Has the Pandemic Made Us Meaner?

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A couple has a heated argument at a restaurant.  (iStock)

In late September, writer Saeed Jones lamented the selfishness and cruelty he’d witnessed during the pandemic: “I’m angry and sad and bitter,” he tweeted, adding, “This is not who I want to be.” In October, ProPublica published a story by journalist Sarah Smith with the headline “We’re Losing Our Humanity and the Pandemic Is to Blame,” documenting stories of willful disregard for others’ needs and concerns. We’ll talk about what’s fueling internal rage and public disputes everywhere from grocery stores to airplanes, and what the pandemic has exposed in our human relationships.


Saeed Jones, writer and author of the memoir "How We Fight For Our Lives"

Eric Klinenberg, professor of Social Science and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University; author, "Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life." He's currently working on a book about the pandemic titled "2020: A Social Autopsy."