Maybe You Could Just Apologize?
Imagine your Bloguero's shock when he discovered that according to Conde Nast Traveler the city of his birth, Newark, New Jersey, is rated the most unfriendly city in the United States. Right. And Jackson, Mississippi, he learned,is one of the most friendly? Please. Stop. This is total bs. He wasn't going to dignify this latest insult to the Brick City with a comment. But listen. A few surly employees at the airport do not an unfriendly city make.
Au contraire. If you're from Newark, and in the broad, wide world you meet someone else, someone you didn't know before from Newark, the comradery is instant. Your Bloguero, in fact, everyone, even people from Short Hills and Summit and Livingston, knows Newark is tough. And has crime issues. And housing issues. And employment issues. And corruption and education issues. Your Bloguero is not telling you it's the Garden (State) of Eden. Not at all. But all of those unpleasant attributes, and others your Bloguero chooses not to dwell upon here, mean that when members of the vast Newark diaspora meet in other places, far from Springfield Avenue and Market Street, we're happy to be alive. And we joke, that's right, we joke about coming from Nurk. That we must be like those legendary cockroaches, able to weather nuclear winter and climate change and bad juju and every damn other thing, including Newark winter and its public transportation, and we're filled with gratitude that we're making it, that we're out here, doing whatever we're doing. We're escapees. But all of that does not make the city unfriendly. It does not. It just makes its people friendly.
To be simple, Conde Nasty is taking a cruel shot at the city of my birth. And they do that because they have no clue. And they are entranced by the myth of Southern hospitality. They don't know that behind that smiling, nodding, gracious, Southern demeanor is usually somebody who at the slightest provocation will stab you through your jugular vein with a fork and then tell you, "Oh sir, let me help you with all that blood there."
The other thing to be said is that Conde Nasty is no Philip Roth. They don't know the difference between having character and being bland.