Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I Love Hate New York

Via Norman Gera's Normblog, comes this pseudo-serious piece of punditry. Ms Decca Aitkenhead is having a problem reconciling her and her friends' anti-Americanism ("a legitimate response to the current political climate") with the attitude held by many of the same anti-America types that New York City is somehow different and exempt from the rest of the hated Bushland. Her contention is that NYC is just like the Red States she apparently despises.

She goes on for several paragraphs about the perceived flaws of New York and psychoanalyzes New Yorkers. In her world, people from Idaho are "lard-arsed inbreds", New York is no different from any other major city in the world (except worse), New Yorkers are lacking in self-confidence, and that the "I (heart) NY" campaign is a response to 9/11. A great many words, even greater ignorance. She has the tone of someone who visits the USA, then comes home to proclaim how superior she is compared to the proles she saw on vacation. Lileks would handily deal with this kind of stuff, but since his site is currently a mess I'll take a shot at it.

She doesn't like our political climate. What a damn shame. I don't like hers. And we don't care. I suppose she would be happier spending money here if we had elected President who sends a cop to serve a warrant in Kabul instead of sending the armed forces to liberate it. And permanently shutting down the torture chambers in Baghdad being thrown into the bargain. Bitching about us is easier than going to Tehran or Pyongyang and registering her displeasure with the mullahs or Lil' Kim, I suppose.

She thinks New Yorkers are delusional in thinking they are different from other Americans. Guess what, dearie! All the regions of the USA think they are different from all the others. We also are pretty proud of the differences. Some silly idea about variety being interesting or something. We are composed of fifty sovereign states, and if you think all Americans have the same attitudes and opinions you haven't visited many of them. Ask a Southerner what they think of Yankees, if you want a quick lesson.

New Yorkers brag because they have no self-confidence, she says. Hey, it takes considerable self-confidence to shout "Ours is the Best!" to the whole world. It takes confidence to rebuild even higher after what happened there on 9/11/2001. It takes confidence to build the greatest city in the world. Yep, we who don't live there do make jokes about New Yorkers, but they (and their city) are ours. Despite the differences. Despite their voting Democratic. Despite their brusqeness (not rudeness, not really).

Ms Aitkenhead is inadvertently right about one thing. New York is like America. What she doesn't understand is that America is so much more (and I think better) than she bothers to perceive. I'll make her an offer. If she can ever bear to bring herself back to the USA and go farther west than NYC, I'll be happy to bring her to Boise, where she can explain to the local folks what makes them "lard-arsed inbreds".

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