It Happened in a Witless Bubble of Privilege
The unthinkable destruction of Katrina continues to astonish all . . . except for New York magazine "It Happened This Week" columnist Jim Holt, who has done the world the dubious service of hitting what's known as the Gopnik mark, ie., reducing horrible human tragedy to the stuff of tedious, nay, juvenile, pseudocosmopolitan self-infatuation:
The devastation that Hurricane Katrina wreaked upon New Orleans concentrated the minds of New Yorkers, who also weighed the possible consequences of such a storm’s hitting the five boroughs someday, including the evacuation of up to 2.4 million residents. A team of emergency planners was to be dispatched to the Gulf Coast to glean what preparatory lessons they could. Katrina’s remoter effects were felt here in the form of a stifling blanket of humidity. Several competitors at the U.S. Open were overcome: One vomited on the court; another collapsed in the bleachers; yet another, a rather good-looking player from Spain, Feliciano López, played in white Capri pants that were soon rendered all but transparent by his copious perspiration, affording fans an unexpected anatomical spectacle.
Now one might protest that the magazine was likely put to bed before the true scale of the storm's ruination became clear. And one might protest further that Mr. Holt is employed as a mere feuilletonist, someone who spins gossamer impressions of the Zeitgeist from his passing fancy, and if his fancy connects an unthinkable mass tragedy and a "rather good-looking" tennis player's wee-wee, so be it.
Yet to our thinking, these factors--the unknowability of a city's pending devastation, combined with the overprivileged bitching about a "stifling blanket of humidity" at the U.S. Fucking Open--are all the more reason for Mr. Holt to keep his fucking yap shut at a time like this. But hey, that's just us.
Oh, and another thing: The tasteful editors at the prestigious New York weekly gave this specimen of moral reasoning the headline "Sweatwear." Heh, as Butthead would say, heh. -- HOLLY MARTINS
Sweatwear [New York magazine]