“And now, here’s a look at the world beyond New York.” Pat Kiernan, morning anchor at NY1. It was very easy to succumb to the New York-centric mentality (New Yorker cover). “There’s a world beyond New York?” After 11 September 2001, even my old friends back in the Midwest knew everything that was going on in the city. The effective world was New York. That soon faded, and I’d talk about various city-related things but I’d remember, oh, I guess the national news is back to being national. These days, I still can’t muster up the interest to read the local papers because I like to believe I still have a vested interest in New York–slanted news.
To a great extent, us Americans are a little too preoccupied with ourselves, even now. Thomas Friedman talks about the reasons for 9/11, and I admit it’s eye-opening for me, even though I like to believe that I’m already aware of such things. But it always comes back to a single statement: “There’s a world beyond New York?,” even though it is plain that I’m surrounded by (hills|mountains) and more greenery than in the NY Botanical Garden, but more to the point, I’m still a Chicagoan at heart.
Fact of the matter is, I prefer illusion to despair, to paraphrase the great Nelson Muntz. The world continues to turn, the old adage “never get involved in a land war in Asia” still resonates, but March Madness reigns supreme. Only now, Pitt fell to Marquette, so there will be no joy in Mudville. That’s one less distraction from “the world beyond New York,” which means it’s back to such middling concerns as the war on Iraq, not to mention signs of the impending collapse of civilization and the inevitable Stand-esque showdown between good and evil. “M-O-O-N. That spells ‘stop this ride, I want to get off!'”