Saturday, October 07, 2006

New York centrism

I was in New York a couple months ago, and I admit it's an exciting city, maybe it's a microcosm for the American dream, but it isn't the entirety of America, and sometimes it annoys me how New Yorkers have little awareness of the fact that there's a whole world that exists outside of New York. I think it's annoying how local stories in New York that really only concern New Yorkers like Donald Trump's latest acquisitions and that eagle Pale Male, make national news. I even think that the effects of 9/11 would have been slightly different (not by much) if it happened in Kansas and killed the same number of people rather than New York because it was so close to where the media was. I think it's annoying how people praise the New York City Fire Department and Police Department without mention for the Arlington, VA Fire and Police Department for their efforts in the Pentagon. I heard from someone that the Arlington police department eventually got pissed off at all the donations going to the NYPD for the 9/11 and they eventually got their share of the money.

New York contols the media and so does Los Angeles (but I think Los Angeles is much more sensitive of the fact that it has to appeal to America, they're guided by demographics) and the TV executives in Manhattan either set most of their shows in New York or they set it somewhere else and make fun of how backwards that place is (i.e. Beverly Hillbillites, My Name is Earl). It's kind of odd how with South Park and Everwood, Colorado kind of gets some positive attention because most states that aren't in the Northeast, Chicago, or California or just misunderstood and portrayed along stereotypes. I, for one, did not think Napoleon Dynamite really portrayed Idaho in favorable light and I know that the state of Idaho legislature declared a state measure of appreciation but I still don't agree with them. I think we watched Napoleon Dynamite laughing at the quirky world that Napoleon lived in, not neccessarily with it. I don't think people saw Napoleon Dynamite and wanted to move to Idaho. The theme of the movie is that this guy is very out-of-it and he lives in a very out-of-it kind of place, and yet manages to find love. A movie like Junebug, or Doc Hollywood or Ray or Sunshine State or a Good Year or Cider House Rules do tend to promote the distant and far off parts of our country but they do tend to group them all together, as far-off insignificant parts of our country. I mean, people from Maine or North Carolina aren't that much different from people in New York or Massetchussets.
Like Junebug takes place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which is where the University of Wake Forest is, so it's a college town not that far away from where I went to college. I'm only one state away from North Carolina, and North Carolina is not that far off from Western civilization as the movie makes it out to be.

In short, I think this all tends to get too extreme, in that at its worst, we have one 24-square mile island, Manhattan looking at the entire rest of the country as the quirky and eccentric parts of the country. Look at Saturday Night Live, broadcasting from Manhattan: they have the skits "Good Morning Bronx" and "Good Morning Brooklyn." They don't even go outside the City Limits to make fun of borroughs other than New York, starting points to be made fun of.

My point is that most of the country lives in those quirky less important parts of the country that aren't really representative of America at its finest (like I said, the Beverly Hillbillies are a prime example of this). Every region is a little quirky in its own way. I think if anything, New Yorkers, and LA, and Chicagoans are just not aware of their quirkiness and i don't think they're more important.

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