Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Should Just Let This Go

I'm sorry, but I can't seem to stop being irritated about this story. Or, just part of it.  The stuff previewing the marathon: fine, whatever.  Interviewing Coach Cane: no-brainer.  Esposito's rice balls: Awesome. Been eating them since the days when Jason Gay thought Brooklyn was too far away.

The part that is getting me, specifically, is this:
If anything, the Brooklyn craze has gone too far; the backlash is coming, if not here already. It's become a bit much: the rustic-table restaurants; the real-estate obsessiveness; the suspender-wearing bartenders who dress like they were born in 1883. There are neighborhoods with more yoga studios than trees.
It's not even the laziness of this paragraph that kills me, though if there weren't worse things to focus on, the laziness would definitely be an issue.  Yoga, hipsters, blah blah we get it.

Here's the thing: It's a borough with about three million people living in it -- the most populous borough in New York City. The people who live there are there because of some combination of aesthetic and economic reasons.  I.e., some of them like the scale better, or the proximity to where they work or where their families live, or, hey, sure, the number of yoga studios.  Yes, some people in Brooklyn like to do yoga. Others are there because they can't afford Manhattan, but are doing well enough that they don't have to live in someplace even shittier.  Or whatever.  There are probably something like three million reasons why people live there. 

But now, word comes from on high, from a magazine writer blogging in the Wall Street Journal (!) that ... THE BACKLASH IS COMING.

Which means, what exactly?  What effect is that supposed backlash, when it does come, supposed to actually have in real life?  I joked about it yesterday, but seriously -- are people supposed to, like, move?  Or just feel less psyched about where they live?  Stop writing articles about how cool it is in GQ?  (This is actually the correct answer.)

Will the yoga studios close because the yoga practitioners have all decamped for elsewhere?  I'm not trying to be obtuse here.  I'm trying to actually picture this backlash that this dude is forecasting.  And it's impossible, because it's not going to happen in any meaningful sense, because it's an imaginary idea.

By which I mean, this is solipsistic culture-writer crap.  And on the flip side, the idea of Brooklyn being some kind of mecca for homemade fedora buttons or whatever is also culture-writer crap.  These people need something to to fill column inches with, so they come up with these stories -- "Brooklyn is the coolest place in the world, even cooler than Istanbul and Prague and Berlin, duuuuude!" or "OMG Brooklyn is so totally over. Look at that guy's suspenders." The stories are, basically, made up.  Not to say inaccurate, because their accuracy is fundamentally unprovable and therefore beside the point.  They're confections, basically, which is fine, except that in some cases you can tell that these people actually really believe them.

Here is what the backlash is actually going to look like: A certain kind of journalist is going to stop writing one kind of bullshit story and start writing another kind of bullshit story.  There you have it.

None of which will have any effect on the vast majority of people in the area they're writing about.  Not that it matters.

No comments:

Post a Comment