A Journal of the Plague Year: Day 289: Valedictory for a Clown

by David Ackley

Benjamin compared public life under Hitler to being “trapped in a theater [where] one had to follow the events on the stage whether one wanted to or not, had to make them again and again, willingly or unwillingly, the subject of one's thought and speech.” Now, however, the house lights will go up, the trash-strewn setting of the late squalid fantasies will be revealed, the main actors will be jeered from the stage, and we will step out, blinking, into some only half-familiar world, which -- contagion and all-- can't help but be better than the vile and exhausting performance we will have escaped at last.