Thursday, July 08, 2004

borrowing internet is a dicey enterprise

I was going to write about city culture but I think I'm wrong.
Basically, it was a diatribe. New York, despite being the biggest city in the Union, has no obvious signs of specific local cuture beyond a strange taste in fashion and a few neuroses. This may indeed be true for most of manhattan, but I'm too tired to analyze further.
What it may instead indicate is the obvious- that the culture of place is not easily distilled into a commodifiable entity. In the case where it is (varieties of alcohol, funny skirts, et al), these items usually lose their connection to any local ritual. Where it's both definable and not completely alienable (the weather and shoreline of southern california, for example, or their proximity to mexico, if that counts), this trait is usually diffuse and vague.
That's right, diffuse AND vague. One adjective is not enough description for a writer as poor as I.
In any case, my initial (reactionary) comment is easily refuted by the fact that I could easily recognise a snapshot of a New York street out of a dozen such. Yes, this is urbanism, not culture, but screw you, they're the same. There is a quality, it's just not easy to distill without writing a novel without Gatsby in it or something.
Or something. I'm shining tonight. It's probably just more difficult to recognise culture in New York because cultural traits are unconsious in their purest state, and this is the most self-conscious place I've ever been.
I was in a bar, and the bar had five televisions showing billiards, but no pool table.