morning thoughts


The following is the text of an email from me this morning to my friend Clare Bruyère, an emeritus professor of American literature who lives in Paris. I feel that it is not too personal for me to post it.



Thank you very much for your comments, Claire.

I have gotten hardly any feedback or compliments on my family separation posts. …

NYC and Manhattan are depressing — not the same city.

I hate “social distancing” — though I am not in a position to say what must be done, and realize it is necessary, but, I feel that — as a few, very few, commentators have pointed out — people need closeness to people just as they do sunlight and oxygen.

Many commentators are extolling, and advising us upon, the glories of things such as virtual gatherings and parties; interacting remotely; working with colleagues and attending concerts and cultural events from home; and abolishing “old fashioned,” retrograde things such as the handshake.

These moribund social engineers and would be “reformers” have no conception of what makes us human, and what is required for maintaining a feeling of wellbeing.


posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 14, 2020

1 thought on “morning thoughts

  1. Pete Smith

    Understand why you’re depressed and edgy — everyone I know is the same these days.

    You’re right that we need to social distance now — we’re at the very point in the Spanish flu many years ago where the curve started to go down, and people started to go back to normal, after which the curve exploded again and hundreds of thousands more people died. Now is not the time to ignore the advice of the doctors and scientists.

    As for the “moribund social engineers” there are probably some out there but I wouldn’t be too harsh on people who are trying to keep up their spirits, or ours, by finding fun ways to communicate online or whatever. They’re not saying “isn’t this lovely” — they’re saying given this shitty hand how can we play it a bit better.

    But I agree that even playing it better doesn’t come close to real interpersonal connection.

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