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Normality is now a luxury only the rich can afford | Mark O’Connell

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November 09, 2020 at 09:59AM

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The Covid pandemic has inexorably changed most people’s lives – but not those of the wealthy elite such as Kim Kardashian

One of the nice things about being very rich, I imagine, is the extent to which it’s possible to insulate yourself from ordinary problems. Everything from a burst pipe to a divorce is made more tolerable by having a great deal of money. Even when you can’t, strictly speaking, buy your way out of a situation, you can usually buy your way into a better version of it. Would I swap places right now with a rich person with cancer? No, but only because I don’t have cancer. If I did have cancer, I would very much like to swap places with that rich person. And even now, to be perfectly honest, I might be tempted to ask what kind of cancer – and how rich.

This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about in recent months. There has been no shortage of prompts for this kind of reflection since the beginning of the pandemic, but one of the starkest so far came recently with the 40th birthday celebrations of Kim Kardashian. Kardashian tweeted: “After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.” Obviously, people went nuts about this. It was absurd, and in near-hallucinogenically poor taste; it was also neatly illustrative of the extent to which the wealthy can choose to cordon themselves off from the basic conditions of reality under which the rest of us live.

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