The U.S. is weeks into a global pandemic, as schools, stores and public spaces shut down to blunt the spread of COVID-19.
And as Americans are forced to stay at home, some have found fictional representations of societal collapse as one outlet during a trying time. For instance, the movie “Contagion” is seeing a resurgence online a decade after its release.
“What prevents panic, is when there is clear, authoritative information that everyone can share, so we can all have a solid basis for our actions.” - Marc Fisher, Washington Post
“There’s always an element of panic to this, in the imagination of Hollywood,” says Marc Fisher, Washington Post senior editor. ”We’ve seen quite the opposite, we’ve seen a lot of cooperation, a lot of people following the guidelines and urging others to do so.”
But these fictional renditions of end-of-the-world scenario can be cathartic for people, providing a reference point as reality shifts each day.
“What prevents panic, is when there is clear, authoritative information that everyone can share, so we can all have a solid basis for our actions,” says Fisher. Today, “people are listening to their mayors and governors and local health officials.”
CultureShift’s Ryan Patrick Hooper spoke to Marc Fisher about the cultural impact of today’s pandemic, one he thinks will last for some time to come.
“These crises have a history of having a big impact on people long after the immediate crisis has lifted,” Fisher says.