wasn’t the only one jolted out of my snoozy Sunday morning reverie. Where the four friends had seemed paradoxically bored and faintly stressed, now they were sitting up, opening their eyes, almost rubbing their palms together, as if someone had just walked up with a tray of festive coronavirus-shaped tartlets. Finally, it seemed, they had found a topic into which they could throw themselves wholeheartedly...

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