The Plague-Ground — These are a few of my favourite things

Bob Ramsay
3 min readSep 1, 2020

September marks six months into the pandemic for all of us who locked down our lives in March. Happy Half-Birthday.

Not everything has changed, as some breathless prophets foretold. But since staying alive is the biggest thing I don’t want to change, I’ve gained a new respect for the idea of “peace, order and good government” over “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Who knew our very Canadian-ned would save us when in much more exciting places like America, Britain and Brazil. The biggest change is in the death rate of their people? Who knew I’d become a fan of Doug Ford?

But those are big, cosmic, existential matters.

Meanwhile, a lot of little things have changed, including my tastes in reading and viewing. Looking back, I’m almost certain I would never have discovered any of these people, places and things were it not for the pandemic.

So if the end of summer has you looking for small mercies in new diversions, here are some that have caught and held me:

And it’s as a Canadian that he wrote a long article in Rolling Stone Magazine called The Unraveling of America. You likely read it or were sent it. In the three weeks since its publication, it’s received more than 300 million social media hits.

Davis has been interviewed by everyone from Christiane Amanpour to Alex Salmond, the former head of the Scottish National Party. Davis makes the case for something we’ve feared or cheered, the fall of the American empire.

This is why I’m having him speak at a RamsayTalk Online on September 15th at 1 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, in a different part of the forest, I never knew I’d come to depend on the predictable regularity of a multi-season TV series. One-off movies are great, like the deceptively-titled action flick, The Old Guard, with Charlize Theron, on Netflix.

But nothing frames a world of order, especially at bedtime, than snuggling in with the five seasons of the great British police procedural, Line of Duty (on Amazon Prime) whose acting and writing are what the Brits still do best. Little wonder it’s the most popular series ever on BBC Two.

If your tastes are more cerebral and continental, try the five seasons of the French political thriller Le Bureau (Amazon Prime) about their intelligence service, the DGSE and its deep-cover agent, the brooding Malotru, played by Mathieu Kassovitz.

Finally, in the real world of espionage, look into Bellingcat, which has uncovered all kinds of plots and abuses, not only by the Russians but by bad actors from everywhere.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about what’s not just for voyeurs and fantasists, but it seems neophytes and doers.

Bellingcat is an investigative journalism website that specializes in fact-checking and open-source intelligence (OSINT).[1] It was founded by the British journalist and former blogger Eliot Higgins in July 2014. Bellingcat publishes the findings of both professional and citizen journalist investigations into war zones, human rights abuses, and the criminal underworld. The site’s contributors also publish guides to their techniques, as well as case studies.[2]

Citizen espionage. Who knew?

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Bob Ramsay

Bob Ramsay is a Toronto writer, communications consultant and speaker series host: The Plague-Ground is his daily blog.