Tuesday, July 01, 2008

That Super-Ego Negro By The Piano

There were a bunch of links today on New Republic's blog commemorating classic Clay Felker-era articles in New York Magazine.

I remember reading this one when I was 16, around the time I started making clandestine trips out of the Neighborhood and into (Whore! Idiot!) The City, by myself. It brought together all of the class and social distinctions I was grappling with at the time.

Like, Leonard Bernstein and his (beard) wife had a really cool apartment and lots of money, but all their friends seemed stupid and shallow and phony. And the outer borough people, that's where I was from, but I wanted to be from there, not stuck there the rest of my life and fearful and envious of the people with more.

And the Black Panthers, like the other radicals, I liked the way they wouldn't let themselves be defined by The Establishment, but I could relate to what Barbara Walters said to a Panther wife:
"All I’m asking is if we can work together to create justice without violence and destruction!"

Nobody had a satisfactory answer to that question, and a few years later we forgot about all that silly seriousness and went disco-dancing and got drunk and elected Ronald Reagan. And I moved into The City. By myself.

And now that I'm headed towards Grumpy Old Ladyhood, I'm reading this article again and the person I can relate to the most is Otto Preminger:

"You dun’t read anyt’ing! Dat’s your tdrouble!”

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