Dispatches from 1918 – Radiolab
With the world in chaos wrought by Covid-19, Radiolab looks back at the broader impacts of the last global pandemic. There are convincing links that are made between the Spanish Flu and the negotiating of the Treaty of Versailles (and as a result, the rise of the Nazis), the fight for India’s independence, and every single flu death in the 100 years since. At one point the producer gives this haunting description of the flu: “In those rooms where Wilson and Clémenceau are sitting, that there’s this other chair there, this empty chair. You know, it’s over by itself, no one’s paying attention to it. And I just keep thinking how it was almost as if the virus itself kind of had a seat at the table”.
You don’t have to look hard to see how the Covid virus is stealthily occupying many seats at many tables right now (albeit virtual tables).
Confusingly, the opening story is told by the voices of Jad, Tad and Pat. Bear with them it’s worth it.
Radiolab publishes transcripts of every episode. Kudos.