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The International Writers Magazine: New York Politics

The State We're In Now
• Dean Borok
My insistent negative appraisals of Christine Quinn’s political qualities could lead the reader to surmise that I have been picking on her because she is female, and it’s true that a continual overload of exposure to her bombastic speaking style may have led me to associate her with unfortunate loudmouth New York female behavior that I have long endured. Add to this the fact that her enthusiastic endorsement by all the major media organs as a reasonable and dependable future mayor caused me to feel further isolated.

But I have instincts, and my instincts were screaming out so hard that they were shattering my mind. THIS BROAD STINKS! Omigod, when New York magazine ran a cover piece on Quinn a few weeks ago, they tried to dress her up like a glamour girl, and the result was that she came across like a movie extra playing a receptionist going to work on the Staten Island Ferry in “Working Girl”.

Regardless of my own personal sufferings that have resulted from the mouths of females, I am not anti-woman. I voted for Hillary Clinton three times, once in the primary and twice in senate elections. I always vote for my congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney, and I positively adore the positions advanced in the statements and speeches of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

I am reminded of political newspaper columnist H.L. Mencken, who slammed American politics as a “boob-ocracy” and was compelled to fall to his knees and pray for deliverance during one particularly imbecilic Republican convention (at least, that’s how he wrote it). I myself have been driven to the lowest depths of drunken despair during a campaign that fawned over Quinn’s lesbian wife and Anthony Weiner wielding a giant plantain banana at the Dominican Day Parade.

Obviously, the media interests had a huge economic interest in seeing Quinn receive the nomination, which would result in a victory for Republican Joe Lhota, and a continuation of the Giuliani/ Bloomberg policies that indulge the Big Money while hanging the rest of the population out to dry. The incessant mantra of the reactionary interests is that “the rich pay for everything, and if we drive them out of the city with oppressive taxation (e.g. any more than the 14% that Romney was revealed to be paying), who will pay for city services?”

My response to that, if anybody ever cared enough to ask my opinion, would be that if there was a more equitable distribution of resources, then normal, working people might have some assets to tax, which they now don’t. So the top of the pyramid has to cover all the expenses, just like in the days of the Egyptian pharaohs, but that is because they have enforced an anti-gravity system of economics, where the wealth rolls uphill and then they allocate all the resources as necessity dictates.

Blasio I was going to cast my vote for Weiner, for a laugh, because nobody appreciates penis jokes more than I do, but then A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Election. The population wised up. God knows where this inspiration came from! The two decent candidates, whom I previously only mentioned in passing despair without even naming them, no less – Bill Thompson and Bill De Blasio - surged to the front of the pack, eclipsing Quinn and Weiner.

It was as though Mencken’s kneeling prayer was finally granted! Man, what a relief. This attack of reason on the part of the public had the equivalent impact on me of the Yucatan meteorite slamming into Manhattan, but in a good way.

Bill Thompson should be mayor today if Bloomberg and Quinn had not staged a coup d’état overturning term limits and allowing Bloomberg to spend another hundred million bucks to buy the election in 2009. But maybe De Blasio, with his elegant (for Brooklyn) presentation and his lovely, charming wife and children, not to mention his advocacy of social justice programs, may be better equipped to present a dynamic image of New York on the world stage. I have been saying all along that New York needs a makeover to reassert itself and renew its authority as the preeminent economic and cultural leader of world society. Maybe a De Blasio administration could inspire the creative instincts of New Yorkers the same way Kennedy set off flash that illuminated the world fifty years ago. Why not hope for the best!

Bloomberg certainly hates De Blasio, who has not spared any effort to disparage Bloomie’s stewardship of the city. In this week’s issue of New York, Bloomberg attacks De Blasio for running a “racist” campaign and unfairly exploiting his multi-racial family for electoral purposes. Natural, Bloomie lets his handmaid, Quinn, off the hook for crassly trying to build a power base among homosexual voters (which failed, most homosexuals preferring to address their economic interest by voting for De Blasio, rather than rallying around a stoopid rainbow flag).

Like all big bosses, Bloomberg has got a thin skin, and it must explode his brain to have to endure criticism of his administration from De Blasio, who has no money ha-ha! Bloomie may have been able to co-opt greedy, venal people like Sharpton and Quinn, but his money did not extend far enough to buy the love of De Blasio. He spent hundreds of millions of bucks, but Bloomie is now vexed to realize that you can’t buy New York, only rent it.

In Bloomberg’s New York interview, he alludes to concerns about the legacy he leaves behind him as mayor. No problem. Let him endow a bit of that legacy to me, and I will sing his praises like the impoverished musician in “Satyricon”, who gets paid to compose versus to his rich benefactor at banquets. The next morning, the musician is gone, and so would I be gone. I give the Italians recognition for being the most accomplished thieves in classical history. Basically, what was Rome but a garrison state that consolidated economic power at the point of a spear?  The present Syrian city of Homs contains a large Roman metropolis, the principal avenue of which is lined with pedestals that once held the statues of its Bloombergs, the richest traders and manufacturers. Since the main workforce of their enterprises must have consisted of slaves, I imagine that a proactive human relations manager of that period must have considered it one of his principal official duties to visit the slave market in search of promising prospects, sort of what’s going on today, depending on how you wish to think about it.

After you reach a certain level of wealth, money is no longer your main defining motivation. It’s all academic. A lot of people who have reached the pinnacle of commerce start looking for new worlds to conquer. In Rome, you could petition the Senate to make you a god, and if your social standing and wealth were sufficient, that body would pass a resolution deifying you and giving you the authorization to establish a temple with virgins burning incense and masses of citizens and slaves praying to you for good luck. If you were possessed of a really astute marketing sensibility, you could manufacture cheap plaster busts of your head for ignorant peons to buy at the market to the end of establishing little shrines in their houses in honor of your deific status.

In my mind, Bloomberg is a continuation of Nixon’s doctrine of empowering the middle class, an amorphous mass of idiots that Tricky Dick shaped into a wedge to divide the electorate, the same as he devised his Southern Strategy to appeal to the pro-slavery nostalgia of the Southern States. It’s not a natural evolution of society, but an electoral trick to mobilize a segment of witless fools for electoral purposes.

 So many accepted truths have been discarded as worthless – a self-policing banking system, the information society, multiculturism, all proven to be without value. Society won’t advance by submerging one element to assuage the comfort level of the others. Nevertheless, we seem to be entering a phase of uber-nagging and moralizing that already started with Giuliani and Bloomberg, and seems to be picking up steam with the current eclectic society of pineappleheads. 

W C Fields People like to feel that they’re modern, with the telephones and all, but living in New York of 2013 feels to me like a replay of an ancient W.C. Fields movie comedy. All the elements are present: self-serving rich people; screeching, domineering women; the oppressed, repressed alcoholic male victim, everything except the fun-loving Mae West character who was the only reason to remain alive in that narrow reality. People with a sense of humor are so rare these days, you only read about them in The Post.

© Dean Borok 09.13.13

Gas Attack
Dean Borok

There was a very sympathetic, not to say puff piece, article in last week’s New Yorker about Mayor Bloomberg, in which he is reported to lament, “What’s New York going to do without me?

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