One thing I find especially bothersome about the response to the COVID-2019 pandemic is the common meme telling average people to “just stay home and watch Netflix.”
What does it say about us that this is a common idea of how to respond to a major crisis? The Netflix prescription is a passive, helpless, hopeless way to experience a trying time which may last for months. It’s a meaning-starved narcotic for people who have the time and luxury to watch it. And it’s not much of a palliative for people who are losing their jobs or friends and loved ones.
Sure – let’s watch some movies if that’s a normal part of life for us. But there are about a thousand better things we can be doing.
We can be supporting our friends and families. We can be catching up with old friends online and in video calls, delivering groceries for at-risk folks, and sharing important public health advisories with our neighbors.
We can be developing ourselves and improving our own lives. We can be learning new skills and languages, reading useful books, exercising outside (away from people), painting, teaching, or selling.
We can be preparing for the shockwaves and the aftermath of this crisis. We can be planting gardens and raising chickens and buying investments and fixing things around the house and stocking up and learning first aid.
We can be supporting the response to the pandemic. We can be donating, raising funds for personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, or contributing time to online crowdsourced projects to make masks and other gear.
And we can do all of these things – as we would with Netflix – from home. There aren’t enough good shows on any streaming platforms to make this time worthwhile only for consumption. Find something useful and meaningful now: you won’t regret it.