The Impossible City

Image by Hans Toom from Pixabay

I was reading an article about New York City, in which it said, “New York is now the business center of American culture, the excitement center, perhaps even the anxiety center. But it has no independent and original intellectual life.” “New York is the principal producer and distributor of the mental goods consumed by the masses” “…the sale of radical ideas (some of them quite old, but many Americans have not found the opportunity to read Baudelaire, Proudhon, or Marx for themselves) is profitable, and that criticism or even open hatred of society is no impediment to success in this glittering city.”

Whatever is described in this article is quite remote from my idea of the city. None of us wants to go to “The City” since the traffic was impossible. However most of us would like to go but are too lazy to go, and some of us are compelled to go. From Edison to NYC, it’s only 35 miles, but it feels like two worlds. Still if one wants to have the best grocery, the best haircut, those rare herbs and traditional medicine items, or an assortment of South Korean or Japanese cosmetics to choose from, one has to go to NYC to find it. And sometimes people would go there for a Broadway show just to give their children an experience. Or they would go there because their children are selected to play in Carnegie Hall, which is an honor they admire and which is a performance they would fall sleep on half way through.

I don’t understand why I read what I read. I mean what I read often has nothing to do with my life or my view. And recently I feel more and more aware of this problem. Let’s take NYC for example, it is never described in a way that an immigrant would describe; it is never written or portrayed from an angle of a person who earns less than $100,000 a year. “Friends” or “Sex In The City” are based on NYC, but those characters live in impossibly big and expensive apartment. Take the book (or the movie) “Heartburn” by Nora Ephron for example. She was able to walk away from her marriage relatively unscathed because she could afford nannies and find good jobs on her own. My acquaintances or relatives mostly cannot afford to walk away like that.

To deal with this discrepancy, I am going to write a review each time I read (or watch) something that’s completely different from my experiences. I hope this is a good method that can keep me from being led astray.

9 thoughts on “The Impossible City

    1. Oh, so true. The real thing is almost never written or probably just written 1% of the time. This is why I often wonder that history books probably don’t reflect real history at all. Probably only reflects some upper middle class people in a certain historical time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually it usually does. I have been watching some videos about peasant life in medieval Europe which many historians don’t know very well since all that was written about that time period were about kings and their battles.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. History books are all about the glory and honor of battles, which only help to make the world increasingly more narcissistic. It’s a very bad cycle. And books are double edged swords that can get people educated but also get people accept the unreality.


  1. I always found it weird that people on shows are rarely shown working but seem to make large amounts of money and live a luxurious life. I look forward to your honest reviews about the differences in media vs real life.


  2. Oo, I so connect with this writing as I too feel like I am coming into contact with experiences and lifestyles that do not mirror my own or my means. I love the idea of writing about it as a means to stay grounded. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I have been reading things unconnected with my life all the time. I don’t think it is a bad thing, since 99% of immigrants don’t write literary books. Anyway, still I have to be careful since things I read may not be applicable in my own life. I don’t want to be influenced in a destructive way.

      Liked by 1 person

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