It’s nice to finally be in the Bagel, a place where the cows have two legs and no bells around their necks. I walk daily around the park two blocks from my house and stick to the Upper East Side in general. The park is by far the best part of Manhattan, and it’s better than ever because of you-know-what. Yes, the virus has chased away the tourists, and without tourists the rickshaws that had turned the park into a free-for-all have all but disappeared.
Central Park is the only part of the city that Bloomberg’s three-term despotic reign didn’t change for the worse. Bloomberg was a so-so mayor but a lucky one. What followed makes him look like La Guardia (except that Bloomberg is even shorter than Fiorello was), but that doesn’t alter the fact that the billionaire sold out to developers. Forty thousand condos and stores for the rich went up, wiping out traditional neighbourhoods. But let’s give Bloomie a break. He spent close to a billion big ones trying to get nominated for president and carried American Samoa as a result. Bloomberg is now somewhere down south, trying to dodge the virus and get Joe Biden elected. (He’s pledged $100 million to Biden and will get a cabinet or ambassadorial post as a result. I expect the midget in London next year.)
Our universal wish is that our children outperform and outlive us, but bums like Bloomberg get a pass when their successors turn out to be even bigger bums. One thing is for sure: this place has emptied out of old Waspy types — true blondes, men in grey flannel suits, even fast-talking Hollywood types. Cultural torpor weighs the place down, relief coming only in the form of simplistic and misleading slogans in the media about race and sex. As the last tourist to get stuck here said: ‘Had I known, I would have stayed in Pago-Pago.’
Where things have definitely improved is the number of shootings. Between 1 January this year and a fortnight ago, 1,204 shootings took place, with 1,482 victims. Last year the numbers were in the mid-hundreds. There have been other improvements downtown, where bands of shoplifters are terrorising Soho’s high-end boutiques and lifting zillions of dollars’ worth of designer merchandise. Louis Vuitton, Prada, Celine, Moncler and so on are their targets. Celine alone was looted to the tune of 1.5 million big ones. I think it’s the best advertisement for capitalism I know of. The high-end stores should follow the example of Portland: hire some of the perpetrators, then pay them a large fee to advertise why they had to steal the stuff.
I went down to the Village with Michael Mailer the other evening and it was a different world. I certainly didn’t fit in. Not that anyone bothered me. I buy my clothes in London, and none of these gentlemen who hit and rob expensive boutiques would be interested in them. In fact, they wouldn’t be seen dead in them. I felt very safe walking around downtown the other evening in double-breasted Anderson & Sheppard grey flannel. People stared at me as if I had just been let out of a loony bin. I think Mailer was embarrassed.
This is what it has come down to: a reverse cultural shift from restraint and elegance to garish vulgarity. If people can be brainwashed into buying ugly, expensive crap, or go as far as to excuse robbery because of systemic racism, it’s a hop, step and jump into swallowing the big lie that our society is one founded on brutal white male dominance and casual misogyny. Post–modernist thinkers without brains told us not so long ago that truth is not universal but malleable. It sure is. The truth I was brought up to believe in had nothing to do with systemic racism or brutal male dominance. My truths had to do with family structure, religion and, most of all, tradition. A fierce dedication to family and country is now considered anathema, like having good manners or wearing a suit.
I enjoyed making a scene downtown for the first time ever. While drinking in an outdoor bar, I noticed some fashionable, righteous, virtue-signalling lefties. How? Easy. I was giving a very un-PC speech to Michael and they all fled as if I were a super–spreader. It made my day — or night rather.
Michael later described my performance as being about as popular as ‘singing the Horst-Wessel-Lied in Tel Aviv circa 1948’. I blame it on the US edition of The Spectator and an article by David Randall that exhorts us to ‘Cease and Resist’. How to fight the tyranny of the illiberal left should be required reading. Freddy Gray has assembled great columnists and writers, and I was following orders when I embarrassed Vogue types with my conservative views. The only trouble was that my buddy Michael Mailer is a lefty par excellence. (Poor boy took a lot of shots when he boxed — he was a top Golden Glover — and he also went to Harvard, an experience that has traumatised more people with high IQs than war, pestilence and LSD ever did.)
Yes, the pandemic has killed many people. But it has bored even more of them to death. It’s time for an uprising against political correctness and the tyranny of the left.
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