© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Perspective: Our masked lives

Angie Toh

When the pandemic started we rushed to get facial masks. Soon enough there were all types, kinds and styles of masks available. I saw Fourth of July masks, Halloween masks, Thanksgiving and Holiday masks, all in many colors and designs such as whiskers, cars and sports logos. There were masks with filters, adjustable or fixed straps, head or ear bands…you name it.

Back then, this abundance made me think that folks can face any situation and make something out of it. In short, capitalism at work. But then, it also struck me that these masks were meant to be unique and expressive, and make their wearers a distinct, different person.

These days masks have spawned their own industry and science. A quick online search shows the many varieties available now. I'm sure high-end designers are peddling theirs as well. Who knows? We may see a Jimmy Choo or a Versace mask in a Pandemic Museum sometime soon...

In any case, what initially seemed to me an opportunistic move, a sign of how markets emerge and develop, looks like a sign of resilience and adaptability. I admire the variety of masks that I see every day, and even though I want this whole thing to end, I still would like to get myself a mask with the cat whiskers design.

I am Francisco Solares-Larrave, and this is my perspective.

A Guatemalan native, he arrived in the United States in the late eighties on a Fulbright Scholarship to do graduate studies in comparative literature at the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana. He has been teaching Spanish language, literature and culture at NIU since August 2000, and his main research interests are 19th-century Spanish American literature.