by Conor Friedersdorf

One of my favorite people to read is George Packer, and he doesn't disappoint in a blog post about the snow storm:

Twenty inches of snow isn’t a 7.5 earthquake or Category 4 hurricane. Unless it’s life-threatening, an emergency rarely lifts human beings above themselves. A snowstorm like this is bad enough to make people parochial and aggrieved, but not disastrous enough to make them generous and heroic. The stories of people trapped on subway trains all night, of hundreds of 911 calls going unanswered for hours, remained abstract, because we were in no actual danger. And so, instead, it seemed as if our block was being singled out for idiocy and neglect.

The scene on the street brought my neighbors and me into a fraternity of usefulness and scorn: we locals did one another little favorshere’s some salt, thanks for shoveling my walkand remarked on the folly of outsiders insisting on driving a car through such snow. The circle of inclusion was now the neighborhoodmore narrowly, the blockbut this bond wasn’t strong enough to prompt one of us to put an orange cone of warning at the bottom of the street, let alone to organize all of us into teams that could shovel out the whole block. Urban solidarity had a limit, and some quaint notion of deserving city services kept us waiting passively on the silent street for the plow that, by midday Tuesday, still hadn’t shown up.

The whole thing is worth reading – and reminds me that I sure would enjoy an occasional Talk of the Town from his pen.

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