Thursday, July 21, 2011

Scandal City!

This seems to be the summer of scandal: Anthony Weiner! DSK! Rupert Murdoch!

And they all seem to be happening here in NYC -- well, the Murdoch thing may be coming to NYC and he does live here (even if the crimes were committed in England).

You must read this great James Wolcott piece from Vanity Fair about the DSK situation. We writes about how this scandal is a made for the media, made for NYC spectacle. He also illustrates how this scandal says a lot about the culture of modern day, Bloomberg NYC. Rather succintly, Wolcott brilliantly explains how totally bizarre and outlandish our city's media/economic/social environment has gotten:

"... So much of the populist outrage in the press reeked of bad faith ... The same press that indulges in a storm-the-palace fit over D.S.K.’s V.I.P. treatment lavishes worshipful attention on ultra-wealth, revels in extravagance, fawns over preening moguls (complicit for decades with the dirigible inflation of Donald Trump’s ego and acumen), paints Paris Hilton’s toenails a lovely coral, and fetishizes the sky-high price of square-footage in Manhattan, elevating real-estate porn into Byzantine splendor. Manhattan under Mayor Bloomberg has become a billionaire’s playpen, the middle class has become pressed duck, and class warfare is conducted in fits of pique and facile comparisons, like a retired boxer throwing left jabs in his sleep."

NYC in the 21st century is a schizophrenic place: we love/hate money, power and celebrity, we love pointing out how awful and out of touch thse people are while, at the same time, wishing we all could be like them.

There really is no class or cultural warfare anymore. Instead, in NYC today, there is a class and cultural identity crises. As people's economic status becomes more and more insecure, as the cost of living escalates, middle class New Yorkers both despise the rich while desperately wanting (and still holding out hope) that, somewhere down the line, they may join their ranks. After all, in this age, anyone can be famous and, if they find the right hustle, get a big pay day. And then they'll go from peons to penthouses. 

We have met the real scandal and he is us.  

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