Recently, I was walking through the West Village with my friend, the ECLE, who was having a bit of trouble carrying her belongings:
ECLE: Help! I'm caught up in my latte and bag of NPR CDs!
Me: You are such an East Coast Liberal Elitist.
ECLE: Not true! I haven't had sushi in 2 days!
Although the ECLE was joking (I think...), the stereotypes speak for themselves. There are plenty of folks in this region (and, especially in South Brooklyn) who fit neatly into that box. It's a very comforting box, and I myself am easily wedged into a number of those pegholes (brunch snobbery, latte loving, political relativism, Times
quoting, Park Slope apologism, occasionally dressing like I just got off a yacht). However, there is one place I will not go:
I will not subscribe to the New Yorker
There's something about taking that step that would be the final nail in the coffin. I'd officially and unequivocally be a ECLE. And I can't do it. Something in my Texas roots just won't allow me to go down that road. And it's not that I question the quality of the New Yorker
or don't believe that I'd enjoy it. I'm sure I'd love it. (I've certainly enjoyed plenty of books written by New Yorker
authors.) No, the problem is the New Yorker
is more of a prop than a magazine.
First off, it's simply too dense to absorb at the rate it's published. Everyone loves the articles and stories, but no one reads them all. (And, really, you could just go here
for that one really
important one.) I mean, does anyone disagree with Nic Cage spewing "sprawling New Yorker
shit" time and time again in Adaptation
? I know if I started getting it, I'd spend a few moments with my shiny new issue sitting on the john thinking of cartoon captions and then throw it in a pile in my bedroom of things I oughta read. And I suspect that what most everyone else does too.
It's like joining the Flower of the Month club, but for your coffeetable. A gleaming Batsignal to other ECLEs that you are in their virtual Skull and Bones club.Sigh
But I subscribe to Wired
, so I suppose those (littered around the loo and the bed) define me as much as the New Yorker
would anyone else.
But those two are both such broad publications. Maybe I'm trying to not be pegholed. Maybe I'm hoping I'll be seen as having a different tack, one I create myself. There certainly is a mono-culture in New York (especially in the media) and maybe I want to be on the outside looking in. That probably won't happen by simply not subscribing to a magazine.
I know that to my relations in Texas, I must seen like a huge East Coast Liberal Elitist no matter what I do. So, they probably won't be to surprised when I finish off by quoting Marx:
I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member (for $47 a year).