The Pandemic Time Capsule, Volume 2

Will Leitch
3 min readNov 26, 2020

A semi-regular rundown of what we’ll put in a vault when this is over, and try not to remember.

There are two, perhaps three, and maybe soon more, vaccines about to arrive, and with those vaccines, there is hope. Our current miseries are not permanent. This pandemic will someday be over, and it could even be soon.

Thus, to commemorate this unprecedented time in human history, we have been, on a semi-regular basis, putting together a Pandemic Time Capsule. In it, we will place those objects, figures and curiosities that existed as a critical part of our pandemic reality but will likely vanish when we are outside of that bubble. Put your own suggestions in the Responses, or email me at

Breadmaking. Remember this? Remember when we thought this was going to be, like, two months long, and thus we’d use those two months to better ourselves while we were trapped in our homes? So we started little home bakery projects, and then we realized that, uh, no, that’s not what this pandemic is going to be about, and then the next thing we knew we were all out in the streets protesting for justice and trying to save democracy and forgetting about our dumb bread. There was a bread moment, though, remember.

Constant Shaming. To be clear: Shaming people in public for bad behavior isn’t just going to keep going after the pandemic, it’s arguably a public good: Sometimes public shaming is the only way to truly instill some sort of societal justice. But we have all become constant shamers during the pandemic, pointing how how we wouldn’t act that way, how you are wrong, how ashamed you should be. This was an inevitable outgrowth of the lack of federal leadership during the pandemic, with all of us forced to police ourselves, but it will be nice, when this pandemic is over, not to feel pressured to constantly pass judgments on our family, friends and neighbors. If we can forget what happened during the pandemic, anyway.

Room Rater. For years, if you were going to be on a television news program, they would take you a studio, and they would slap a bunch of makeup on you, and they’d give you a fancy microphone and maybe even tease your hair a bit. (Witness.) But in a pandemic, we all learned, you don’t need any of that. You just need a computer with a camera and…

Will Leitch

I write about these tumultuous times 2x a week. Author of five books, including “How Lucky.” NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin.