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The American Scream: Going Hoarse Without Speaking

Posted on Jul 24, 2011
AP / Julie Jacobson

Attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas walk by a display of HDTV screens.

By Christopher Ketcham

It is clear that nowhere in American commercial life, save perhaps the graveyard, is there a space not polluted by electronic voices. Every bar and restaurant, every airport lounge, bus depot, train station, every doctor’s or real estate agent’s office, every schoolchild’s welcome in the cafeteria, perforce, is larded over with the tin drum and tap and pan-banging and squeaking-squalling-keening of idols, the caviling of news-clowns, the gibberishing of marketeers. Everywhere is the grin-voice of the announcer, salesman, pitchman, sentimentalist, guffawer, crooner, rabble-rouser, tit-wagger, offering always information that leaves one dumber upon hearing. The world as presented in this mosh of nonsense is endless goof and boof, pratfall, infantilizations, the tin cans of the latest news gonged. It is the great horror of the modern, and to resist it is the duty of civilized men.

Silence is anathema, perhaps dangerous, as it might invite boredom, or, worse, introspection, and by God the public must not be bored or suffer self. The cellphone and iPhone and BlackBerry and whichever other electro-leeches at hand are key in this mess. Like little tyrants they screech and demand a hearing; like infants they wail at all hours and must be assuaged. We plug them in our own faces like pacifiers.

It seems we must have noise to recognize we are civilized. Or, perhaps, noise allows us to hide our uncivilized ways. We shall not hear farts, shifts in the seat, the growling of stomachs, the mediocrity of murmurs, the crinkle of shoes that stink, the perverse imp habit of talking to ourselves—it’s got to be cacophonied out—or the mass murder of citizens overseas, or the wars that send our young to mental and physical death-in-life, or the subjugation of entire classes of the poor to the control of the rich.

Let that lone voice speak in the darkness of the unknown crowd and get no answer back—the terror of comedians and actors, the multiplied terror—and damn him who stands there with his dick in his hand. Let the man speak alone and find the crowd against him—the ultimate terror. Let it never happen that the man speaks alone. Drown him in noise.

Therefore, per usual with the Web, I offer alternative noise.

I’m in the apartment in New York City working on the novel. That I am in New York City is only due to the woman I love, so dearly, beyond all loves, because she wants to be here, and I want to be near her, I want it to work out, I want our marriage to make sense. But I do not love the city that she loves. I hate the city. I hate everything it stands for. Because it is the source of the great noise, the infantilizing noise, that echoes across the fair land.

I hate its cheap stupid marketeering. I hate its love of money, and money, and money. I hate its little boys with money masquerading as men. I hate its fraud and its lies and its cowardice. I hate its ad men and its corporatist newsmen—is there a difference?—and, most of all, most deserving, its financiers plundering the labor of the great mass of those who do real work. I hate Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his parasitic riches. I hate the darkness of the false light issuing from televisions and cable connections. I hate even the moon that gets shunted on the city’s glimmering—I think that the moon is a manufactured thing, a prop, and over the horizon it is pushed by seven grinning monkeys waiting for a paycheck. I hate the squalid simpleton gimcrack cheese-whiz managed by the shareholders in the corporations that make New York the home and meaning of all life on Earth, which is the life of the shareholder. I hate that the meaning of all life in New York is the making of money. I hate that the money-making makes so much noise that means nothing.

So, of course, I’m in the apartment doing nothing worthwhile to change things, which means working on the novel. It’s a novel about a terrorist gang that kidnaps, in the words of my lead terrorist, the “motherfucking piggies,” who run investment banks across the river from me. It’s called “Killing the Banker” or “Shooting the Banker,” I’m not sure which. It’s really about class warfare. My problem, in writing it, is that terrorists who kidnap motherfucking piggy bankers and disembowel them, spreading their intestines on YouTube, are not protagonists that the motherfucking piggies in the publishing industry—themselves tied financially to the motherfucking piggies in the finance and banking industries—are willing to embrace. 

Or perhaps my writing is no good. Who knows? The piggy marketplace will determine these things. And as for the voice, human, strange, drowned out by the noise?

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By hogorina, November 1, 2011 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


We can comb America from North to South, and still
find a race that loves peace and security,
wherein liberty is defined in the Declaration of
independence. Whenever a race claims to be secure in
its material possessions, then such mankind become
fools. Any citizen of these now
enjoying being a mental slave of this Disunited
States of Amerika is an outright coward, and a
menace, in willingly supporting a national government
being held in political reins, as universal
Bolshevism makes its final stand.
For sure, after 1954, the late President Eisenhower,
suffering from early dementia, and the late pro-
commie Earl Warren of the Supreme Court, took orders
from a specific nest of international financial
gangsterism. Yes, a race of cowards stood by and
watched political gangsters in the highest realm of
State make war on the families of all nations
combined to make up our republic. Now is the time for
all of a creator’s children to turn the tables upon
eastern world anti-western world religious
ineluctable ( subhumanoidism’s ) determination, to
literally allow this Asiatic onslaught that had
originally taken place in ancient Asia. This specific
seed line to harbor any of western world’s
civilization is demonstrated as to America being
leveled through inverted political whoredom, as tied
to various interfaith religions.
No doubt about it, we have millions of humanoids
within our national borders, these slackers suck the
State dry as literal parasites; and all tax payers
are being bled white from an universal syndicated of
money-managing social engineering in bringing America
down unto a Third Word Banana republic. Absolutely
this is a spiritual war and nothing more nor less. In
For sure, humanism is a movement towards universal
socialism. Most humanoids flock together, in creating
a national network of free-loading parasites under
national and state governments. One can drag a vast
net across America and will pull in millions of
subhumans being entitled to one monstrous paternal
outlet called Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam is broke now, and
parasites want to level a nation to a no-man’s land,
in the hands of mobocrats. Searching through this
maize of human drift wood, we will find only a hand
full of men !
The late Karl Marx, contrary to higher education’s in
determining the opposite, did have a religion. Marx’s
political philosophy paralells that of the Talmud.
There are hundreds of Gods on the this earth—
Communism is thought control; without free speech and
its natural guardians, our Republic falls by the
Decades past, a powerful warrior burst forth speaking
these words, ” When human hearts break, when human
souls despair, then from the twilight of the past, a
withering hand is held
forth–woe unto those who do not take heed.’ “

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By ardee, October 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

hogorina, October 27 at 8:45 pm

I wonder at your desire to brand yourself a raving idiot?

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By hogorina, October 27, 2011 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Live in redone school bus. share cropper with eight
children. Education from TV commercials. Wife is ex-
pole dancer. Her father was a former dirt farmer.
Both of us are Democrats. L.B. Johnson is our alter
ego. Our ancestors came to America with hats in
hands. We are born again mental slaves and trying to
avoid the ghetto life.
Hobbies are fish’n and drinking. Medicaid saved our
way of life with extra money for booze and idle time
to enjoy the fruits of others. America is the land of
milk and honey. Thank goodness for those tax payers
of whom give us the good life, We love the
Constitution and the rights to march for more bread
from Uncle Sam.Further, two sons want to be lawyers
and two want to be police officers. One daughter
wants to be a firemen.One son wants to be a building
inspector where the political graft is a Heaven on
earth. Our motto is let the government do for us what
we are too shifty-minded to do for ourselves My
advice to the suckers of whom pay the taxes and fight
wars is to study ruling systems via Machiavella’s (
PRINCE ). Bleed them for all it is worth. I belong
to the global Interfaith movement and along with my
peers.Religion and democracy is the going thing
today. Incidentally, my wife was expecting triplets
before she hit the road.

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By hogorina, October 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


The well above average outhouse scholar has had his
mind poisoned by higher education. Generally, this is
pseudo liberalism. Such want to be mattoids thinks on
upon the level of lunacy. Dr. Sigmund Freud, coined
such personalities as somewhat suffering from a form
of self-induced dementia, as supportive with ”
Personality Suppression Complex Syndrome “. Lawyers
are well versed in the field of verbal jargon.
Consideration in sustaining a normal disposition is
to stay away from legal buggery via the verb trip,
and follow any given subject. 
All said and done, let’s push personality disorders
to the rear, and perceive atmospheric conditions that
prevail and surfs along national society that smells
of these legal body snatchers, ambulance chasers.
Collectively, this profession is a psychotic minion,
lice, zombies, of sordid flesh and housed within such
bodies a home for the living dead. Their prolonged
disposition is to attach individual desires, in
procreating, transposing, nature into a look-a-like,
corpses, hustling along with valises, filled with
torts that gaurantee outright robbery of helpless
souls. Socrates, ( 382 BC ), denounced these vipers
as plagues of society. 
The late, Clarence Darrow, internationally known
criminal trial lawyer, noted: ” Never trust a lawyer
“. The most upper thought of these body snatchers is
to never give a sucker an even break, nor a chump
another chance. These verbal-slingers uses Satan’s
chief legal weapon. 
One must inquire as to the relationship, and this
class of professional liers, have in common
with protecting mother nature, in general too, is to
consider the odor of the walking dead, and the
bacteria of soiled clothing and unbathed skin. An old
maxim, ” The dead know nothing ” is contrary to
reasonable attention. A soul dead in heart and
consciousness is a walking freak of nature.. Observe
many of these creatures slurking from bar to bar
thirsting for alcohol. The above average lawyer, and
eventually to become judges, are known as a quart-a-
day shysters. The only conribution to the living is
to literally suck the blood from the ignorant and
super ignorant, and the fools of whom would openly
consort with one of Lucifer’s representatives. Over
verbalization is a trap for inattentive minds! 

It is impertinent that level-headed citizens be
forewarned of this legalized iniquity of hell, thrust
upon any civilization. Some years past, a cellilord
flick was on the market, ” The Walking Dead “. It was
well known that no lawyers would be hired as stand
Since 1954 when our pro-commie Supreme court wrestled
all children from the hearts of their parents, our
contemporary society consists of cowards. Yes.
indeed, this generation over the years, have been
convinced that the family unit is not a necessity, in
sustaining our republic as a free and independent
nation over the globe. A clear comprehension of this
statement maintains a rigid warning through out ”
Alice in Wonderland ” concealing the general attitude
that Devils do exist and courtrooms are their main
lair in railroading the inarticulate masses into
believing that natural born lairs do not control a
republic, that is going down into the pits of
political anarchy, while incipient communism holds
its reins

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By Diane, July 31, 2011 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To me the point he was making was how modern civilisation has colonised us so that we can no longer really find ourselves in silence. Silence, the doing nothing, which can lead to boredom, which can allow creativity to flower. Not the artifical creativity where the ego insists on creating more objects which increasingly have no meaning are repetitions of other forms, but the creativity of exploring the true self.
Those who live in cities are often so acclimatised to the noise pollution that they feel uncomfortable without it, its the buzz, but its buzz that masks the anxiety, which masks the inablity to connect to ones real emotions, to feel empathy with the world, because you can feel empathy to yourself.
I dont think he was really singling NYC out could be any city

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By GoyToy, July 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Nothing like waking up to the chirping of birds

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By DaveZx3, July 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

In regards to Billy’s and Hulk’s posts, the seeming total insignificance of man within the scope of “all that exists” seems to me to validate the existence of a purposeful design to it all.

Consider for a moment that “all matter that exists” is put in place solely as a classroom for individual spiritual minds to comprehend a few eternal facts, with one of those facts being how insignificant we, as individuals and even as a whole species, are in relation to He who created it all; then I would say that “all matter that exists” is certainly serving it’s purpose well. 

It has always been mind boggling to me that in all our looking into the smallness of things, we have not yet comprehended the smallest, and in all our looking into the bigness of things, we have not yet comprehended the biggest.  I believe this will never change, and represents the futility of basing reality on “all matter that exists.”

The noise created by busy people and their multitudes of merchandise restrict our mind’s ability to learn those eternal lessons. 

For me at least, the lessons seem to come into focus when the senses are disabled, and I can spend considerable time meditating on absolutely nothing. 

I don’t think you can trust your brain to teach you anything new.  It has too much baggage.  The truth comes from listening to the faint voice of a deeper source within you.  The purpose of all the noise is to drown out that faint voice, as if there is another faint voice saying, “don’t worry about learning any eternal lessons”. 

I realize I am regurgitating some pretty pathetic images here, but maybe the truth is revealed through persistence of image, and the message is, “when you’ve found the truth, you can quit looking for it”

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By proletariatprincess, July 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

I enjoyed this essay.  It was a good read.  It made me think about the power of music and sound to effect our lives and especially the kind of music we listen to regularly.
Nothing seems to divide us more naturally the what we like to listen to.
When I was in high school, everyone loved The Beatles and rock and roll.  I only wanted to listen to classical music and really disliked rock music.  I avoided the most popular music which meant that I avoided most of the experience of my classmates. 
I still want to listen to perfect harmony while rock and pop music engulf the whole world.  I feel out of it and glad to be because I have a theory that.  I think that too many hard ugly dissonent sounds create unhappy hard dissonent people.
...just a theory….

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By Hulk2008, July 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

To Billy Pilgrim:

  And despite mankind’s miniscule size and impact, the Creator (the uncaused cause, the one who made The Big Bang, He who designed he rules of physics) chose to have His own Son join mankind as one of us insignificant specks of dust.
  Mankind’s goodness is an inherited trait - a gift of purest love in spite of our actions.
  Remember the quote from “Alien”:  “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
  Thank God for blessed silence.

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By Sarah, July 27, 2011 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In truth and fairness, let’s not forget that the apartments of any big city, and NY in particular, use far less energy than a country cabin, and that the crime rate in NY is lower than so many rural communities which have been ravaged by the circumstances of modern America.

Yes, Greenwich Village is ‘greener’, and safer, and has fewer drug addicts than Santa Fe, New Mexico, for example.

I too detest the marketers, the economic rapists and the greed of NY. But I love the neighborhoods, the traditions, and the mass of brilliant faces, which seem to me far more hopeful, and searching than the grey hordes watching it all on television.
For what it’s worth, I’ve never needed to own a television or an automobile. And like any NY native, I’m so grateful that many people think I’m crazy; sometimes I can still get a seat on the subway.

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By Billy Pilgrim, July 27, 2011 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

What leads the author to believe in the ultimate
goodness of mankind? We are nothing but a speck of
dust. A collection of atoms, mostly water, on a planet
in a solar system occupying a distant corner of a
galaxy, one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in an
infinite universe. We’re just the leftovers from the
Big Bang.

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By zonth_zonth, July 27, 2011 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

a bit of nostalgia.  most thinkers worth a salt and any depth of thought have felt the sting of the “flies in the marketplace”.

remember Schopenhauer couldnt councentrate with the noise of whips and carriages outside his flat.  Wittgenstein had to retreat in isolation to Norway.

Would have been interesting to hear what the former’s thought of the whiz of noise emanating from NYC

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By Awi, July 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

I seldom venture into the noise preferring the gentle sounds of nature instead.  The talking leaves or the small chirp of the humming bird now fill my days.  As I sit on the porch a wood wren announces my presence.  When I fill the bird feeder the Blue Jay spreads the news.  The doe and fawns are a daily enjoyment.  The box turtle leaves it’s tell tale path in the dew soaked grass.  All manner of creeping and crawling things go about their lives.  I live peacefully among them all as we collectively pass our days and nights.  The modern world is there when I need it but I retreat quickly back into my gentle quiet life.  I have spent many years cultivating a space of safety and enrichment for all of life.  The rewards are far greater than I had imagined.  I sleep peacefully with the help of the cricket choir and I awaken to the birds calling up the Sun.  With coffee in one hand and a book in the other I live my days quietly with the knowledge that the life I have chosen is unknown to most people today and therefore under no threat of acquisition.  They love New York.

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By carlosfunk, July 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A great rant!

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By DaveZx3, July 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns”

I watch the birds in the park and begrudge them their freedom.  They have what I cannot possibly hope to attain, at least in this world. 

I can temporarily delude myself with the thought that my advanced evolutionary status entitles me to joys and pleasures that the birds cannot possibly appreciate or understand. 

But the thought disappears faster than an isolated quark in a particle accelerator.  The sparrows do not evaluate their happiness or unhappiness.  They do not count up their joys and pleasures.  They eat and then they shit.  They play and then they sleep.  They live and then they die.  They don’t judge any of it.

Only man has to judge everything.  Only man has to quantify how happy some object of life makes him, and whether he is fulfilled or not.  Only man looks at his neighbor and perceives that he is poor in possessions, and thus is required to be very miserable and unhappy. 

I don’t think man represents a higher state at all.  If nature is the evidence of it, then I have to conclude that the birds and most other beasts represent a higher state, and man represents a lower, polluted state. 

Evolution, (not that I ascribe to it), is not a linear progression, but a bell curve. 

The highest point of the bell is not populated by the species which produced the most waste, the most destruction, the most despair, nor the largest number of toys and other gadgets. 

The highest point of the bell is populated by those species who lived long, intelligent lives without judgement, without right and wrong, without crime, without jails and without polluting their environment. 

The highest natural species lived and died, as individuals or as complete species, and at death, left no remnant of their lives except wisps of biodegradable nothingness. 

If man is a natural being, I’m not accepting the claims for his “basically good” status. 

If man is a spiritual being, and the universe of matter is only a temporary concoction in which he is allowed to work out his issues, then the results are pending.

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By tolstoy, July 25, 2011 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

You’ll remember this one: “There, there, put your head down on the bar and take a nap. Be a good boy. You could have laughed but you’re too full of self-pity. Novel about terrorists capturing bankers and disembowling them? Keep in mind there are at least one million novelists on the planet (and counting), all competing vigorously with each other via ebooks.” Got it yet? That’s it! Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf.

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By TLeeJr, July 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Need to get away? Novel pages deadline looming Chris? It is always sad to witness the decline of human cooperation, as it bcomes decried as tribal and socialist, and as it succumbs to the tyranny of unfettered capitalistic competiton and the “magical” dogmatic and stunted thinking of the never ending growth wizards behind the curtain.
Take a vacation.
It’ll become what it’s supposed to become. Perhaps evil is more powerful than good, and perhaps it is destined to overtake good and eventually consume itself. Thus making the struggle for good the only righteous way to live?

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By Jon, July 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kayaking on the Hudson may bring you some enjoyment.

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By RayLan, July 25, 2011 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

A gifted journalist-poet. I am a poet, written many poems on the subject, also feel the undertow - the dark keen of words filling into light against the devouring dark of the American noise machine.
A culture of racous crows to feed on the carrion of the disenfranchised mowed under by Wall Street greed and screed- a murder of crows.

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By Daye, July 25, 2011 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Someone down below says that Mr. Ketcham’s
essay is not serious news, but of course it is very
serious, finely gardened green information,
planted with love of thoughtfulness for each of
its species, as invigorating to walk about in as a
perfectly plotted but seemingly wild English one
somewhere round a stone & wood cottage in
Surrey, & it is full of hopeful, falling seeds & tear
drops of dew.

Chris Hedges’ tears, perhaps, & Robert Scheer’s

Thank you, Truthdig.

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By EmileZ, July 25, 2011 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

@ sarah…
good for you and Greenwitch Village and Michelangelo Antonio… really… good for you.

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By Morri Creech, July 25, 2011 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks for the piece, Mr. Ketcham. Most days when I leave my house, I feel like I’m hallucinating. Yet I have to agree with Robin Whitman above. A reading of history suggests the wisdom of Ecclesiastes: there is nothing new under the sun. Most people behave stupidly and selfishly when it matters most; popular culture has always and everywhere been mindless and degrading; most leaders are myopic, cynical, and self-serving, and even their wisdom is often proved foolish by the historical concatenations of cause and effect; most individuals fear exploring their own consciousness as much as they fear the gods; and most human cycles of history involve the consolidation of empire, self-aggrandisement, selfish overreaching followed by desperate measures to keep wealth and privilege in the name of “necessity” (Thucydides used the Greek word “ananke”), and an eventual decline as folly leads to eclipse by greater powers. The folly of a non-historical perspective is a tendency—on the progressive left and the conservative right—to pine for some storied past where all was in balance and people were happy. Acceptance of the longer view is liberating, and allows one to weather the vicissitudes of fortune with some equanimity. My suggestion, Mr. Ketcham, is two-fold: first, internalize what Wallace Stevens once said so clearly: “The world is ugly and the people are sad.” Second, adopt an appropriate degree of stoicism. That accomplished, you can turn back to your artistic pursuits comforted by Stevens’ gloriously succinct expression of human experience and do your duty, which is—as Joseph Brodsky said of the poet’s obligation to society—to write well. (He also said that society has no obligation to the poet—an observation which is implicitly true for all artists). Ignorance of historical conditions can lead to complaints that seem like whining. For all of the frustrations of modern life, I’d rather be a New York novelist than a sixteenth century French courtier, or a Roman merchant during the reign of Heliogabalus. If you’re too distracted by the noise, get some ear plugs. And read lots and lots of Gibbons.

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By thethirdman, July 25, 2011 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

Reads like a college freshmen who recently discovered “the man.”  Standard, “this
sucks” followed by the enlightened silver lining.  Yawn.

At least our dear Fishy conjures some interesting images.

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By EmileZ, July 25, 2011 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

You haven’t been listening to “The Sound Of Silence” lately have you Mr. novelist who respects his girlfriend (kudos to you for that!!!) ???

PLEASE… it was just a comment.

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By Sarah, July 25, 2011 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I remember a quote from Michaelangelo Antonioni regarding his tendency, while driving on the coast of Italy, to ignore the vistas and the majesty of nature to look at the rusted cars, the rambling shacks which dotted the inland view. His observation was that what interested him was what is man-made, that was where his imagination found purchase.

This was indeed good and welcome. It’s sad that so many misunderstood it.

I myself, bored to tears by Muir Woods, Yosemites and wetlands, long to come home to my concrete canyons, my cobblestones and my Village, Greenwich. Corrupted by all of the sins you speak of, I still crave most what (wo-)man has made.

As Shaw noted, all progress is made by unreasonable people.

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By EmileZ, July 25, 2011 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

I hear Democracy Now is broadcast from that hell-hole and den of human sin.

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By Lexicron, July 25, 2011 at 4:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh for God’s sake, another kvetch who doesn’t realize that
it is not necessary to broadcast one’s latest journal
entry, even if blogging and “social media” give the
impression that one must. Have a chilled glass of
chardonnay, kid.

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By ardee, July 25, 2011 at 2:31 am Link to this comment

tit-wagger ?????

So, really, how do you feel about NYC?

So, really, another seemingly misplaced article in what is supposed to be a political forum.

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By fht409, July 24, 2011 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Start spreading the news, Frank Sinatra just rolled over in his grave.

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By Robin Whitman, July 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m glad you are able to believe in the goodness and generosity of the human race.

After many decades of watching the world and reading a lot of history I’ve come to believe in the goodness and generosity of some individuals, but that our species (“race”) is deeply and fatally flawed by our aggression when organized into groups. And the larger the groups and the more advanced the technology, the more awesome the destruction that will inevitably follow. I hope to be gone from the planet when (not “if”) the next global spasm occurs.

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By gerard, July 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

A voice to pierce the darkness:  “I believe in the goodness and generosity of the human race.”

Sing out!

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By sawbuck, July 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

first, i hope that your relationship is surviving and thriving amongst the
resentment you must be feeling, and the guilt your partner must be
experiencing, to feel compelled to live somewhere you hate so strongly
in order to be with someone.

with that said, i lived in nyc and surrounding suburbs for my first 25
years of life, and although i live in the boonies now, and prefer nature
and space to buildings and noise, i feel that perhaps your attitude is
preventing you from seeing some of the positives around you.

there are things i loved and miss about my years in nyc. going down
the village to jazz clubs and seeing world famous, amazing musicians
(who are not in it for the money) playing for the door, or a one drink
minimum. going to poetry readings and open mikes and seeing people
performing only for their art and heart. going to museums and biking
around central park and feasting on the myriad character and range of
humanity around me. visiting the many parks, beaches and suburbs,
street fairs and festivals and sketching and watching the amazing
variety of life. hanging out at washington square park and seeing
amazing street performers every 20 feet. participating in spontaneous
jams in the park.  i can go on for longer, but you get the point.

maybe you should try looking at things with new eyes, after all,
wherever you go, there you are. turn off your electronics, get a bike,
some local event guides, join some groups, and try to lighten up. either
that, or do your woman a favor and bow out. let her be free to meet
someone who can share some positive experiences with her. i’m sure
your attitude is not making her life sweet right now.

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By question, July 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a beautiful, meaningful essay.  Thank you very much.  When I lived in the city in my youth (I’m a geezer) I found some music in the sounds & the traffic & the fights & the tears.  But I came to believe the best sounds were in the country silence.  I’m fortunate enough to live far enough away from others electronics & I’m enough of an techno-ignorant myself to enjoy the natural sounds of my gardens, the distant train whistles - those things that help me remember noise of my youth & appreciate the music of my geezerhood.  LOL.  You’re a terrific talent.

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