Malice in Blunderland - A Grim Fairy Tale
“The only means to fight a plague is honesty.” Albert Camus in Twitterland
“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I've had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can't take more.”
“You mean you can't take less,” said the Hatter: “it's very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody masked your opinion,” said Alice. – (apologies to Lewis Carroll)
“To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” – Charlie Munger
Even after 51 years in the financial services industry, when I think I’ve seen it all and nothing could surprise me, along comes this Mad Hatter’s Covid Party.
It’s like a pandemic of politicians atop a Trojan horse of research, alongside the hysterigentsia army of social-media-certified epidemiologists, marching with their Queen of Hearts as she cries “Off with their heads!” to the economy and our autonomy.
To me, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland has nothing on our viral grim fairy tale.
Down the rabbit hole of malice in this Blunderland, theory has been neatly wrapped up as reality in Professor Neil Ferguson’s version of Carroll’s White Rabbit. Ferguson came armed with a long track record of failed predictions and a Neolithic computer code model that called for half a million deaths per square metre.
So naturally, the government immediately followed him (yet again). And then, down went the world’s storefront shutters, stock markets, and any chance of that summer holiday and duty-free bonanza on our way to the Mediterranean. A real kick in the Balearics you could say.
Because of that, now anyone with a cough is loudly informed to “Far-Cough!” And the media grows commercial click rates by throwing seeds of fear to the scaredy-custard army, spreading a manure of “facts” that grow and shrink by the hour through anti-social media and apps sponsored by the King of Hearts in England. As Carroll wrote, “If there’s no meaning in it,” said the King, “that saves a world of trouble, you know, as we needn’t try to find any.”
Unlike his Scottish Queen, the King of Hearts is viewed by his subjects as completely ineffectual, only occasionally finding support from his key advisor the Cheshire Cat, who seems to appear and disappear at will from a need for constant eye tests. (The blind leading the bland?)
So, that’ll be that then, eh?
Unless you’re Swedish, of course.
They of the elongated country happily managed to ignore the whole thing. Call it a blissful language barrier. The Swedes don’t say things like “no worries” if everything is alright, their equivalent is, “there’s no cow on the ice.”
Sounds like they’re related to The Caterpillar who did odd things with mushrooms and a hookah pipe. Mind you, if you can manage to wean yourself off devouring the media manure that feeds Blunderland, you’ll find the Swede’s death rate is a fraction of that predicted by the White Rabbit, who appears to have found yet another hole to disappear down.
As for the perma-bears? Well, it appears their long-awaited chocolate watch of economic Armageddon predictions finally came home to ruse (and roost) after a decade of forecasting the apocalypse every year since the Fourteenth Century - which seems to be where they want the world economy to end up.
And while their choruses of “I told you so” now echo loudly through the empty streets and trading desks, they managed to entirely miss out on the dramatic US stock market rise over at least the last 10 (if not 100) odd years.
Even “The Knave” Bill Gates chimed in, “The world needs to prepare for pandemics.”
He should know, eh? He’s been dealing with viruses since Windows 95.
You should know that far beyond the mainstream media’s daily drone of coughing chaos and loo roll hoarding monsters beneath our beds, it will soon be written (in tax legislation, that is) that “the meek shall inherit the debt,” if the snowflakes don’t mind. That’s despite the reality that under-25s have a 99.99% chance of beating this virus as long as they wear a helmet, because they’ve a greater chance of dying from a head injury.
Mind you, they might also succumb to obesity as the gyms and swimming pools have been closed since March while the takeaways and booze were kept readily available. But fear not. If you hurry you might still get a discounted Boriscycle from a nearly bankrupt retailer near you.
As for us aulder-yins, well, you might be surprised to hear the stats from England and Wales show that even if you’re over 70, if you’re not already seriously ill, your chances of dying from Covid are tiny. You have a 0.01885% chance of joining a queue at the Pearly Gates rather than at Tesco.
But you won’t hear that on the Blunderland Breakfast News. Their objective is like an Alice in Wonderland Caucus-Race, where everyone runs around in a circle and there’s never any clear winner.
Makes you wonder what Carroll would have thought of our current nonsense genre of communication, and the characters he might employ to represent all the callous, malice, and imbalance in this new world warren?
Maybe he would have fabled Professor Phalluson into a White Rabbit of random predictions (and proclivities?). "I’m late, I’m late, for a very inappropriate date!" His impeccably inept track record of Armageddon far-misses dating all the way back to Foot and Mouth in 2001, remains intact (have a look here).
So, as our King and Queen of Hearts lead us down the rabbit hole deeper into Blunderland, and our stock markets recover and then stumble, we’re now apparently being carried away on a river of fears towards some “Expected Second Wave.”
And I hear that while the pubs are now open (though they might not be by the time this goes on our web site) Blunderland architects have banned Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ because of the words that clearly incite anti-social distancing “Touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you…”
Global Macro Strategist at Ned Davis Research, Joe Kalish, who I often refer to as the fount of all knowledge said recently, “As to the truth about Covid cases, I’m afraid there isn’t one. The ‘data’ has become political.”
Yet, despite the widespread gloom still being spread by ‘investment experts’ on the telly, Joe is quietly confident that Central Bankers (rather than politicians and pessimists) have acted rather well in this crisis.
And the future’s brighter than most expect.
Meanwhile, back in Blunderland the bad news is that a Christmas Pantomime version of these events has been cancelled.
I was really hoping to hear everyone shout, “It’s behind you!”