The soft-focus Britain of Downton Abbey bears little resemblance to the real Britain collapsing under the weight of racism, austerity, and COVID-19. As Brexit plods on, it’s time for an honest reckoning of the history and future of this outsize little island.
With physical distancing the order of the day as COVID-19 spreads, cultural locales — sites for communal experiences, like museums and theaters — are emptying out. What are we sharing if we’re not sharing these spaces? And were we really sharing them to begin with?