Went Back to the City But My City Was Gone
By Michael Boyajian
My wife and I recently spent some time in New York City after I had been away from it for some time. The water was ice cold and still the best I had ever tasted and the streets were still filled with a feeling of youth mixed with dapper and sometimes eccentric seniors.
But something had changed since we had moved from there a few years back. The grand liberal city had turned to the right. Yes, I kid you not to the right. Now residents would hardly have noticed the change but someone who been away and now had perspective could see the change clearly. This was not the same city that John Lennon and Yoko Ono and countless others had risked all to move to.
Let's look at the local news stations and their angry but pretty talking heads with their aerosol dry hair. Yes, they were speaking from the right spending most of their time interviewing people from the suburbs. Just like the network morning shows gathered up Midwesterners as backdrops to their shows pushing real city people out of sight.
Then there was the self acclaimed investigative TV reporter who found offensive DVDs at the New York Public Library. What was offensive about them? The sexual innuendo of their content. They were movies like the movie Porky's, sex comedies. This from a guy who had probably never spent real time reading or researching inside the library but who liked the idea of ripping down one of the city's greatest treasures. What was next, D.H. Lawrence?
Then there was the cable TV censorship where they dubbed out offensive language in mainstream comedies making you wonder if the likes of PEN hero Norman Mailer could even live in this city again if he were alive today.
Then there were the new rich riding on the bus who would get up to get off the bus after the bus had left the stop delaying the ride or the ones who got on the bus and had to rummage through their Gucci bags looking for their Metro card while we all waited just because they were too lazy to have it ready.
Then there were the once great institutions that now threw merit aside passing up hard workers for promotion so slackers with the right pedigree could advance and where scholars were shown the door without ceremony as acquisitions for new space were made without second thought to those who had built the place to begin with.
Yes, it was like the Pretenders' song about my city being gone, paved over by a government with no pride. And that was what was missing, pride. Oh there was materialism and right wing seething as this city passed onto something we know not what knowing only that change was needed. New political leadership was called for; a fresh breath of air that would push out the book burners and the posers and restore the city to its former glory. It is after all not just New York City but "The City."
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