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Tom Wolfe has advice for the New York and L.A. Press:
Tom Wolfe says a jarring scene he recently witnessed in Tennessee convinced him that writers who live in New York and on the Left Coast are out of touch with the rest of the country. In the upcoming book, "Telling True Stories," the "Bonfire of the Vanities" novelist says he watched in amazement at a NASCAR race last month as a National Rifle Association honcho got a rousing standing ovation, and was followed by a minister who "asked the Lord to look out for these brave drivers and these loyal fans... in the name of Thy Only Son, Christ Jesus." Writes Wolfe: "Anyone who introduced an event that way in San Francisco or New York would risk arrest for a hate crime. New York writers really must cross the Hudson River, and writers in Los Angeles really must go as far as the San Joaquin Valley. Most of the meaning of America lies in between the coasts, I'm afraid."

Steven Spruiell comments: "I think most coastal writers are vaguely aware of this America, the way most Americans are vaguely aware of places like Djibouti."

After enduring what passes for reportage from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which I once characterized as "a corn-fed version of the Washington Post"*, I'm positive that the problem is not unique to the New York and Los Angeles press.

*I no longer do this; it does the Post a grave disservice.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
huladavid
Oct. 3rd, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
"...New York writers really must cross the Hudson River, and writers in Los Angeles really must go as far as the San Joaquin Valley. Most of the meaning of America lies in between the coasts, I'm afraid."

Yeah, and...?

I have a hard time with stuff like this. Somehow it smacks of "America between the coasts" as the REAL America. Besides, this ignores the America up north & the America out in the middle of the Pacific.

Also, if "New York writers really must cross the Hudson River..." then the same holds true for NASCAR enthusiasts & dopes who'd pimp for Jesus at the race track.

Frankly, if I'd seen what Wolfe describes I'd'a laughed the bozos off the stage.
qob
Oct. 3rd, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
You act as if the folks in Mid America have no idea of what New York is. I would assert that anyone with a TV (and 90%+ of mid America has at least one) has a middlin' idea of what passes for culture there.

"Frankly, if I'd seen what Wolfe describes I'd'a laughed the bozos off the stage."
I believe that makes you part of the problem not part of the solution. There are millions of people who have sincere heart felt faith in Christ, whether you agree with it or not the principles of diversity would suggest you should respect their beliefs.
huladavid
Oct. 4th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
"There are millions of people who have sincere heart felt faith in Christ..."

Yeah, I know. I'm one of them.
wombat_socho
Oct. 3rd, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
I have a hard time with stuff like this. Somehow it smacks of "America between the coasts" as the REAL America.

But that's not what Wolfe is saying at all. He's referring to the fact that the NY/LA media literally have no idea how most folks between the Appalachians and Sierras live, let alone the Samoans, Guamanians and Puerto Ricans -those that don't live in the Bronx, anyway. On the rare occasions when the press types do get out of the airports in Chicago, St. Louis, Denver (or wherever it is in "flyover country" they're changing planes) they act as if they've discovered some weird Stone Age tribe with bizarre social and religious practices.

qob is right - most of us here in the Midwest have a pretty good idea what New York and LA are like, because that's 99% of what we see in the media. Unless, of course, people are dying in mass quantities or soemthing blew up/caught on fire.

huladavid
Oct. 4th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC)
"But that's not what Wolfe is saying at all."

Oh, sorry. I see that now...

"qob is right - most of us here in the Midwest have a pretty good idea what New York and LA are like, because that's 99% of what we see in the media."

Yeah, I'd agree with that, but with the proviso that what we know are the television (movie, book,etc.) versions of what New York & LA are like.
wombat_socho
Oct. 4th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'd agree with that, but with the proviso that what we know are the television (movie, book,etc.) versions of what New York & LA are like.

Even that doesn't begin to cover it. The University of Chicago is easily one of the best schools in the country for a number of things, but academically the coastal media is still fixated on the Ivy League schools. The "paper of record" is the New York Times...but is the Chicago Tribune any worse in terms of its reportage and editorial staff quality? You see what I'm getting at here?
(Anonymous)
Oct. 3rd, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Re:America to the Press: The Truth Is Out Here
At the MN Fair, in the crafts exhibits, there were many pieces with a religious theme. I'm walking along admiring all the hard work when a stuffy type sniffed her nose and muttered" that doesn't belong here". Several of us just looked at her. Obviously feeling uncomfortable, she left. If she was involved in these crafts, she would know that this is a very religious group of people particularly in online groups.
wombat_socho
Oct. 3rd, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
Re: America to the Press: The Truth Is Out Here
I wasn't aware of that myself. In years past when I've seen those exhibits I just took it for granted that people from outstate (and it seemed like most of the craft submissions were from outside the metro area) tended to be more into the religious themes, presumably because they tend to be more observant.
luned
Oct. 3rd, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
I'll be even more unfair; from my conversations with serendip, I've come to the conclusion that the media doesn't know New York City either.
wombat_socho
Oct. 4th, 2006 11:58 am (UTC)
Aside from a very small slice of Manhattan, yes, I'd have to agree with you.
qob
Oct. 4th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
It really seems to me that the much of the main stream media has an amazing lack of curiousity.
wombat_socho
Oct. 4th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
Sadly, yes.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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