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When Canberraitis shivers the timbers

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14.03.2020

Anyone capable of writing the Choral Symphony would have given short shrift to someone unable to handle a few skyscrapers. Picture: Shutterstock

Reading a thought-stoking new piece about "Newyorkitis", a supposed affliction thought unique to the citizens of unique New York, has left me wondering if there is such a thing as Canberraitis.

If there is, what is it and what symptoms do Canberraitis- afflicted Canberrans exhibit?

Charlee Dyroff's piece, An Inflammation of Place: On the Symptoms and Spread of Newyorkitis, has just shimmered into the online Lapham's Quarterly.

What if, your columnist muses, not just mighty New York but every town or city of character in the world has its own unique "itis", that all or some of its locals catch and exhibit? Is there perhaps a Cairoitis, a Honoluluitis, even a Wagga-Waggaitis?

We haven't room here to examine exactly what Girdner diagnosed in New York and New Yorkers in his hugely influential 1901 book Newyorkitis.

We only have room to think about (and surely to applaud) his belief, after 25 years of treating patients in the big city and of thinking of what should be done to make New York more conducive to the physical, mental and moral health of its citizens, that of course cities shape and sculpt the people who live in them.

Different cities shape different sorts of citizens, and if there is a 2020 Canberraitis it is unlikely to have anything in common with a 1901 or 2020 Newyorkitis.

That said, though, some of his 1901 New Yorker diagnoses will ring bells for........

© Canberra Times