Dalrymple’s book The Examined Life, first published in 2011, was a fictional satire that made fun of the modern focus on health and safety, a focus that often seems to place health above all other considerations. With the spread of COVID-19, the book now seems more relevant than ever, and as a result, it has been republished in a new edition. It is available globally on all Amazon sites, e.g. here in the UK and here in the US.
Dalrymple has said that satire is nowadays prophecy, and although he did not predict a global pandemic, it does seem that the outlook satirized in The Examined Life has spread along with the virus.
‘Why are you wearing that mask?’ asked one of the security guards.
‘Germs, of course,’ I said. ‘They’re ubiquitous.’
‘You what?’ he said.
‘Ubiquitous – they’re everywhere.’
‘They are for us, too,’ he said, ‘and we’re not wearing masks.’
Exactly the same argument as the doctor uses when I raise the subject with him.
‘It was of no consolation to the victims of pneumonic plague during the Black Death that there were millions of other victims, was it?’ I said.
‘The Black Death?’ said one of the security guards to the other. ‘What’s he going on about?’