Having interviewed a number of unlikely subjects while working for the Wall Street Journal Europe, a few years back when there was still a lot to believe could be fixed and/or healed, I decided to interview the subjects of a humanistic debate now taking place in New York City, the place I am trying to make my home, but it's HARD.
As locals know, there is a movement to get rid of the horse-drawn carriages that work Central Park South just across the street from where I live. I have spoken to a few of the horses, and asked the more attractive of them if they have been abused, and they all said "Nay." The truth is I don't think the very tall Bill de Blasio, who has had a tough beginning, what with the worst winter in recent and maybe even distant history, understands what sentimentality prevails along those fairly well-manicured borders, in his haste to seem genial. Also I am not so sure that tall means Big, either in heart or spirit. My little potted fleurs that I put outside because I, and they, hoped for Spring, collapsed at the throat and now droop dejectedly on my Keyboard, with little chance for re-awakening, I don't imagine, as the Keyboard doesn't either.
But I am sad for the city, and probably the country, as Obama sets a very dejected standard for leaders since he really didn't seem to know what he was doing with a number of things, especially insurance, and anybody who isn't Anyone is in trouble with medical, unless they have money. My friend, the angel Carleen is temporarily less imperiled than most, because she lives in the city, which doth take under its wing, but only to a certain extent; everybody else, even if they are working, has to stretch a paycheck which doesn't cover it, not with the price of the subway and food, especially if they have children. So what does this mean? Could we possibly have been better off with the cipher Mitt Romney? Truly inconceivable.
So back to the horses and carriages. From all indications New York as New York will only survive with the help of tourists, who don't know enough to be outraged. Therefore we must save the horses, and I don't know where to begin, because you seem only to be effective in New York City if you are well-connected. And to be well-connected, you would have to have lived here which of course I haven't done. This whole arena is a puzzle.
Still there are greater areas of confusion, many of them manifested in the Arts. I finally got to see the whole of the not-so-Great Gatsby, having walked out of the theater twice before our Hero's actual entrance, Baz Luhrmann having so sickeningly overdone everything from the get-go. As a convicted English Major I could not endure the company of what was on the screen. I wonder sometimes if these people have actually been able to read.
But laid out defensively against this insufferable winter, I did at long last endure all of it. I remember Stanford and Huhbie Merritt- with whom I studied Anglo-Saxon which everybody needs, right?- or at least you had to to get your Masters there, whose real name was actually Herbie, but his Southern accent was so thick as to transform, who had been at Princeton with F. Scott Himself. And he asked me what I was doing wasting my time in graduate school, as he had seen the demonstration of writing success not being about education. In the same way, Gatsby, the movie, proves that success as a film director has naught (I shall speak High English) to do with discrimination, as over-the-topness is the order of the day, and it is, in plain language, disgusting.
Worst of all, having recently seen The Wolf of Wall Street, impressed with Leonardo di Caprio's comic gifts, I was forced to conclude that he is miscast as a romantic lead. Understand that I have all my life been riveted by screen heroes, even the weak ones. So it is surprising to discover that he doesn't work as such. At least not for me. And the constant repetition, his calling everyone Old Sport, -- his curious pronunciation making it sound more like 'Old Spore' --causes them to seem like a growth.
Carey Mulligan, whom I spied in minor parts in a lot of her earlier films, and thought adorable, is beyond disappointing. Acting: over the top, which it's really easy to do with your hair bobbed.
Oh, well. There must be something to look forward to. Spring? Wilt thou ever come, to unwilt us?