This week saw US politics succumb to the remorseless power of the gods of narrative, and the first ever example of the Department of Education failing the Leaving Cert because it didn’t show its workings.
This is the Gist.
The US President has spent months denying the reality and risk of becoming infected by COVID 19. During his debate with Joe Biden, he mocked his opponent for following scientific advice and wearing a mask.
If this was a Hollywood movie, we would consider this to be the crudest form of foreshadowing. Instead, it is 2020 and reality is apparently under the control of narrative forces with the subtly of hack screenwriters.
So it was that the US President got Covid and flew away in a helicopter to hospital. He may or may not come back. He put out a video saying the next few days will be “the real test”, which had the duel distinction of being the clearest statement on his health of the four the White House issued in the one day, and possibly his only accurate statement on Covid ever.
In the meantime, the Republican plan to jam a radical right judge onto the Supreme Court seat may have been imperilled by enough Republican Senators to make up the balance of power having gone to a maskless White House celebration of their impending success, and being infected.
It appears that the one thing we can know at the end of the week is that the gods of narrative have consumed the rest of the US pantheon.
Leaving Cert Dusts
A few months ago I said that the Leaving Cert was a key test of the government’s competence and that botching it had the capacity to build permanent ire in the hearts of parents and students.
The safe thing to do would have been follow the example of the HSE when it was introducing the Covid App. They realised they needed to build trust in the app and so they chose to rely on transparency, putting all the code on GitHub to be examined by anyone who wanted.
But the Department of Education felt this was not for them. Despite calls in the weeks before the results to release the code and algorithm they were using so it could be looked at in advance, they went for secrecy.
Sadly, it then turned out there had been error (cue rattling keyboard sound from the gods of narrative). The Taoiseach flatly told the Dáil, when asked, that the Department of Education had not totted up the right numbers and thousands of students were due higher results and maybe thousands of new college places. The colleges responded by pointing out there was no room for new college places as they had already filled them up.
Next week, they’ll tell the students which of them are due an upgrade and, you know, burst into fire.
You’ll have heard about the issues with GMI and the use of patient DNA data. Today saw a huge joint investigation published by Noteworthy.ie and by the Sunday Business Post. They’re well worth a read.
Image: A god of narrative, pictured any day in the last 3 years.