Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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November 22, 2006

A belatedly read review of Marshall Berman's new one now brings to my attention the following Colson Whitehead quote:

No matter how long you have been here, you are a New Yorker the first time you say, That used to be Munsey's, or That used to be the Tic Toc Lounge. That before the internet cafe plugged itself in, you got your shoes resoled in the mom-and-pop operation that used to be there.

You are a New Yorker when what was there before is more real and solid than what is here now.

Or, as it was put by a windbaggerous commentator elsewhere:

Long term residence in NYC teaches, I think, that one’s sense of belonging in and to the place paradoxically increases each time another beloved building or neighborhood there is eradicated. You become a New Yorker when you stand across the street from something transformed or gone and want to cry tears of outrage, affront and grief for reasons both personal and universal. Maybe NYC only truly resides in the composite of memories of everyone who’s ever felt that way.

There's probably something I wanted to say here about memory -- its power and importance, its relationship with imagination, about the interplay between presence and absence, about longing, nostalgia, history, desire, dreams, mourning, loss and hope, about Proust, Being and Nothingness and O'Hara's "In Memory of My Feelings." But I can't remember what it was.