Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"If You Can Make It There, You'll Make It Anywhere" - It's Feels Good to be Home

Michael Moore
There's something in the bones about New York. For me, something in a hint of a memory of 335 E. 86th Street, where I was hatched. Something borne in one. I think of it mostly as I walk and ride the city every day. I think mostly about those for whom this city would definitely not work. My family. The girl I went to Europe and Africa with. Nearly everyone I knew in Vietnam, and most in Korea as well. The rest of the world. It's not for everyone, yet everyone is here. People from 100 countries, and more. It's the only city in the US I knew would be international enough for me to feel at home. In a recent post, Seth Godin reasons because "It's Different Here" and he recounts:

But there's more. Compared to Asia (and even to Paris) the subway is a dirty smelly hellhole that would be an embarrassment to any developed country - but New Yorkers like it that way (most of them haven't seen Asia or Europe).. It wouldn't be NYC without it. Conversations pass daily on how organized crime controls government and government controls the people - but that's how it is. Sadly. One guy tried to impress me recently with the idea of how much better the US is than Somalia right now. Interesting. We now have to compare ourselves to underdeveloped third-world nations in political turmoil to be better than someone. But that's how it is.

Yesterday Michael Moore showed up at the Occupy Wall Street protest in Zuccotti Park. This morning it was Susan Sarandon. Tonight I listened to Professor Cornel West from Princeton University. Inspiring. Yes, it's different (and fucked-up) here, and I love that. The Wild Wild East has now inhabited Asia, Europe, Africa, the Wild Wild Upper East Side of NYC and even Wild Wild East Broadway and things are just fine. Recently a girl commented on my "A Suspension of Disbeliefs" blog that my writing has become more "America-centric" since returning, and she surmises, that, "that makes' sense. Before I wrote about America from afar. Now I write to afar from America. It's a small world in any case and I am now your correspondent in NYC.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Flying to New York on 09.11.11 Finds a Paranoid and Collectively Depressed Nation on Arrival

Those little town blues
Flying from Asia to New York is punctuated by an announcement on the PA from the pilot leaving Taiwan that says they are required by US law to tell passengers that they are not allowed to congregate in groups of more than two, anywhere on the aircraft during flight. It is only a small notion of the American paranoia to follow. You don't hear that going to China. On the flight from San Fran to NYC the first sign that America is in deep shit is that there is no free food on the flight as there had been from Saigon to Taipei and Taipei to San Francisco. Nope. You can buy a breakfast cookie for $3 on American Airlines or a limp shrink-wrapped croissant with ham and cheese for $6. It sucks. Welcome to the good ole US of A. Time to pay for everything - including the free-everywhere-else carts that you use to get your luggage out of the airport. In America, that costs $5. In Europe, Asia and Africa, all of which I visited in the past two years, those are free - and supported by advertising on said carts. "Sorry, we're fresh out of money in America because all the war and shit over the past 10 years", reads the idea and fresh out of things like 'freedom' and 'liberty' too according to the press I read.

The New Yorker Magazine does a whole issue on the 10th anniversary of 9-11 and it's not exactly a love story - having a cigarette with a guy who works stocking coolers at one of the restaurants in San Francisco's airports he says, "Do you think they really killed Bin Laden?" He doesn't believe it. The New York Times Sunday Book Review features a story by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum called, "That Used To Be Us" on America's slumping economy and lack of current innovation. 10 years of war are killing something, obviously. Obama is chided for curating George Bush's legacy by OpEdNews.com and it's pretty damn tough to find any optimism at all on the way into America. Excellent time to go back methinks.

You might find the Europeans grousing about Greece and the Asians grousing about, well nothing, but it's more than plain to see that at least the American intelligentsia are none too happy about much at all. As far as I'm concerned, I have nowhere to go but up. It will be interesting to see how that can come to be in a nation that seems to be wallowing in being down.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Wild Wild East Dailies Heads for the Wild Wild Upper East Side

It's time to go home. Home for me was 531 E 86th St. in New York. That's where I was born. It's doubtful that I could afford to be born there today as the building has become an upscale condominium, but in 1956, it was the Misericordia hospital and the home of the Guild of the Infant Saviour, a Catholic orphanage. This will be interesting. Stay tuned.

The Wild Wild East Dailies

D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
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