lyrics, time

Perhaps it was my time as Portland town steward (or pariah, depending on who you ask) spanning the entirety of Bush II Chapter I, but now that I know my way around NY a little, and that the triangle in front of Trump tower actually has a name (which I now cannot remember), and also maybe because my seasonal affective whatever has subsided a bit (I can look into the sky without being pelted torturously in the face by this new thing called snow), I’m eyeballs-first into my obsession with being IN NEW YORK–really becoming a breathing cell of the city-organism. To be a part of its present, I’m reading to know its past… so far in my literary sojourns, nothing’s better than Joan (of course) Didion’s piece on the Central Park Jogger, about how the city’s collective reaction was an exact script of race and class tensions glugging up the drain like a glob of hair untended.
As the case unfolded, she says, it reflected an abstruse spectrum of fear: wealthy/middle class New Yorkers’ loss-fears (stock crashes, declining property values), their terror of this nebulous idea of “crime” (mask-fear for poverty), said to take shape in the form of scapegoated poor Black and Hispanic men, as embodied by The Accused. (Concurrently, she observes how poor Black and Hispanic women’s fears, especially, took shape in the form of police officers, and defends complicated ol’ Al Sharpton for the Tawanna Brawley incident. Didion maintains that whether it was fabricated is not the real issue; the real fright is that Brawley’s tale of being raped by cops was a tangibly common enough scenario that she would concoct it to get out of trouble with her parents.)
It’s 30 pages and it might be the best piece of personal/genius reporting I’ve ever read–a prime example of how Didion overturns rocks until she finds a root–although may I say that every time I read a Joan Didion essay.
Also, I haven’t looked into Martha Gellhorn in a hot minute. Gave my Gellhorn anthology to Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu a million years ago; in return, he gave me this hella depressing book about a British photographer addicted to the sanguine energy of war and the gruesome high (?) of desensitization. When he wasn’t taking photos in Bosnia, he was back in London shooting heroin. War was the only rush that kept him from the junk.
Jamie, he does not fake his funk.

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2 Responses to lyrics, time

  1. hason says:

    may I also recommend Low Life by Luc Sante? for NYC naughty doings in days gone by. I loved reading it when I lived there.

  2. Jack says:

    i just wanted to say how much i enjoy your blog. I really love the recent posts on NYC, and wrote a little appreciation over at my site, Pound for Pound.
    Hope you enjoy the props, and I look forward to reading more.

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