Matt Firmin’s Op Ed Post

The op ed I looked at was What Social Distancing Looked Like in 1666 by Annalee Newitz. The article heavily draws on the experiences of English politician Samuel Pepys during the bubonic plague. The article demonstrates how medical science has progressed over the years by drawing contrast between reactions to these pandemics in the past and today. It details the origins of social distancing; where funeral gatherings were banned during the time of the Black Plague. The article also catalogs human behavior, Newits notes how people during this time would purchase and bury excess supplies. Where in the past frightened citizens would bury wine and cheese, people now hoard toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

I recognize the article as an op-ed because the author writes in a very informal tone. The author uses the information and subject with the primary goal to entertain the reader rather than to educate or express new information to the world. In addition, the author pokes fun of both modern and past actions, speaks directly to the reader, and uses “all caps” to express points. It is very clear that the points expressed in this article are not that of the publisher New York Times but that of the author. This article represents Annalee Newitz’s opinions and as such it is her op ed.

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