Tuesday, August 09, 2005

We're Number $even!

The New York Post's politics and journalism are of course vile, not even worth discussing. But I am interested in the way the Post presents New York to its own citizens, because it does something you'd think would be utterly unnecessary. The Post is head cheerleader for New York, never letting us forget that we live in the Greatest City on Earth, and — especially — never allowing us to doubt that. Any put-down of the city or even a suggestion that anything or anyone here might not be the brightest and the best is quickly dispatched.

I wonder whether it has ever occurred to the Post's editorial board that there is nothing so indicative of a second-class city as continual insistence that it is not second-class, particularly by means of dubious claims to uniqueness. Seattle may not be as glamorous as Los Angeles, but does Los Angeles have the Space Needle? Hey, St. Louis: nice arch! The only thing that could make New York seem like a second-class city is to enter into this kind of stupid competition, and the Post fills out our entry form daily.

The Post's August 3rd edition contained a particularly loud but also illuminating example of its mindless, pointless boosterism of New York. It seems that GQ dared suggest that New York is not one of the world's four greatest cities for restaurants. Of course, a real New Yorker, a citizen of a truly first-class city, would not give a fuck what GQ has to say. And someone of even modest intelligence living anywhere at all would understand that such articles are designed to be mildly controversial. The Post is incensed, though, and trots out Anthony Bourdain as if to say, I got your steak tartare, right here.

But it gets worse, because the intern from some suburb assigned to research all of the reasons New York is the GREATEST GASTRONOMIC CITY IN THE WORLD came up with four separate space needles.

Only the tourists eat at Olive Garden.
You know what? Not true. And anyway, what does the Olive Garden have to do with anything. But note ...
Even our malls — such as the Time Warner Center — have world-class four-star restaurants
... that in defending New York as a world capital, the Post finds it necessary to mention its malls and its Olive Gardens.
Only in New York could you have a "Zillion Dollar Frittata," a $1,000 omelet made with eggs, lobster and 10 ounces of servuga caviar.
Aside from being disgusting both gastronomically and morally, this is almost certainly untrue. I bet I could get one in Vegas. At 4AM. No problem.

But my favorite is this, which is just so Post.
There are nearly 18,000 restaurants in N.Y.C. [...] That's about one restaurant for every 40 people who live here.
Indeed it is, as long as only about 720,000 people live here. What the intern found out is that the city has about one restaurant for every 400 people who live here, but I guess the Post felt that was kinda crowded.

A further sidebar whines that "Oceana's Maine skate is apparently subpar to dishes in Los Angeles or Madrid. What were GQ editors smoking?"

Probably big, fat Cuban cigars, expensed, as were their dinners. A three course meal paired with wines at Oceana will run you $125. For a couple, with tip, that's a $300
meal. Now what I wonder is, how many faithful Post readers are dining at Oceana or Les Halles? It's entirely anecdotal evidence, but I'm going to suggest that Post readers are much more Gray's Papaya types. And I'm betting that the Post's editors know this, too. Maybe they even discuss it over dinner at Les Halles.

Why would Murdoch and his henchmen want their Garfield- and Michelle Malkin- and 3rd-race-at-Belmont-reading subscribers to swell with pride to think that restaurants they will never set foot in are better than those in Madrid? Keeps a solid base of domestic help in the city is what I'm thinking.


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