Angry New Yorker

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
The Elite at The New Yorker -- All Hail

I've come close to cancelling our subscription to The New Yorker a dozen times this year, because of its relentless Bush and Republican bashing, but have always waited to see what fresh outrage the NY elite fixates on. But I think I've finally had it. When I started out as a writer many moons ago it was a dream to be "published in The New Yorker." But that was in a different time, with a different New Yorker, and, of course, a different me.

While David Owen's article in the current Oct. 18th issue, "Green Manhattan - The environment needs more big cities", makes many absolutely true and factual observations on environmental thought, and examines how densely-populated, vertically-oriented cities that heavily rely upon mass transit are actually very environmentally-friendly in per capita energy use, the folks at The New Yorker overlook several major points: apartment life is horrible if your neighbors make trouble. And then no one, and I mean no one enjoys commuting on the subway. And more places should be like NYC? which I read to mean crowded, taxed highly and in a chronic state of denial and union give-me's; perhaps from a kilowatt use per capita, but otherwise God forbid.

But in this week's Oct. 25th issue, on page 36, there's "A Reporter At Large - Not Poor Enough", by Susan Sheehan, who has written frequently about welfare and poverty. She chronicle the case of Cassie Stromer "a petite seventy-six-year-old woman" living in Alexandria, Virginia who, as luck would have it, has $300 more in annual income than the poverty line allows, thereby making her ineligible for Medicaid.

To which I retort, too bad. Heartless?? I don't think so, because the first paragraph also says "[s]he has good memories of a colorful past -- three husbands, numerous boyfriends, five children, lots of jobs...." Where are her five children? And I won't even touch the "numerous boyfriends." Yet, I assume, the liberal reader is suppose to feel sorry for Mrs. Stromer's situation, and decry the heartless system that keeps Mrs. Stromer down. The article relates that she pays $45 a month for cable as "[t]elevision is Cassie's primary form of recreation." I pay $24.99 a month for Dishnetwork's basic offering. Mrs. Stromer pays $72 a month in rent. We pay roughly $1263 a month on our mortgage, and that, friends, is shockingly cheap by NYC standards.

Bottomline - I wish everyone could have an easy and satisfying life (sheez, I wish I could have one), but how much should someone be insulated from their past bad mistakes? I say this with no small touch of irony, as I've been wallowing over the past week over the consequences of my own past mistakes. But I'm not asking anyone to pay for my mistakes [though my wife might disagree on this point]. And neither should Mrs. Stromer.

My advice: Mrs. Stromer one of your kids should take you in, and I'd earmark in particular your "'oldest daughter [who] was awarded a full scholarship to Barnard and later graduated from law school." Why is her mother living in "poverty" when her daughter's doing well in D.C.?

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