Saturday, January 08, 2022

New York: Sentimental Journeys

I really thought Adam Shatz was better than this. It reads almost like a parody. Switch out Randall Kennedy for some negro intellectual from 1968. And "...my book on Frantz Fanon." Every fucking base. 
"Notes on a Mugging", NYRB 

"My attackers came out of nowhere on a familiar street and didn’t even take my wallet. But they robbed me of something: a New Yorker’s self-assurance."

There is something morbidly instructive about being beaten up by people who are obviously relishing your humiliation. To read about the pleasure people have taken in cruelty is not the same as experiencing it firsthand.

Before I was set upon, assaulted, and robbed, at roughly 9:15 PM, a half-block from my girlfriend A.’s building in Chelsea, December 17 had been a rather good day. I’d outlined one of the last chapters of my book on Frantz Fanon and felt a surge of adrenaline about the work ahead. Then I took a long, satisfying swim, hopped on the train to Manhattan, and had Mexican food and drinks with an old friend—an otherwise normal New York evening that, in this era, felt almost sublime. As I walked to A.’s building, I put on my headphones to listen to the rest of a podcast conversation with my friend Randall Kennedy, about his new book on race and civil rights, Say It Loud. Randy’s voice was the last thing I heard as I turned right on West Seventeenth Street and Ninth Avenue, where my attackers were lying in wait.

Once I noticed them, I knew something was awry. Suddenly, I was aware of being surrounded on all sides by other bodies that should not have been so close to mine. They were three young men, barely old enough to be called that—sixteen or seventeen, I would guess. Then, almost immediately, I was on the pavement. 

"The victim...was a leader, part of what the Times would describe as “the wave of young professionals who took over New York in the 1980’s,” one of those who were “handsome and pretty and educated,”... who, according to the Times, not only “believed they owned the world” but “had reason to.” 

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