The Great Cover-Up

Our pandemic wasteland

Stores are selling them, mothers-in-law are sewing them, and most people (thankfully) across Canada are wearing them. Fabrics vary: cotton is popular, though targeted advertisements are now hawking the new and ostensibly more breathable linen kind. The panoply of patterns, colours, and insignia denoting brand loyalty marries our needs (protection) to our wants (consumption). Enter our era’s boldest fashion statement: the face mask.

If the essence of beauty is variety, then we might suppose that the essence of morality is simplicity. So it’s no surprise that the elegantly unpretentious and disposable face mask is one of the most popular products of the day.

And, indeed, the disposable variety has great appeal. It’s always clean, until it’s not, and then you simply throw it away. It’s readily available, too. At Canadian Tire, you pay about $30 for a fifty-pack of the three-ply sort (reminiscent of that...