Monday, April 7, 2008

City - vs - Everywhere Else

(Note: This post may reveal some of my prejudices, but so be it.)

For as long as I can remember, I have been disgusted with the way the overwhelming majority of these United States are portrayed in the media. The Big Media centers of New York and Los Angeles are populated with people whose view of the nation is (understandably) prejudiced. They live in "The City", and eventually operate under the assumption that "The City" is the the country. Hence we get a media driven phenomenon like the doomed presidential campaign of Rudi Giuliani - "America's Mayor". He was a good guy who did a good job of running New York City - especially post 911, but he had not a snowballs chance in hell of translating that into the presidency. The rest of the country "out here" are not under the same illusion that "The City" is just like everywhere else in the US - a condensed melting pot so to speak. Then there is the accurate, telling and incredibly offensive term "flyover country" which the "cultured" media use to describe the vast majority of the United States where the "uncultured" rest of us live.

There is a fantastic blog which I have been following the past few months, written by an Irish family in an RV, traveling across the U.S. This morning, I read this post wherein this fine Irish gentleman contrasts the America he has found with the America as perceived in his homeland. It is a fascinating description from an outsider's perspective on the nature of the American people. Or at least the nature of the good citizens of flyover country.

I no sooner read this post that I blunder into this story about raising children in New York City. Apparently, having three children in "The City" is now considered to be a status symbol - a way of saying "look what I can afford". This amazing column not only tells us that some see having three (3) children in "The City" as elitist or selfish or unnecessary, but gives an interesting insight into what parental life is like for "In upscale urban areas and tony suburban enclaves". From $800 a week child care to $50,000 a year nannies to hauling children to squash (the game, not the food), it give a glimpse of how "the other half" lives. To be fair, the author is in no way bragging about these things, and is in fact trying to make them seem a bit absurd or over the top - which they are. But that doesn't change the fact that there is no way that someone who loves in that world can understand what life is like in my world.

So next time you hear someone on a network TV broadcast from New York tell about their life and their travails. Remember that, well meaning though they may be, their perspective is unavoidably different than yours.

No comments: