Janek Mäggi: The situation is so s**t that no fertiliser is needed. How about we keep our heads?
, Eesti Päevaleht
No one dares speak plainly and say that we should put an end to this madness and look for a way out of the mineshafts we have dug ourselves into, writes PR specialist and former minister Janek Mäggi.
There’s no point mincing words: as former president Lennart Meri might have put it, things are shit. The health of everyone on the planet – particularly their mental health – is screwed. Old people are dying, young people are losing their jobs and every new decision is worse than the last one, because there’s always someone, somewhere that it has a negative impact on. All is doom and gloom.
Flash a smile on Facebook and a good citizen of our fair country will declare that people like you should be shot. Post a picture glorying in the fact that you’re still alive and someone will chide you for it. How dare you?
There are hard-working heroes aplenty, most of them in the public sector. The private sector’s put its feet up (which is to say doing nothing because there’s nothing to do) and slashing salaries, since a better opportunity to do so is unlikely to come along any time soon. Either that or just letting people go outright. A short war against this great depression could be fought and won with an army of the unemployed in autumn.
Those entrusted with making decisions on our behalf seem to have no idea how to pull us up out of the muck. There’s little use in decisions being made at the local level. We’re just aping the rest of Europe – or rather we’re slightly ahead of them. Borders are closed, movement of goods has come to a standstill and people are angry, indignant and on edge. And not just in Estonia, but all over the continent, and indeed all over the world. Nothing’s happening. Stress levels are skyrocketing. The collective fingernail has been chewed down to the quick. Everything’s fucked. Everyone, too, possibly.
No one understands why we’re beating ourselves up the way we are (if not doing ourselves worse harm). Because anyone with an ounce of sense in their head knows we can’t carry on living like this for the next 20 or 200 years. Is the plan to scupper the economy because people are more important than money? How noble. But if there’s no economy to speak of, things will be even more rock-bottom than if there were. People created the economy – not the other way round.
No one has the balls to speak plainly and say we should put an end to this madness and look for a way out of the mineshafts we’ve dug ourselves into. Estonians are a singing nation. Let’s sing our way out! Even if you don’t know the words and have no idea how the song goes, sing along! Someone will take the lead, or shine a light on their window. Because that’s what everyone’s doing. If you don’t, you get it in the neck. Free speech is dead. Only one way of thinking and one way of behaving is allowed. You can’t wear a white suit to a funeral in Estonia, even though white’s also a colour of mourning, in Asia for instance.
On the upside, money’s being thrown around like nobody’s business. Back in the good old days (a scant few weeks ago) there weren’t two roubles to rub together in support of cancer patients as they lay dying in their beds. They weren’t considered cost-effective. But now the euros are flying out of the coffers in their billions and no one’s batting an eyelid. But whose money? Why, the money belonging to those cutting salaries by 30% or 50% or shutting up shop altogether. Throwing money to the wind is much more fun if it’s someone else’s rather than your own.
The words coming out of the mouths of those communicating and commentating on the crisis around the world are like snowfall in midsummer – attuned to neither the season nor the prevailing conditions. Who’s stupid enough to chide a twisted pile of blood and bones that’s just been thrown out of a 5th-storey window for crying out in pain rather than call an ambulance? Of course, there’s no point watching television or listening to the radio, because all you get from them is content marketing. And on social media you may yet find one otherwise addled brain managing to spout something worth reading for the other 99 who aren’t, but still.
It’s everyone for themselves – or at least themselves and their colleagues and the people they cohabit with. Sitting and waiting for help from the state, or for that matter from other countries, is like locking yourself in the loo for two weeks without toilet paper: when the shit hits the fan, there won’t be anything to clean it up with.
Honest feelings are outlawed at the moment. Entertainment, too. False piety and faux-pathos are being applauded by those who have something to gain from doing so. The nightmare turns into a horror film, like at Friday lunchtime on Viru Street. Everything’s cold, beautiful, devoid of people. And then it all kicks off.
Dear everyone: we all die at some point, just like in And Then There Were None. There’s no point hoping you’ll be spared, because there’s no escaping it. Perhaps making our peace with the insignificant mark we make on the world will stop us from going completely mad. Or is it better to go mad so as not to notice just how mad our neighbours have gone? The average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 81.2. The average life expectancy of Estonians is 78.4. This we knew well before the virus reared its ugly head.
Whatever you think today, it’s wrong. In someone’s view, anyway. Because of what we’ll find out in the future. One thing, however, is clear: the praiseworthy and the derisory will both have their day. At the moment there’s more that’s worthy of our derision than our praise, but both are trumped in any case by that which deserves our condemnation. Common sense has fallen prey to acumen-eating bacteria that are driving us to amputate the patient’s head as well when it was only their leg that needed taking off. Perhaps, somewhere at the heart of Europe, it’s already been guillotined.