New York City is a nice place to visit, in our experience, but in accordance with the old cliché we wouldn’t want to live there. Despite all the undeniable attractions that make the Big Apple such an appealing place for a short vacation, our feelings about the city were best expressed by Buck Owens and his Buckaroos when they sang “I Wouldn’t Live in New York City (If They Gave Me the Whole Dang Town).”
One could go on at length about the traffic and crime and overcrowding and high rents and excessive taxation and regulation, as New Yorkers so often do, but perhaps the most telling example of how very unlivable New York City has become is its upcoming municipal election. Currently leading in the mayoral race is a former Congressman who was forced to resign his office after photographs of his underwear-clad genitalia that he had “texted” to various to women surfaced. In the race for Comptroller, a position that is apparently of potential importance, a former governor who was forced to resign his office after revelations of his whoremongering is leading a field that includes his former madam. In a city with more than eight million people, there are apparently no equally qualified candidates for these posts who are not tainted by sex scandal.
At the risk of sounding like some bitterly Bible-clinging prairie denizen, which we admittedly are, this strikes us as an especially sorry state of affairs. An argument can be made that public exhibitionism and a predilection for prostitutes do not preclude talent for municipal politics or comptrolling, but surely such a large city should include few candidates of similar abilities who are not exhibitionists or whoremongers. Even in our own provincial outpost of Wichita, with a population of about one-sixteenth of New York City’s, we manage to comptrol ourselves without assistance from a known whorehound or his procurer. Our mayor is prone to those fishy “public-private partnerships” that are currently fashionable and is nothing to brag about, we must confess, but at least we’ve never been exposed to any self-portraits of his private parts.
Perhaps we are being oh-so-parochial in our harsh judgments of soliciting prostitutes and transmitting semi-pornographic image to casual social media acquaintances, but we’ll not allow any New Yorker to say that it’s because our hometown is so unreasonably prudish. Smoking has been banished from the bars but it is still tolerated on the sidewalks, salt shakers are still found on every restaurant table, fat people are not a matter of public concern, and all manner of political opinions that would be considered beyond the pale by polite New York City opinion are not only tolerated but regarded as common sense. We can also muster an appropriately feminist argument against whoremongering and exhibitionism, and not just some musty appeal to millennia-old wisdom, and do not feel that our hipness is diminished by an aversion to prostitution and smutty pictures imposed upon young social acquaintances.
Besides, we are old enough to recall a pre-Bill Clinton era when our hairy-legged feminist girlfriend was railing against Sen. Bob Packwood’s undeniably and creepy off-color comments made him unfit for public service. Old-timers will recall that Packwood was a Republican, and the whoremonger and the exhibitionist in the New York City elections are Democrats, so perhaps that explains the difference. In any case, it seems that both traditional and progressive standards of behavior are being compromised by the elections in New York City.
It’s none of our business, we suppose, except that even around here someone will occasionally say that “Well, that’s the way they do it in New York City.”
— Bud Norman