Tuesday, June 7, 2016

New York City ain't America, Mate

In many ways the US remains a strange land to Carey.

He has lived there for 25 years, is a dual-citizen and likens his life in New York to a Saul Steinberg cartoon depicting Manhattan as a thriving, self-contained microcosm looking out onto a bleak hinterland.

Carey says he rarely ventures into the rest of the country unless he's on a book tour.

"I'm terrified of the United States," he says.

Naturally, this fear-bunny is being inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an organization that only accepts 250 members at a given time.  He will, from that influential artistic perch, continue to reinforce this bizarre notion that the United States outside of Manhattan is some racist, sexist, violent, dull-witted dystopia populated by those with low-sloping foreheads.

Speaking as one who has been around the world twice, and represents in his DNA the most marginal of American experience, I regret that this...artist...is so bigoted as to artificially assign fearful, brutally stereotypical characteristics to one of the truly diverse and welcoming nations in the world.  If he would leave the cocoon of his apartment, he would discover unplumbed wonders in human nature.

What a nihilistic age this is, when artists confess their revulsion at 99% of the country in which they live and from which they willingly receive rare honors.