Tuesday, September 14, 2004

GEE. THANKS. Vartan Gregorian, who was on the jury of the WTC Memorial Competition, uses that event as a springboard for a panegyric to New York City at OpinionJournal. It is hard to know why it is there, for while OJ's national politics are well-known, its journalistic politics are less comprehensible, at least to me. Gregorian was once President of the New York Public Library and seems like a decent, intelligent fellow. The Bushies like him, too, but nobody's wrong about everything.

Gregorian's comments, however, are less interesting than the OJ readers' responses to them. Some are gracious ("May New York City continue to reflect the glowing lamp of Lady Liberty"); others take a more combative tone. A couple of New Yorkers complain about the WTC plan Gregorian helped to affect. Russell Seitz of Cambridge, MA tweaks the former nabob of NYPL for closure of the Library's smoking rooms, which Seitz feels amounts "to a denial of public accommodation for the life of the mind."

A few, though, are really spooky-weird in a way that will be familiar to any who have heard conservatives discuss the City for any length of time. From Pensacola, FL, Joseph Revell takes a Falwellian tack:
One hopes that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob doesn't notice the "proud, self-confident city that cannot be bowed" headline that leads off this fine article. If He reads just the headline and skips the article He might decide New Yorkers need to be taught a lesson in humility. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem"--and of New York City! We do, out here in the hinterland. New York City is our city too!
One gets the feeling Revell wants to claim New York as "our city, too" in exactly the same way abusive parents assert dominion over their children. L. Gregory of Georgetown, TX, is less threatening, but equally condescending:
New York is indeed a magical place, but it sometimes forgets its true roots are in the heart of America. One of the main reasons for its remarkable survival of 9/11 was the strength it drew from all the citizens in every corner of America. The terrorists didn't just attack New York, they attacked all of us. We all contributed to its recovery, one way or another, and New York needs to remember it didn't stand alone that day...
Hold it right there, Tex. Y'all "contributed to its recovery" how? By sliding back a small chunk of the money we daily pour into the Federal coffers? By talking a good game while cutting funding to our police and firefighters and anti-terrorism efforts? If we "forget" our "true roots in the heart of America," it may be that you have made the memory unpleasant to us.

A lot of people think New Yorkers are arrogant and standoffish. The above examples may help explain why we seem so.

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