A Brief Observation

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As long-time visitors to TPV may have surmised, PG has an informal circuit of 20-30 websites he checks on most days, looking for items that may be of interest to visitors here. He also has a number of Google Alerts that scan the Internet horizon for items that may be blog fodder and email PG a link when they find one.

Over the past few weeks, a number of usually prolific websites discussing the business of writing, traditional publishers, etc., seem to have slowed down their posting more than a bit. The quality of materials produced by usually interesting website proprietors and bloggers has also dropped off a bit.

Amateur-psychologist PG attributes at least some of these phenomena to Covid Blues or some such thing.

(PG is a Certified Amateur in a wide range of subjects. You can ask him any question and receive some sort of answer.)

Certainly, many parts of the traditional publishing business have reasons for moderate-to-severe depression.

This is probably a terrible time to be an employee at Barnes & Noble at any level on the organization chart. The mood in Indie bookstores likely ranges from moderately hopeful to “I hate the idea of talking to a bankruptcy attorney.”

At traditional publishers, an inner psychic conflict is raging between “I hate, hate, hate Amazon!” and “If it weren’t for Amazon and its cursed ebooks, we’d be talking to bankruptcy lawyers too.”

(Amateur medical expert PG recommends employing a corporate psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder AKA Multiple Personality Disorder or, at a minimum, getting in touch with your inner child.)

OTOH, from a financial standpoint, this is a pretty nice time for a great many indie authors and Amazon.

People locked down in their homes who don’t want their brains to turn to mush from weeks of binge-watching television are apparently turning to reading.

The physical bookstores are shut down, the paperback selection at their local grocery store is completely disgusting, the nearest library admits one masked patron per hour to make a selection from its dead-tree collection while inhaling carcinogenic disinfectant vapors,


  1. A reader can purchase any one of a zillion ebooks on Amazon, and
  2. Be guaranteed to receive Covid-free electrons on their iPad or Kindle 30 seconds or so after hitting the Buy now with 1-Click® button, and
  3. Some of those ebooks don’t cost very much, so
  4. The teeny family budget allocated for fun isn’t hammered!

(Amateur mathematician PG counts Four Wins.)

7 thoughts on “A Brief Observation”

  1. I’m finding the covid situation has made it very difficult to blog. There isn’t much new, interesting stuff happening, and the things I blogged about when lockdown started have run out. How many times can I tell you that the county opened up or shut down the use of the pools in our facility? Or that the food is, well, odder.

    I use to throw out a blog post when an idea needed recording as much for me as for potential readers – I have well over 500 posts, and I go back and read them myself more often than I expected to, as I get to the same places in the second book in the trilogy as I did in the first.

    But those topics are mostly used up, as well.

    I should ask my readers to help out and suggest topics! Most of them never leave a comment, but a few might. Like PG, I am an Amateur Consultant on quite a few topics, and have strong opinions about many more (if they get too strong, though, no one reads them, so I don’t write the really opinionated ones very often).

    Also, I’m extra tired. This has been a stressful year for opinions.

    • Most people are stressed out, no question. Tested, really.
      And so are the structures of society.

      Some folk are reaching the end of their rope sooner than others and everybody is responding in different ways. Some people are fine with social isolation, at least for a while, (authors?) but a lot of people are too much the herd creature to gracefully deal with the lockdowns.

      Skepticism about politicians’ motivations and antagonism towards authorities and scientific “consensus” are just part of the long-term fallout. Especially with the high visibility flip-flops and hypocrisy on display. The fearmongering media has also burned a lot of its credibility. Behavioral changes will endure past vaccination and return to a “normal” that won’t be the old status quo.

      Psychologists, sociologists, and human zoologists are going to have a field day dealing with the data for years on end.

      For starters, Desmond Morris’ THE HUMAN ZOO is going to have to be revisited and urban planners are going to have to rethink their guidelines.

      The ripples are going to take years if not decades to play out.

      I wonder is anybody is hosting online support groups.

      • The stress is causing physical problems for many, including me: you can realize you’re under stress, and still not be able to affect your reactions.

        The ripples will take a long time, and there will be mid-term elections and another (or the same) Republican running in 2024. Not a pleasant prospect.

        Even for people like me who’ve been in isolation/lockdown for decades, the quarantine fatigue is several orders of magnitude more than we were used to; the new people who’ve only been facing it for a year have no real concept of ‘chronic,’ and a lot of those who survive the actual covid-19 are finding they are not getting well, and will have a whole new set of problems added to their lives. We could have been ready for them.

        • There is a difference between distancing by choice and doing it by compulsion. The psychological impact weighs heavy in the latter case.

          The ripples won’t be just Or even primarily political; despite what media pundits and activists pretend, everything in life isn’t political or even the most important. The pandemic has brought back to the fore Maslow’s Hieranchy of needs and tbe primacy of the physiological and security needs. That won’t be soon forgotten.

          Remember how the generation that lived tbrough the great depression retained the habits ingrained in the years of scarcity and conflict for decades and in many cases life long. There is no reason to expect the lessons of self-reliance and distancing will be instantly forgotten after vaccination. At a minimum I expect mask wearing during flu season to become as prevalent as in Asia.

          Survivors will remember how they survived and habits developed during times of crisis are sticky. The trick is outlasting the crisis.

          • No question. My husband was drafted; by a quirk of Army orders, his cohort went to Germany instead of Vietnam, while all the other graduating classes went straight to the war. Or I would not have met him. His life was altered – he was drafted out of grad school – but I missed out on much of that because I didn’t move back to the States until 1969, Fall.

            He’s fine – I was the one who got sick.

            It’s not the kids who seem whiny about a lot of things, though there are plenty of ones who are partying as if it were safe. They have their lives ahead of them. But some of the supposed ‘grownups’ are behaving like tantrumming toddlers. Even when they’re supposed to be running the world.

            We are doing everything we can, spouse and I, to outlast the crisis. But it is getting closer every day. And keeps nibbling at the edges. Administrators of our retirement community are now working from home, quarantining after coming into contact with someone (privacy laws supposedly keep them from telling us more).

            Some of us will be unlucky, but mostly it will be about how well you behave.

            • Yup.
              No Galactic Empire is coming to save us nor is anybody local.
              By now we all know what it’ll take to make it to vaccination day.
              It is (and always has been) up to us to save ourselves by doing what needs doing, regardless of the stress.
              Masks, gloves, disinfectant, hunker down.
              This too shall pass.

  2. Good post, and comments, too.
    If I might add:
    We have had an extremely unhealthy immune system in this country, for a long time, whether that concerns our social health, financial health, relationship health, or, yes, our political/leadership health.
    I’m not just talking about the current lightning rod, DJT.
    I’m talking about the unhealthy way we have been manipulated into sacrificing our personal relationships for pseudo-friends on social media. The way so many have persuaded themselves that being heavily leveraged is OK, as long as they can ‘make the payments’.
    How working long hours, and being too tired when finally free of the day’s obligations to initiate or sustain a meaningful relationship, and, instead, settling for a meaningless and random exchange of bodily fluids with strangers. Getting emotional sustenance from a romance novel or TV channel, while avoiding actual family/emotional connections.
    Buying overpriced junk you don’t need with money you don’t have, all to impress people you don’t even know.
    Spewing invective at political/business leaders, people associated with them, and random strangers on the street. Threatening to commit crimes – even attacking people for their disinclination to ‘believe’ the same things you claim to. Competing on social media to be ever and ever more outrageous.
    Overlooking the abuses of ‘our’ side, and demonizing any perceived abuse of ‘them’.
    Failing to look at a central problem of ALL government processes – the way that the system is BOUGHT by financial interests – business corporations, banking, insurance, and the non-governmental organizations – charities, foundations, unions, and interest groups.
    Cheering on arson and looting of businesses, government offices, and even residences – because those doing it are ‘on your side’. Reading and watching only those news outlets that agree with you. Becoming unable to even talk to a person having a different viewpoint, even about non-political topics.
    Reflexively using words: Fascist, Racist, Homophobic, Liberal/Progressive/Leftist (used in a derogatory manner). Cutting off family and friends over issues, AND feeling completely justified. Taking pride in having done so; posting about it on social media (the practice known as Virtue Signaling).
    Wearing a mask, not because you believe that it will help, but because it identifies you as a GOOD PERSON. Refusing to wear a mask, even though you agree it has some validity, because “no one can tell me how to live”.
    We have overcome our natural inclinations, to live and let live. To mind our own business, and accept that others are acting in good faith. We have worked our nation into a fever-pitch of anger, contempt, and rage.
    It’s not the disease I worry about – it’s the broken immune system of our national culture. We need to break the cycle of partisanship, and work together to re-build our country, or we will succumb, due to our impaired immune system.
    We need to reduce our National Fever. We need to cool off, listen to others, and work on improving our OWN lives.

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