Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Decline and Fall of New York

In case you missed it. Journalist Blair Sabol wrote about the decline and fall of New York City for The New York Social Diary. As best I can tell, she has just reached the height of middle age and takes the occasion to take us on a journey through a city whose sense of manners and decorum has been in serious decline:

Forget the commonly accepted basic rudeness, and disintegration of all manners – nowadays if you haven’t already been labeled a racist (or sexist) you haven’t been participating.  And I refuse to blame it all on Trump since I saw this decline happening long before he was elected. Trump is just a reflection of our current society.

A fair point about Trump, and far more intelligent than the usual commentaries we read from so-called intellectuals.

As for the true significance of the downfall of a New York titan, that would be Jeffrey Epstein, Sabol suggests that he make other predators look like rank amateurs:

Jeffrey Epstein has managed to make Harvey Weinstein look like Noel Coward.  The descent has moved that fast.

Actually, Weinstein was pictured 25 pounds lighter, and now has a full team of female lawyers.  He may make it yet. Even Donald Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels now looks trivial. After all, she was big in the porn scene, AND is over the age of 14.

Remember when Eliot Spitzer’s “afternoon tryst” with Ashley Dupré was a jaw drop!  What was more astounding? That he got naked except for his black socks or that Dupré got a Chelsea apartment, a few Hermes bags and got to write a weekly advice column for the New York Post?

Even Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose now seem tame and tired, and that was merely a year ago.  How about Hugh Grant being arrested with Hooker Divine Jones 22 years ago on Sunset Strip? It almost ruined his career.

Or newscaster Pat O’Brien getting busted for making phone sex calls to his 35-year-old assistant at the Four Seasons Bar 15 years ago.  Today these seem innocent.

Ah, those were the days!

As always happens in these lists, the one missing name is: Bill Clinton. Whatever you read about Epstein’s pedophilia, the point of the manufactured outrage is to create enough distraction to protect the reputation of Bill Clinton. It’s a bit like the 9/11 Commission, skillfully directed by Democrats to leave Clinton out of the picture. As it happened Republicans were not smart enough to figure out what was happening … but it’s not the first time. 

Sabol continues to remark on the breakdown of dress codes, as in, codes of proper professional attire:

And though we have been given the okay to dress in pajamas and torn jeans all day and night, we certainly don’t look or even act better for it! But it is a tricky call to criticize anyone’s appearance.

Just the other day I went into a top surgeon’s office and a lot of the nursing staff sported full “sleeve” tattoos, lip piercings and semi-shaved heads.  I realized I had a look of shock on my face as they took my BP and physical history (this visual didn’t at all reflect their professional performance — but again, I am old). I miss the white coats and even the nurse’s caps!  They were all well versed on “wound management” and taught me that Bacitracin is better than Neosporin, It’s a new day!

Thank Sabol for rendering a public service. First, in saying what no one is allowed to say any more. Second, for telling us what is the best antibiotic ointment.

And, of course, she adds a few notes on the decline and fall of civility, on our culture’s descent into what seems to be terminal vulgarity. About that no one is allowed to say anything, so allow Sabol her say:

My other “bad” occurred when I lost my verbal common ground — my civility with some of my fellow men/women.  I still can’t call anyone “dude.” I don’t get the lingo. I reserve that for the Laguna Beach surfing community. I applauded the women’s national soccer team for their sports achievement; and okay, they don’t want to go to the White House. But dropping the “F-bomb” at every turn seemed more “crass and cheap” than “cool and courageous.” Show me something more to look up to.  Aren’t they all supposed to be heroes for young girls?

In the end, everyone seems to be mimicking gangster rap behavior and clothing.  Wearing ripped denim short shorts and backwards baseball caps to receive the keys to the city? And of course, taking “duck lips” selfies while “chucking up the deuces” or whatever the current cool hand gesture is (F-you seems to be our culture’s current salute).

Who else had the chutzpah to say that the American women’s soccer team was crass and crude? 

The problem is: the thrill is gone. The frisson is gone. We have become numbed to obscenity, to the point that we barely even notice it… until the next batch of Jeffrey Epstein papers:

Letting our freak flag fly is unique until it is all anyone ever does.  Suddenly freak flags are mainstream. Even porn is a bore. Sexual perversity is becoming the cultural norm.  The only difference with Epstein is it is a huge business story that comes under the heading “under-age girls.”  I say it’s more than the girls; it is a giant “follow the money” story. All the heavyweight names about to be exposed will keep this story afloat longer than Bill Cosby or Les Moonves ever did.

And since we are told that we must admire women for their achievements, Harper’s Bazaar has a cover photo of tennis great Serena Williams in the almost altogether:

Meanwhile, Harper’s Bazaar published Serena Williams on their summer cover dressed in a giant gold Ralph Lauren cape. The pose was nearly nude — she was flashing her bare ass cheeks and a whole lot more. The headline read “Serena Unretouched.” Okay, so the message is that at last, an athletic, black female body makes a fashion magazine cover. She gets to share her “naked truth.”  The problem is magazines are over, and I couldn’t even find it at my local CVS.

A veritable goddess, don't you think?

That’s right, achievement on the court counts less than exposing butt cheeks on the cover of a so-called fashion magazine.

Anyway, Sabol is tired of it all and rejoices over the fact that she is old enough to ignore it:

So I am old and out of it – and only too glad to take my seat in the back row of the bleachers of life.  Believe me, I need the distance to observe and to catch my breath. A friend just gave me an appropriate t-shirt: “JOMO” emblazoned on the front.  Joy Of Missing Out.

And, the joy that comes with aging.


Sam L. said...

I don't have a freak flag; I have a Weird, Strange, and Peculiar flag. new York: Well, they keep voting in Democrats, so the rate of declining and falling is increasing.

Steve said...

Just a thought.....never did like that serena or her family.....they epitomize everything that is wrong with sports figures


Anonymous said...

As strange and weird as NYC has become it still hasn't fallen to the depths of Portand, Seattle, or San Francisco. Having said that its the difference between Creedmore and Bellview. Which has more and dangerous nut jobs? A difference without a distinction I fear.

Callmelennie said...

In what non-parallel anti-universe can Serena be considered even remotely attractive. She lumbers around the court like a female gargoyle because her knees are shot and compensates with brute force. And all this to get.her to another final where she loses because she moves with the speed of a Galapogos tortoise because of the wear and tear on her knees

On top of that she wears these bizarre outfits on court which over-emphasize her massive upper body. And by the end of a tournament she has a permanent scowl on her face, probably because she really is feeling pain

And yet, this is the face they choose to represent Women's Tennis

n.n said...

Ah, the monotonic decline. Here's to progress.