It was somewhere between unpleasant and deeply unpleasant to be roaming the streets of Manhattan today, more precisely between 2:45 and 4:45 pm. I was lugging my suitcases across several blocks, damp and straining and coping with Panama City humidity and rainshowers, cabs going off duty, mobs of slow people blocking sidewalks, etc. This town is only atmospherically tolerable in the fall, winter and spring. Forget the late summer. I’m off to Toronto tomorrow morning, and to that prospect I say “thank God.”
Several times while walking alone in Manhattan and Brooklyn I’ve been faced with a do-or-die situation, or more precisely a hold-your-ground-or-run-like-hell thing. You’ve just come around a corner and spotted a group of five or six kids — rowdy, trash-talking, maybe a couple of hundred feet away — hanging out near a stoop or walking in your direction. The first instinct is to reverse course and avoid them altogether. But I’ve stopped myself from doing this knowing that the gang will sense weakness if I do a 180 and perhaps follow me….who knows? The two worst things you can do in a street confrontation is convey too much weakness or too much macho belligerence. You have to be cool and steady and low-key, not seeking eye contact but not avoiding it. Once or twice I’ve turned tail but 90% of the time I’ve manned up and kept walking.
Yesterday and today I was shoved around and name-called by a team of leftwing p.c. mullahs and fascist feminist thugs. It was caused by their simple-minded inability to understand what I said in yesterday’s post about Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon‘s The Central Park Five, a PBS-funded doc about the 1989 Central Park Jogger rape case that I saw two days ago at the Telluride Film Festival. They were alarmed that I seemed to be making a blanket statement about the victim, a 29 year-old Salamon Brothers employee, having “all but asked” to be attacked. I wrote this because I feel she nearly did by exposing herself to serious danger in a really dicey area at a much-too-late hour.
Let’s try it again because we have some seriously thick people out there who hear only what they want to hear and who truly live to take offense and point fingers. Anyone, man or woman, child or oldster, who jogs solo through the north end of Manhattan’s Central Park at 10:30 pm, which is when and where Trisha Meili, the victim in the above-named case, was assaulted and raped, is flirting with danger. Especially if you don’t look like Muhammud Ali of the ’60s and ’70s or like present-day Jason Statham, and double especially if you’re a young woman who’s not Katniss Everdeen and carrying a hunting knife.
Central Park is a dark unlighted haven for all sorts of goings on after it gets dark, especially after 9 pm. I’m an ex-New Yorker so don’t tell me. There’s an “element” out there, Central Park is not exactly flooded with cops, and bad guys can obviously hide in the dark between bushes and trees and wait to pounce. Anyone with half a brain knows this. Trust me — tourists from Missouri and Alabama and Virginia know this. If you must run through the park after dark you need to stay within shouting distance of well-lighted areas. You definitely don’t run above 96th Street when the clock goes into double digits. And if you ignore these rules and do what Trisha Meili did that night in April 1989, you’re not “asking for it” but you might as well be for all the caution and common sense you’d be showing.
The reason I brought his up in the first place wasn’t to beat up on poor Trisha Meili, but because I found it irksome that the Burns-McMahon doc never even addressed the fact that it was clearly irresponsible to expose herself to attack, particularly given the fact that New York City in 1989 was something of a racially incendiary culture. That was all it was…until the mullahs and the fascist goons jumped in and tried to turn it into something else.
Earlier today I asked one of them if they felt that late-night solo jogging in Central Park seemed even somewhat safe to them, and if they themselves would do this if they were into jogging. They didn’t answer but the answers are obviously “no” and “no.” Boneheads.
The mark of an insufficiently skilled singer is to allow your listeners to hear you suck in air before your phrasings. Singers need huge lungfuls of the stuff, of course — the point is to not make a lot of noise as you acquire it. If you’re singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” as Amber Riley just did before the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, you don’t want to start with “Owayghh!…oh-hoh say can you see…?”