Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Final Solution: Social Distancing

Social Distancing is a pithy little meme. If it weren’t being invoked to prevent the spread of a pandemic, it might be employed by a novelist and screenplay writer of manners like the late Nora Ephron or a playwright like Jules Feiffer. Social Distancing could stand next to Little Murders as a document of metrosexual life, the kind of thing Candice Bushnell might have written and that Larry David would have a starring role in. Social Distancing aka Curb Your Enthusiasm. It could also be the title of a porn film. Someone like La Cicciolina, the former wife of Jeff Koons, would be perfectly cast since she was a porn star who went on to have a career in politics. Obviously, the phrase was created as part of a health alert, but it could easily turn into a legacy of Coronavirus. Socially distancing is a far cry from social rising which was the theme of novels like Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy and Edith Wharton's House of Mirth. Or certainly from sexual liberation a la Portnoy’s Complaint or countercultural rebellion, the seeds of which constituted the plot of The Graduate. In its current iteration, social distancing has little to do with “plastics" or alienation from the culture of prosperity. It's a survival mechanism.

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