Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Perception versus reality...wait, what's reality?

I was recently asked to teach my students a thing or two about NYC as I was sharing the They Might Be Giants song "New York City" with them since they are apparently (according to the homeroom teacher) very in to music, a fact they routinely demonstrate by planting their faces firmly on their desks and closing their eyes in what I can only imagine is a sign of their deep reverence for nerd-rock...0r possibly sleeping.

So to liven things up I was asked to inform them about New York. I mentioned the major sites, it's prominence as a cultural and numerical capital of the US, home of hip-hop, Wall Street, and ESL (English as a Second Language) inspired transit methods.

The teacher then asked me to talk about the "dangerous" aspects, so I gave a quick summery of how the once-pornographic Times Square was now a capitalist orgy of Disney and MTV with crime rates around the city plummeting like the G-string of a stripper in a bygone era.

This was not the answer that was needed:

You see, the fact that New York is no longer the mug-tastic hooker bomb it once was, doesn't jive with the panic-obsessed Japanese media's portrayal, not to mention any 80's movie based in NY where the main character had to either A) get mugged (mostly for the ladies), B) philosophize with a wino, C) have a run in with a belligerent but outlandishly dressed pimp, or D) all of the above.

So I was asked to revamp my talking points for tomorrow to portray NY as something close to but not quite a 50 square mile version of Hell's Kitchen circa 1976 where booze-soaked members of a biker gang routinely look to hurl innocents from the roof of a burned out apartment block controlled by a New Jack City-esque crack lord while pimping their sister out to a heroin junkie living in a conversion van under a bridge next to a group of A Capella singing winos around a steel drum fire as America Psycho rolls by in a Cadillac with his seven pound cell phone trolling for transvestites.

Perception wins!

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