Instant Opinion: Maradona was an ‘achingly human superstar’

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Marcela Mora y Araujo in The Guardian

on the death of a legend

Diego Maradona: the achingly human superstar who embodied Argentina

“As his legendary status grew, his human side – so flawed, so painfully angry and confrontational, so complicated – appeared to morph into an ever increasing grotesqueness. People would talk about a brilliance with his feet that he lacked with his mind, but I would contest that. Diego Maradona was one of the most intelligent and astute beings to have graced the game. He was a perfect embodiment of the human ability to be contradictory, to do and convey ugly and beautiful at once, good and evil in the same stroke. His celebrity was not separate from his private self – he was achingly human in every way, yet a superstar at all times.”

2. James Forsyth in The Spectator

on a PM stuck on repeat

A vaccine won’t heal the scarring of lockdown

“What was to stop [Johnson’s] premiership being a never-ending cycle of lockdowns? Now, he has his answer: not one but three vaccines, two with efficacy rates of 95 per cent. This has transformed his outlook. The war against Covid is not over, but victory looks imminent. The Prime Minister has a weakness for wartime metaphors, but this time they are more appropriate than he might find comfortable. For months, his government has had one overriding priority: defeating the viral enemy, no cost spared. But decisions made in the heat of battle will go on to define the rest of the decade. Victory comes at a huge cost. We can calculate the damage to the national finances, but the effect on education, mental health, employment and society remains devastating.”

3. Justin Fox in The Japan Times

on bad maths

What a 95% effective vaccine could do is pretty exciting

“In wealthy Western countries with lots of older people, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has killed roughly 1% of those infected with it, meaning 99% survive. Meanwhile, two new vaccines have so far been found to be about 95% effective in preventing symptoms of the disease. Lots of people seem to have trouble thinking through percentages like these. While I hesitate to elevate the since-deleted thoughts of a pseudonymous dude on Twitter as representative of anything in particular, the quote that follows is such a succinct expression of that trouble (plus it had gotten more than 12,000 retweets and 45,000 likes before being deleted) that it seemed worth sharing and then working through: ‘Forgive me if I’m not excited about a vaccine that is 95% effective against a virus that is 99% ineffective in killing anyone.’ Where to start? Well, first, a virus that is ‘99% ineffective in killing anyone’ can be quite deadly.”

4. James Marriott in The Times

on destructive individualism

Idea that defined the West now threatens us

“Criticisms of individualism are common across the political spectrum. Left-wing writers point to the damage caused by unrestrained economic individualism. On the right, commentators lament the decline of the family. Donald Trump highlights the danger of extreme narcissism. In his long refusal to concede the US election result, Trump placed his own ego above the democratic conventions that bind American society. But the social forces swirling beneath Trump are more dangerous. The emergence of an extreme intellectual individualism is one of the most significant dangers of our era.”

5. Nicholas Spiro in the South China Morning Post

on unstable finance

Bitcoin has had a good pandemic, but is a long way from being a trusted store of value

“The most important tailwind is the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only has the pathogen turbocharged the shift away from cash towards digital payments, virus containment measures have exacerbated concerns in the West about data privacy and ‘surveillance capitalism’. This is grist to the mill when it comes to millennials who are attracted to cryptocurrencies precisely because they are self-regulating, relying on a network of computers to verify transactions instead of a central repository. Indeed, some investment strategists believe the virus is acting as a catalyst for bitcoin to challenge gold’s status as a hedge against risk, particularly the threat posed by a stronger-than-expected revival in inflation and a sustained depreciation in the US dollar – two trends that could take hold if the availability of a vaccine speeds up the global recovery.”


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