Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Jacksonville

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The man in his sixties, potbelly, slightly stooped, facilities director, repository of institutional memory, who sized me up and only opened up once he had determined that I’m at least half as cynical as he is. Lost 70 lbs biking around the corporate office park rather than driving around it. Short on words, but opened more doors, physically and metaphorically, than anybody else could.

The man in his fifties, potbelly, engineer specializing in security apparatuses, a font of dad jokes, drinks rye whiskey since beer no longer sits with him well, grunts during all physical exertions, torn between being curious enough to solve the problems put before him but mercenary enough to ensure first that they were his problems to solve, polite enough not to make this an issue for at least the first four hours. Native and proudly Floridian, knew a bunch of New York jokes, accepted the responding Florida jokes with good humor.

The woman in her sixties, sucking down margaritas in celebration of being a survivor of cancer of the neck which has been in remission for two years to the day, come down from Michigan to raise a son, was told to set him back a year for public schooling so that he was be larger than the others come time for trial for high school football, so she did and he was, he met and was granted an award by Tim Tebow before suffering a career-ending injury during practice, so he now works as a bouncer at another dive near the beach.

The woman in her twenties, bedazzled bookbag and grey hoodie, who spent her days cold-calling Medicare recipients with long-term ailments on behalf of a pharmaceutical company, informing them that they could get medicine mailed to them every 90 days instead of having to visit a pharmacy every 30 days, spent her nights stripping for extra cash, and made drum and bass riffs on SoundCloud with whatever free time she had left.

The man in his thirties, bushy beard, tow truck driver, former air force pilot, who introduced me to every properly reprehensible reprobate in an equally properly reprehensible dive bar, a number of whom were wearing MAGA hats though oddly enough were on friendly-ish terms with the two Black patrons who appeared to be regulars, took to me because I understood most of his military lingo, habitually exaggerated every statistic he could remember – it wasn’t just an old bar, it was the oldest in the country; it wasn’t just a large city, it was at least five million people (which would make it easily the second largest in the country) – admitted after an extended discussion that the only Democrat he ever respected was Franklin Roosevelt.

The woman in her thirties, six months on the job as an admin for a restricted area, smaller than most with braided hair, delegated what she could and defensive with what she couldn’t likely due to a precarious position and being directly confronted in said restricted area, who could not answer questions directly due to inexperience at the job but insisted on what she had come up with days afterwards was “the way things always were,” rattled off with a straight face to employees who had been there for decades, since as gatekeeper for a restricted area, she was able to.

The woman in her twenties, forgetful as she was attentive, forever distracted blonde pixie with a strained smile on her face behind the counter of a combination cafe/bookstore with Bernie 2020 stickers in the window, as aside from myself and two construction workers in for their morning coffee, as observed for well over an hour the establishment was clearly utilized primarily as a time-share for the prodigious homeless in the area.

The woman in her seventies, spending her retirement bouncing between far-flung children and their households, come in from Texas to visit a daughter in her thirties who worked as a lawyer in insurance, who was very interested in drilling me on my pedigree and while she took my being half-Black in stride she did not take kindly to my argument that Trump’s China policy was ineffective at best due to his gross misunderstanding of China and the Chinese economy (and, let’s face it, America), at which point she declared that she was better informed as she had truer sources than the “mainstream media” (i.e. Fox News) but was too Southern and polite to do anything at that point than wish me a healthy life, a sentiment I returned complete with all applicable overtones.

Rebel Without a Cause

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It’s probably saying something about this day and age that so many top grossing movies that aspire to true drama are based on popular comic book IPs: A medium that aspires to parable but mostly just relegates itself to bombastic navel-gazing, forever worried about gaining relevance with a mass audience without losing relevance to its hard core of aging fans.

It’s in this stead that I’ve mulled over Joker, the new movie that takes on the usual Batman/Joker duality by making its iteration a supervillain origin story. It doesn’t exactly work, either as a drama or as a comic book movie, tho the reasons for each are similar as not. It works, perhaps, as a vehicle for Joaquin Phoenix to contend with Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson for Most Compelling Joker, but sadly he will have to take a distant third, not for his acting – he’s amazing – but for the writing.

The story of Joker remains largely the same throughout all iterations: Gotham, the comic book stand-in for New York (at times described as “New York below 14th Street at night in February,”) is dirty, crime ridden, inhospitable and always dark and cold. Batman is a billionaire industrialist and owner of the largest corporation in the city, who moonlights as a vigilante beating up what he sees as dregs of society. Joker is his foil: Obviously an extremist and psychotically insane but also with compelling arguments as to Batman’s effect on society – not just as a vigilante but as an capitalist. Wayne Enterprises, Batman’s business, is usually shown as a major employer with deep ties to the police and local government. Joker’s argument in most films is that civilization is a thin patina on base human instincts, largely governed by compulsion as anything else – a Hobbesian or Augustinian point of view, perhaps, though not strongly held – and Batman and his ilk are just as responsible if not more so for the sad state of existence as terrorists like Joker. In some cases, the argument is Batman creates Joker.

This is a political argument.

In the narrative of the comic book world, this works because Joker’s origin is deliberately mysterious – because he is nobody, he is everyman. His story as told by himself shifts to fit whatever narrative he hopes to achieve at the time, thereby always positioning himself in the perfect societal counter-argument to Batman’s attempts at what he sees as order. In effect Joker’s not unlike the chameleon nature of the internet forum troll: Arguments invented primarily to confound rather than based on lived sincerity, yet with the insistence and confrontational nature of having lived such lives. This lies at the heart of Nicholson’s Joker throwing away millions in cash during a parade right before releasing nerve gas or Ledger’s Joker pitting a ferry full of convicts against a ferry full of the bourgeois.

Phoenix’s Joker doesn’t really have that consciousness. And yet, it’s painfully clear that the producers of this movie really wanted him to. A version of “Bad Old Days” late 70s/early 80s New York is so lovingly crafted on the screen that the references are clear as day to any resident of the city; the grime and the graffiti are honed to a tee. It’s meant to evoke the New York of Bernie Goetz and Kitty Genovese and indeed this Joker even has a Goetz moment, shooting three finance bros in the subway (…all of whom are white, thereby avoiding any complicated message on race). It remarks on the cutting back of needed social services and indeed all civil servants have a harried, wane look to them, evoking the “Ford to New York: Drop Dead” fiscal crisis. It also references Scorcese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy so much one would think this movie is inviting comparison. If so, sadly, the comparison starts and ends with, “…but worse.” Travis Bickle is a disaffected loner who struggles with what he feels is his proper self-sacrifice to save the world. This Joker, named Arthur Fleck, is also a disaffected loner but harbors no such aspirations.

In fact, because in this iteration we know his real name and how he became the Joker, we can see that there is no statement to be made about society at all. Phoenix’s Joker is angry and aggrieved, but all his grievances are personal, not political. His mother is a delusional narcissist and he was abused as a child. He’s jumped by hoods and fired from his job. He pines for people who don’t know he exists or hold him in disdain. From that alone he might be considered a prime candidate for an incel hero, but that’s not entirely accurate. He’s more a character from the social texts of the 50s: An Angry Young Man, a Rebel Without a Cause. He lashes out violently and (somehow) ends up being the clown face of a violent, ostensibly populist movement but doesn’t care about any of that except to soak in the attention towards himself. The fact that the city is being beset by riots and protests is not really drawn on at all as a plot point, nor are the protesters or rioters afforded a communicated message, existing only as backdrop for the Joker’s own emotions. He is not feeding on the city’s energies; the city is feeding on his.

This is the opposite of a political argument.

That this movie is then produced during a time of great urban turmoil worldwide – from the self-dealing corruption threatening to tear our democracy apart, to the populist anti-foreigner rifts forming in the European Union, to extended protests in Hong Kong under China’s increasingly authoritarian thumb – makes it seem like it wants to say something about all that. It certainly carries itself with all the weight of such a dramatic role, and festoons every minute with the iconography of political tumult. That it doesn’t isn’t just odd, it’s at best an opportunity lost. At worst it’s an opportunity deliberately missed. This is likely for fear of offending any of the powers that be – from the corporations that produce this schlock to the governments art is supposed to critique – but a lack of a political statement is itself a political statement: One for the status quo. Indeed, since in this iteration Joker creates Batman and then completely omits a denouement, it must be assumed that the last word of the unease created by this film is intended in a sequel to be a re-establishment of order by… a billionaire industrialist with ties to the police. That’s a fun thought for this day and age.

4:44

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My Facebook has been hopping up and down with the track The Story of OJ on Jay-Z’s new album 4:44,  talking about how ‘adult’ he’s become, and now having watched it about half a dozen times, I can’t help but wonder if this is as ‘woke’, politically speaking, as Jay-Z gets. I mean, its message is pretty straight-forward, if a bit disjointed. For starters, these lyrics are as beat-it-into-you as possible:

Light nigga, dark nigga, faux nigga, real nigga /
Rich nigga, poor nigga, house nigga, field nigga /
Still nigga, still nigga

This is a great zinger:

O.J. like, “I’m not black, I’m O.J.” …okay

And the visuals of the music video are a send-up of the racist cartoons that were household comedy for half a century (and themselves animated versions of racist caricatures of a century before that), but then the second half of the piece seems to be a suggestion not for Black people to uplift themselves but for rich Black entertainers to invest their money, leading to possibly the weakest and most controversial lyric in the piece:

You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit /
You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it

Forgetting the obvious anti-Semitism of the second line for a moment (as well as the fact that “credit” doesn’t rhyme with “did it”), and forgetting the stereotyping involved for the comparison, it also flies in the face of, well, the message of the first half of the piece. If the first half is saying, “no matter what you do or how you conduct your life, you’re still Black in the eyes of greater society,” then how do Black people go about emulating Jewish people?

Sure, there are similarities in two historically disenfranchised people that has resulted in a surfeit of them falling to certain employment categories – entertainment being a common one – for lack of other options, but an obvious schism of cultural assimilation and the ability to do such is a great part of Jewish-American history: In effect, Jewish people, at least in New York City, have breached that barrier and become white. German Ashkenazi came in and Anglicized their names, inter-married and adopted the habits of the dominant culture, turned around and discriminated against their Eastern European counterparts for being “backwards” and sticking to their Lower East Side and Brooklyn shtetls… basically, what literally every persecuted minority in the United States has ever done, including my own heritage of Irish and Tsalagi peoples.

The difference is how society reacted, and it really helps to have a white face: The Irish became white, the Cherokee did not despite continued protestations that they are, and Blacks never can. The extent to which Americanized Jewish people have become white is clear in the age-old Borscht-belt joke about only being “Jew-ish.” There is no such thing as Black-ish. Hell, in this political climate the DuBois double-consciousness question as to whether one can truly be both Black and American comes back to the fore, as it seems the entire country is aligned in erasing the history of our first and only Black President.

Of course, the second line could also just be a more base reference to the stereotype of Brooklyn Jewish landlords, which is itself a controversy that has flared up many a time when it comes to race relations in New York. It’s certainly a topic that’s been played with at least in passing by other Black artists from Brooklyn, such as Spike Lee, though the lyric may not be a conscious attempt to reference such. That said, this lyric –

I told him, “Please don’t die over the neighborhood /
That your mama rentin’ /
Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood /
That’s how you rinse it” 

– suggests this man has never heard of redlining. I know he’s heard of Urban Renewal, for he grew up in the Marcy housing projects, but suffice it to say this shit is systemic.

The first line about strip clubs, by contrast, is pure Chris Rock, which means it’s pure Bill Cosby and plenty of Black comedians before him: The only problem is, yeah, you can save money when you can earn money, and you can’t earn money if you can’t get a good job. One of the major aspects of the disenfranchisement of a people is that merit alone doesn’t land you work: Connections do, and breaking into an industry is hard if you don’t have an introduction – and that’s assuming you have the right skin color – else you’re just likely to see a lot of doors slamming in your face.

Every lyric that follows is about investing,  which when coupled with a rich Black entertainer’s criticism of another rich Black entertainer – and let’s forget the cruel and cynical position that in order for a Black man to get rich he’d better be great at writing lyrics or an even greater athlete – rings hollow.

Cultural Communism

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In her seminal analysis of Adolf Eichmann’s trial for crimes against the Jewish people, Hannah Arendt contrasts the Israeli government’s extrajudicial extraction of Eichmann from Argentina with that of the extrajudicial assassinations of Talaat Bey and Simon Petlyura, by Shalom Schwartzbard and Soghomon Tehlirian respectively, who protested the difficulty of seeking justice over state-sanctioned genocide against their peoples through the most efficacious means suggested (I forget by whom) of disobedience of unjust laws: One must break them and then demand to be punished for said transgression. She argued that the inherent justice in their actions (and subsequent acquittals) was due to the fact that they at the time had no state representative judiciary who could try their case through proper means, and thus put themselves at risk of trial unlike the Israeli agents who kidnapped Eichmann. In this she made a point about the Israeli government’s conduct of the trial – but not its result or their competence to try it – as to the statement however wittingly or otherwise it made about the nature of legal and political representation of a people, as compared to a nation, and the implications therein.

I found that this above other points she made diverged fundamentally from my worldview, for a conceptual reason of jurisdiction. If admission to the international stage of humanity – the existing “comity of nations” – and thus true protection of human rights requires a self-governing homeland, for which all those historically, ethnically, linguistically and culturally linked draw their political representation from – which is to say, the power of ethnic Russians in the Ukraine, for instance, stems from Russia, not their proportion or protection in the Ukrainian polity – then I am, have been, and will always be stateless. Or, rather, I’ve been by circumstance forced to develop a worldview which depends on a different font of support, not unlike traditional Marxist concepts of class consciousness: The rich seek to stay rich, the middle classes seek to become rich, and the proletariat, seeing no means of becoming rich for such a goal is far too distant even to comprehend, seeks equality for all.

This stems from the fact that the Cherokee Nation will never be a nation, for after all it cannot even determine its own citizenry, that power being granted solely from the United States Government’s adherence to their own census, the Dawes Rolls. Indeed, since there is an economic incentive to limit their own numbers in the form of federal subsidy and grants, the leadership of the current beneficiaries of such a system jealously guard induction to preposterously low populations and therefore neuter their own existence. This is also largely the case of Black America, in the sense that the connection with contemporary African societies is quite distant culturally, yet exist as the Ur-minorities in the American polity – a colonized people within the nation’s own homeland. Save for the craziness that was and is Liberia (though unlike us they did elect a female President), the only way forward is to enforce the American Great Experiment of eliminating “minority status” as codified in so many European societies for so long both politically and socially.

By definition, and thanks to being of mixed heritage, I have no choice but to come out against ethno-nationalism in all its forms, for it does not and cannot represent me in any way, and an international stage in which it is dominant is one that will eventually seek to destroy me. Arguably, my very existence is dependent on a system that has already eschewed such a social format and thus is the prime example of, and the largest proponent of, a system that is at least on paper ethnically and culturally neutral. That is to say, I see only one way forward, and that is to continue the Great Experiment because I depend on it, which means not only must I combat any and all administrations that attempt to define the country by ethnic or cultural lines but also must combat any and all who would seek to dismantle the administration for its failure to adhere to any one of a number of economic and political precepts, for this administration is the only one of its kind. Which is to say, I must oppose radical Marxists, even if I am a radical Marxist, for I cannot trust human tribalism not to rear its ugly head during an interregnum.

That presents a philosophical problem, for as Communism is a doctrine that many pundits, like those who would defend modern American Conservatism, argue has never failed because it had never been tried – that Communism has not failed, only that we have failed Communism – so too does this paint me in the corner that radical change is not only bloody and risky – as most radical reform results in disaster, both in the short and long term – and puts me in the direct firing line, thus I oppose it, but that it also means that under any other circumstance my political stance would also by definition be directly reflective of those circumstances and not the position I hold now, which would be a hard thing to argue to others not in my specific position should I seek allies. I am become an anti-tribal tribalist.

But then so too do minorities flock to cities such to the point that cities exist in their own social and political universe apart and distinct from the nation-state as a whole, which only means that, in my personal worldview, I’ve come full circle that my current state of existence – a mixed-blood minority in an ethnically-diverse city in a polyglot nation – is and has always been a mere blip in the long run of humanity, and that the circumstances that led to my existence have only cropped up a few times in history and then only briefly. If history is linear, I have much to fear. If history if cyclical, and it has every indication of being so, present administration included, then all I need to do is eat and die as me.

White Flight

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A personal narrative I thought was more or less substantively true, one that was promoted by the last three mayors or so of the phoenix-like resurrection of New York City from a den of sin and depravity to a modern, crisp, attractive destination, is the effective reversal of decades of White Flight – the domestic emigration of middle-class white families and their tax base due to racism, from federal subsidies for home ownership in newly-constructed yet segregated suburban townships to overt red-lining covering entire districts straight on from the LaGuardia administration in the 30s and 40s. The narrative, it goes, is that once violent crime started going down in the Dinkins administration straight on to historic lows in the Bloomberg administration in the new millennium, domestic immigration of the white, taxpaying types started up again, revitalizing – and gentrifying – neighborhoods en masse, such as Williamsburg and Park Slope. Indeed, Amanda Burden the former commissioner for the Department of City Planning under former mayor Bloomberg was an avowed cheerleader of gentrification, and indeed volunteered her rather contemptuous opinions of current mayor de Blasio’s emphasis on affordable housing – after all, her doctrine was more on real estate values, which meant getting the ‘right people’ into those houses, not getting the right houses for the existing people.

I say “thought” and not “think” because, despite this narrative, White Flight never ended. According to the US census, the non-Hispanic white population of New York peaked in 1940 – the first year the city differentiated between Hispanic and non-Hispanic white people – at 6.8 million out of a total New York population of 7.4 million. It’s at this time that the red-lining efforts were mostly discussing an “infiltration” – the actual term on analytic documents of the time – of undesirable Greeks, Jews, Italians and Irish, as there were only half a million Black residents and only 150,000 people of Hispanic descent. For the narrative to be completely true, one would imagine that the white population would have bottomed out in the 1990 or 2000 census, and then seen an uptick since then. However, between 1990 and 2010, a further loss of 450,000 white residents of New York was still tallied – the last census has the lowest number of white residents in 70 years of unbroken decline at 2.7 million out of a total of 8.1 million, meaning that while the city on the whole only gained ~700,000 people between 1940 and 2010, the non-Hispanic white proportion of the city went from being 92% of the total to 33% of the total… and is still falling, both in ratio and in raw numbers, though perhaps not as fast as it once was.

There is some weight to the narrative of yuppies moving into certain gentrified neighborhoods – aside from Manhattan, Brooklyn is the only borough that saw an increase in the white population between 2000 and 2010, gaining about 40,000 (for an equal loss in the Black population of Brooklyn, which statisticians have argued represents a trend in which they’re leaving the area entirely due to high cost of living and relatively low employment rates and remuneration, rather than a white population that simply relocates to the suburbs) which lends support for a narrative of population replacement, though the city itself noted that domestic emigration, not immigration, remained paramount, and that population numbers were buoyed by childbirth, longevity and international immigration, so those broad statistics can be interpreted in part by the relatively high childbirth rates of orthodox Jewish communities in South Williamsburg and Borough Park as much as homesteading by white yuppies in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.

There is also a more holistic interpretation in that the city is and has always been an entrepot of international humanity, which it then disseminated to the rest of the nation, in which case the truth hidden in the statistical data of a declining white population is that in the first half of the century the largest batch of immigrants were white though of Catholic and southern European heritage, who then flocked to Yonkers and New Jersey and Long Island, and that nowadays the largest batch of immigrants come from Asia and Latin America, who will in turn homestead in the suburbs. Of course, this other narrative somewhat glosses over that so-called ‘white ethnics’ can also be racist and bound by tribalism – the character Archie Bunker was, after all, modeled after creator Norman Lear’s Jewish father and played by Irish Catholic Carroll O’Connor – and so too can new Asian immigrants.

It’s also true that our now-President started his career in racist exclusion in New York real estate, and whose son-in-law carries the torch of a current real estate business model of aggressively harassing New York tenants in order to flip their housing for more ‘desirable’ clients. How to reconcile the prevalence of this practice with current demographic data requires a more in-depth set of interpretations about who exactly is benefiting from such, what the numbers are – what people are moving in and how many, what people are moving out and how many – and where they’re doing these sorts of practices, but a cursory conclusion is that there are still great swaths of the city avoided by capital investment, the people benefiting from such rapacious activities are not very numerous and the people moving out under duress are far greater in number, but not so many as to offset those filling in every bedroom in Bronx and Queens – still areas that are ‘terra incognita’ for the sorts who left half a century ago and never returned.

Angela Carter was right

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Hell, cities have entire personas. Paris is a beautiful woman in her late 40s, once divorced and too smart and self-assured to enter another marriage, but is not against having relations with men on her own terms. New York is a barrel-chested Black transvestite in his early 40s, bombastic and highly theatrical, who doesn’t take shit from anybody. New York and Paris are friends, because of fucking course they are. Paris says some offensive shit sometimes, but New York is used to it and brushes it off as from a person who doesn’t change and can’t harm by it, and while New York openly steals Paris’ fashion choices, so too does Paris from New York, though she would never admit it.

London, eldest of the three and perhaps the most stodgy, yet often invites New York to inject life to his parties. They are business partners, after all, and while the witticisms of New York are almost ad verbatim borrowed by London in other settings, it is indeed London who set New York up in business in the first place. The relationship is far more mutual than that of, say, Chicago, who obsesses over all things New York minus, notably, the “Black” and “transvestite” part. London doesn’t care about such things, so long as the money flows, and indeed they have fruitful dealings and amicably compete over other London proteges, the brothers Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

It is an absolutely subjective observation to ascribe personalities to cities, but it shouldn’t and indeed can’t possibly be controversial to suggest that cities exude a form of cultural zeitgeist that defines and differentiates them – from the banal “standing in line” versus “standing on line” to far more deep-seated issues concerning acceptable norms and tolerances pertaining to them – and with that it’s less a form of accurate depiction as it is a narrative that penetrates to the core. How, after all, does a city where the gay rights movement was launched with a street fight between cops and minority transsexuals (a circumstance that Los Angeles attempted to whitewash, but Los Angeles always was a hater), that founded a musical genre and cultural movement named after submissive male prostitution and oozes gender and sexual fluidity (a distinction London completely missed when copying it, natch), whose most famous mayor’s sexual orientation was left intentionally vague, end up producing our current Commander in Chief, who is almost diametrically opposed to all of that: A crude, incurious, insecure, jealous womanizer?

It’s no surprise Trump hates New York – he seems hell-bent on destroying everything about it, in whole and in detail – but it is a surprise that people are surprised that New York hates Trump, a native son. That’s where the personality comes in: New York is well-adjusted and confident, but that doesn’t mean New York is secure in his position. New York is a savvy businessman, a ruthless pirate, a firebrand intellectual, sometimes broke and often lonely. New York is in love with himself because nobody else is, but New York also brokers straight deals with aplomb and has affairs everywhere. New York is always of two faces, between two realities, where even doctrinaire Marxists learn to hustle; where Know-Nothings share neighborhoods with new migrants who then become Know-Nothings; the only city in America where women have a harder time in the dating scene than men because men are intimidated by aggressive, professional women.

That duality pervades everywhere: Where a law and order mayor can show up in drag one day on a lark (and be promptly molested by Donald Trump), where hoodrat nightclubs that are responsible for fully half the murders in the area have at least one gay night a week, despite a self-reporting localized gay population of less than two percent, and it’s by far the most lucrative night. Where doctors working for the CDC have to ask very specific questions to macho, ultra-masculine alphas who don’t think they’re homosexual so long as they’re giving, not receiving. Where a meat market specializing in one gender by night lends its street frontage by day for butt-augmenting lingerie for the other gender, right on the main strip in a heavily-Catholic sleepy residential neighborhood. New York encompasses all types, and does it in full stride while heading to the office, laughing along with the stupid, misogynistic jokes just so the deal can be struck. New York needs to make that face in order to conduct his business with the world, has made peace with that understanding – London taught him well – but carries on without giving a fuck with the rest of his life.

Trump is at times that face, and that face is what some see New York as, but New York is not that face. New York has many faces for business: Among equals, New York had Morgan, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Bloomberg. New York invented Trump to fleece the rubes, the schmucks – after all, New York wants an empire, and you don’t get an empire by playing nice or fair – but Trump was never meant for New York. A city whose arguably best mayor was called Little Flower, who accepts all and embodies all, who is more than a little dirty and likes it that way, while still emanating class and rarified distinction: This city understands the use of masks because it has to, it always had to; even those of arrogant bullies, but that arrogance drawn inwards simply cannot be. It can be sloughed off and discarded when it has lost its use.

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