Vol. 12, No. 3,009 - The American Reporter - October 19, 2006



The American Reporter Salutes
America's Veterans

An AR Essay
A CITY TOO GRAND TO DIE

by Howard Bloom
American Reporter Correspondent
New York, N.Y.

Printable version of this story

NEW YORK --Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and New Yorkers have = more to be thankful for than most of us imagine. We have come togetherin we= lcome ways in the weeks since Sept. 11.

We stop and talk to strangerson the street. We try to help each other we= ll before we formally meet.

Or we join in charity events for firemen we never knew, raising moneyfor= their families, while recognizing each other from September'srecovery team= s. These are lessons in community we've needed for a longtime.

But the bonds that tie us when commemorating loss are missingsomething= vital. There is something critical that we must capture, holdup before ou= r eyes, and focus on before it is too late, before our scarscongeal in the = backward-facing form of in memoriams.

New York is not just a city of concrete. It is not just a city ofglass. = It is not just a city with ribs of steel. It is not a city ofmourning. It is a city aborning. New York is a spirit= , a flicker, aflame. New York is a city whose brilliance is born in the strange.It's a mega-ne= st for those who were too bright, too adventurous, toopregnant with imagin= ings. It's a giant hive for those who did not fitback in Wilmington or Wat= erbury or Waxahachie.

New York is a place for those who cannot squeeze themselves into the A= merica of the everyday. It is a gathering place for those who cannot just b= e normal, joke around, party, and play, those who can not be content with a= life of nothing but beer and football games. New York is a city of those = who find that something out of kilter with the ordinary, something odd, unn= amable, teases and tickles their brains.

Those who had no one to understand them come here and find they suddenly= have a home. We New Yorkers are the oddballs, the misfits, theoutcasts, t= he brilliant, the vision-ridden, the eerie, the nerdy, theincomprehensible,= the bizarrely gifted, the ghosts of futures searchingfor a home, the restl= ess souls who elsewhere have no grounding, who,without New York, are forced= to roam.

Here we strange ones, we too-swift-ones, we who open strange emotions,= feelings haunting others but which today's words won't yet let them say, w= e who see new passions, new astonishments, new forms of theater, new ways t= o dance, new cinematic visions, new prose, new jokes, new poetry, new fashi= ons, new ways to work and play, we gather here and find each other. Here we= come together in strange packs, new kinds of tribes.

Here those who had no place in the heartlands help give each other fri= endship, energy, brainstorming sessions, lives.

New York can not be shattered, it is a bonfire of the spirit, it's aflic= kering twist of connectivity. I, the strange, find you, thestrange, and to= gether we set others free. I feed you when your soul'son fire, support you= when you drown in mire. And you, you do the samefor me.

What got you beaten up at home for becomes a revelation when you say i= t not to them but me. There's brightness in your eyes as I spell out my vi= sions, and in the brightness of your pupils, your attention sets me free. Y= ou power me with what you sense that no one ever saw in me.

On Sept. 11, 2001, many thousands of New Yorkers were battered to oblivi= on by Boeings turned into barbarian fists. Those thousands would not want = us to mourn, to mope, to close down with a whimper, togive up what we are a= nd flee. They would not want us to ditch Manhattan, and hide in woods or f= armland so we could not be shatteredand cracked again. They would not want = us to wall ourselves off indarkness and in misery.

Living well is the best revenge. For the sake of those who died, wemust= live even more vividly. Those who died would want us to fling ourlaughing= , singing, dancing, writing, romancing, business-building, idea-spinning bac= k into Osama's face. They'd want us to show this Seventh Centurykiller tha= t we carry in us the seeds of something he can never erase,the seeds of a r= ich futurity. Osama and his clones want to smash usback to the desert rubb= le of Mohammed's day. But we will sing, and wewill dance, and we will thro= w the glory of our future in his face.

A city is a place of mind tribes, imagination families, the strangeempow= ering of each other with which we create the future's newnormalcies. Five = cities are the flares from which the fireworks ofcivilization Spring-New Yo= rk, Tokyo, London, LA, and Paris. Douse oneand you put the torch of wonder= and of freedom out. You close one ofthe five eyes that guide all of human= ity.

Never let them blind us. Never let these cities die. Let us dance and= work until we drive Osama wild. Let us live with love and power in new cr= usades of freedom, of imagination, and of creativity. For brotherhood and = sisterhood in the strange, the brave, and wondrous is the power of thecity.= That's the power of New York, the power of the modern, and thepower of urb= anity.

Howard Bloom, the author of The Lucifer Principle and Global Brain, has = written for The Washington Post, the Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, an= d the Knight-Ridder Financial Service.

Copyright 2006 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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