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On Is Brooklyn Better? Has Manhattan Gotten Worse? Revisiting NY Mag's "I Hate Brooklyn" Article Seven Years Later


Well, huh, I never thunk of learnt as British-English; have heard it often in Kentucky and West Virginia though. Mostly older people. List of books? list of writers...not sure they would or wouldn't circle; dialect occurs all over. & sure, y'all is from the South of course; and I was not referring to Jay-Z, a mere slip of a youngster. There's other well known musicians from Hollis...a generation back.

And sure, learnt is improper usage in any territory. But that's how language changes I reckon.

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 1:41 pm 0

On Is Brooklyn Better? Has Manhattan Gotten Worse? Revisiting NY Mag's "I Hate Brooklyn" Article Seven Years Later

Yes, learnt them words and different syntax growing up in Brooklyn. Despite a public school education in the 60s and 70s, I was able to read Mark Twain, HL Mencken, Saul Bellow, Grace Paley and other Americans who cared about American language and regional language use. I got lucky. And I think "all y'all" is famously used by a well known musician from Hollis, which is of course in Queens, but linguistically allied to our Brooklyn.

And I give thanks to the angry 7th grade English teacher who brutally mocked the Brooklyn accent out of anyone who didn't get expelled suspended or ejected from her class. By the end of that year, those who remained spoke with a standard American accent, rather than the thick Brooklyn accent of Coney Island. Even now, when I go back to visit my old neighbors every 10 years or so, they are surprised that I don't sound like them. Each time a surprise. Interestingly enough, the now rare and true Brooklyn accent has been an aid to them in negotiation, as people associate that accent with stupidity; and therefore they've had yet another edge in their real estate machinations.

Accents have been merged and blended via youth culture, or is it just culture? first by MTV in the late 80s and then with all the increasing media blending / music crossover etc. Great & wonderful, but also interesting to see regional differences vanish more and more. Started with radio 100 years ago, no? and then TV / and then MTV...and now? Youtube?

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 8:06 am 0

On Whistleblower: Met Fundraising Tactics Go Beyond Stink-Eye

For 40 years +, I've paid whatever felt right, often less than a dollar when broke, more if working; never a haughty comment or attitude.

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm 0

On Do You Know Why We Tell Ourselves Stories?

Renata Adler - very...Connecticut intellectual, seemingly a near miss always.
[Give me Deborah Eisenberg to get to the heart of the matter with a stake.]
And Joan Didion - from a LA past with different light than now; the stench is delightful. Adler not up there. Sorry.

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm 0

On Ask Polly: I'm Angry At My Mom And I Can't Talk About It!

@clau lamont@twitter
Completely in agreement. Dear Polly, this is incredibly irresponsible. More nihilist than existentialist, nest pas? (faux paw, sic). Why not go to a clinic; a walkin place; a training session w NY psychoanalytic group, a 12 step program, a group therapy session, etc etc. Many resources available. To go into debt for what will be run of the mill mediocre advice anyway is just plain crazy. Get some decent books - Viktor Frankl, Pema Chodren. Get out and walk 5 miles a day. Start a journal. Don't go further into debt; your psychic debt is enough.

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm 1

On The Stupidity Of New York's Long, Expensive (And Ongoing) War On Graffiti

(famous Samo = Basquiat. It was a small overlapped world, just like now. But far more viscerally scary; now it's just a simulacra)

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm 0

On The Stupidity Of New York's Long, Expensive (And Ongoing) War On Graffiti

Nay...as a kid in the late 60s and 70s and a kid in public school in Coney Island at that...I can tell you that the graffiti and graffiti "culture" was terrifying / trains were really scary; and no amount of hanging out with the famous Samo who tagged all over - every single pay phone, train car etc - mitigated the fear that most kids felt when other packs of tagging kids came through. And this not just a white / black || cool / nerd opposition...everyone felt edgy and taken hostage. And there WERE lots of attempts to make spaces available for graffiti artists, and they did take those offers, but the bulk of taggers were more intent on territory and intimidation. Sorry, but this falls under "New York usta be real man" when in fact it was pretty torturously scary.

Sure - Lindsay, Beame, etc...jerks - but taggers - likewise considerably jerky too.

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm 1

On The "Retrenchments and Narrowings" of Salman Rushdie

I read the book a few weeks ago; I think Mr Rushdie is not unaware of how pompous he is / insensitive he was and is / foolish about women and wives; but he's rather like his friend Christopher Hitchens - one might vehemently disagree with him, find him awful, find his fiction and other writing florid and too neatly mannered, but underneath, there's a lot going on; there's some thought and a strong point of view, and that makes up for lots of lacking, like Padma Lakshmi etc.

And his ex-wife's novel, John Dollar, is a fantastic piece of writing; dedicated to him I seem to recall; and it does sound as if Marianne Wiggins truly wigged out / to the nuthouse; some of it the pressure of the situation, some of it the pressure of being married to a prat...a prat with mixed ability, but whose work is certainly worth slogging through. Read the book. NYRB not so great 'on the side of history' anyway.

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm 1

On Ask Polly: Should I Make The First Move?

@Paul B@twitter
Excellent advice, esp re get a great place / do lots of outdoor stuff, and RIDE YR BIKE...all the time! There's a great Asian Market in West Hartford, with the delightful name of A Dong...fill up yr grocery cart and figure out how to make all kinds of interesting stuff. There IS a decent art world in Hartford...make what you can of it. Schedule things w yr wife; prosaically schedule things such as 'talking about where we're going to be when we're done with this hitch in Hartford' / ' where do we want to be in BOTH our careers in 10 years' / ' how can we keep having fun together', etc etc.

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 8:33 am 0

On Is Brooklyn Better? Has Manhattan Gotten Worse? Revisiting NY Mag's "I Hate Brooklyn" Article Seven Years Later

This is the continual lament of New Yorkers; all you youths go through this - it's called "aging". The thing that's strange is the entry ticket price gets higher and higher, the prior generations financial ceiling is the new generations floor.

We either stay or get out, and look in horror, as I, a Brooklyn native do, at the entry level cost. And FYI, we've been doing all the groovy Brooklyn things literally for generations....beer making, wine making, pickling, gardening, bike riding...we LEARNT all this in Brooklyn...the new Fakerjack hipsters didn't invent it...it was THERE and all y'all just appropriated it. We've spread it out through the rest of the world as we went forth.

And hey, as a Brooklyn kid who got chased through all the worst parts of New York, as unhip as it is to admit this - I don't mind the reclamation of death zone neighborhoods. Yes, there are some people being pushed out; but also there is a lot of energy and industry and life coming in. It's nice to see. Though made in China etc "Brooklyn Industries" is bullshit.

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm 2