Today, frantic tabloid the New York Post has an op-ed by Nicole Gelinas boldly headlined "The city's suicide epidemic is a myth." Yes, hmm. Where might this myth have gotten started?
Gelinas notes that despite recent high profile suicides like L'Wren Scott and, ah, a bunch of finance people, we must not succumb to "the myth" that "Gotham will punish you eventually." And who is pushing this false myth upon us, according to Gelinas? The media.
It's easy to write false narratives, though.
Anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann offered a doozy in The New York Times last week, writing, "Cities are places of possibility. They are, as E.B. White said of New York, 'the visible symbol of aspiration . . .' But cities also break traditions and fracture families, and they breed psychiatric illness."
This is a startlingly incorrect assertion to make in a New York paper. The less darkly glamorous truth is that the suicide rate in America overall is nearly twice New York City's rate.
I, for one, am shocked that a gutter tabloid like the New York Times would put forth such a sensationalistic view of our city's suicide rate. Contrast that with the measured, responsible, and well-contextualized recent coverage of New York City's paltry suicide by Gelinas' paper of choice, the New York Post:
March 31: Understanding—and preventing—suicide
March 30: 35 schoolkids committed suicide in the last 3 years ("The suicide epidemic among city schoolchildren is even worse than officials suggested last week.")
March 23: 10 NYC schoolchildren have committed suicide in 2014. ("The city's public schools are in the grip of a suicide epidemic.")
March 23: Scott's suicide reveals tragic side of city's glitzy scene. ("While the chasm between Scott's marketed life and her actual life came as a shock, she was just one of countless New Yorkers who secretly fake their fabulous lives.")
March 22: What's behind epidemic of financial industry deaths? ("A spate of eight suicides and mysterious deaths in the financial world so far this year has baffled.")
I, too, blame the media.