"There it was, the Rome, the Paris, the London of the twentieth century," Sherman McCoy thinks in Bonfire of the Vanities, eulogizing Manhattan from the Triborough Bridge. That was quoted in yesterday's kinda pointless Times piece about the 20th anniversary of the Tom Wolfe novel and how New York is no longer that fractured, dangerous city. But! Maybe New York is actually the 20th Century Paris of the 21st Century! Look at the evidence!
- Strikes! Strikes every week! After the initial blows of the 2003 Broadway musicians strike, the NYU adjunct teachers near-strike, and the 2005 transit strike, the end of 2007 has seen a new golden age of walkouts. Our striking writers are crippling the entertainment industry with no end in sight. Our stagehands nearly ruined Christmas. CBS News writers want to let down America's Sweetheart Katie Couric. The dudes who drive the vans that ferry our elderly and handicapped around are still striking. Now New York's office-building workers are threatening a walkout on New Year's Day! Our great city, the seat of our global empire, crippled daily by work stoppages and uppity trade unionists. Just like in 20th Century Paris.
- Decadence! The shiftless amorality of the idle, wealthy left rules the day in New York, as we all stumble merrily and chemically altered toward the end of the American experiment. But instead of sitting around "cafes" swilling "wine" while discussing "revolution" we pop ADD pills to produce a surfeit of meta-media content on the vast and redundant internet and then use our time off hiding in bar restrooms inhaling stimulants so we can babble about No Country For Old Men vs. There Will Be Blood longer and more efficiently. Not so much like Paris but still kinda the same thing!
- The War On Terror! Our decadent Marxist general-striking '60s Parisians were all against de Gaulle and his Algerian war, just like Graydon Carter and George Bush! And maybe, someday, 40 years after we victoriously leave Iraq, they'll be just as well off as their metaphorical counterparts.
- Hating America! Self-explanatory.
See? Pretty much the same! So let's all wear black and smoke cigarettes and listen to Johnny Hallyday while the world burns.