Blowhard, Blowing Hard
Martin Amis, who’s been talking about Brooklyn the way a guy like Martin Amis probably talks about a new twenty-year old girlfriend, is now bummed over the gulf between the actual and the ideal. Turns out Brooklyn is not a mecca of endlessly regenerating symbols for Martin Amis to expound upon, but a place where people live. He’s so frownypants that neighbors say he’s turned into a curmudgeon, which is totally not the other side of Amis’s blowhard persona, not at all.
Sarah Goodyear at the Atlantic Cities uses this to make a good point about cities in general:
The lazy clichés about Brooklyn, recycled ad infinitum, are symptomatic of a larger problem among boosters of cities around the country. Cities are not commodities to be consumed. If we think of them that way, we will always be disappointed. Far worse than that, we also risk shaping urban policy to promote a city’s “brand” rather than its genuine, organic well-being. You don’t get a great city by deciding on an identity and then reinforcing it through marketing campaigns and cute T-shirts – by “putting a bird on it,” so to speak.
Compare that graph to Amis’s statements about Brooklyn, and you’d be forgiven for mistaking which was by the famous writer.