“The Heisenberg” is one of my favorite financial writers. On Saturday morning the cover of the April 13 New Yorker caught his attention.
“It’s a piece by Pascal Campion called ‘Lifeline.’ In it, a worker delivering something essential (food, probably) stands under a lighted awning amid towering high-rises and rings the buzzer. Just a few feet away, his bicycle rests precariously against a light pole. It’s raining. It’s dark. The streets are deserted.
“The visual is, to quote Françoise Mouly, who interviewed Campion, ‘a nod’ to the essential worker ‘and to his place in a silenced metropolis.’
“Describing the cover, Campion told Mouly the following:
“‘I started not with the feel of the city but with my own emotions. I felt dark, lonely, a little scared, and I built a city—based on New York—out of that feeling. Instead of choosing shapes, I chose lights and shadows. I worked on textures first and added details later. Eventually, I got to a point where all I needed was a small visual anchor to make the image representative rather than abstract. In this case, the delivery man became the recipient (and embodiment) of my emotions.'”
The Heisenberg described his sense of dystopia. “Staring at the cover I felt suddenly out of place in the world … experienced by the millions upon millions of people living through the most acute public health crisis in a century. …(T)he total economic and societal collapse is as new to me as it is to the rest of you.”
Tomorrow: Some reflections about the financial markets.