". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Martini Light

Up home, in Manhattan, we have officially entered Martini Light Season. It's not all day long or all night long. It's right now, at this time of day, the end of the afternoon, just before dusk.

You promenade along, say, Central Park West, or hit the Continental-styled wide boulevarde intersection of Avenue of the Americana and Bleecker Street, anywhere where there's ingress for the horizontal sky light of end-of-day in the days leading up to the solistice and the days after, and you know what I mean.

But only in Manhattan, where the modern, the 20th century, and martinis were invented. When you walk along Central Park West, you will know why, here. (Well, yes, I have my hyperlocal biases.)

It is beautiful here, just beautiful. It has preserved the best of its past. But I do not deny the beauty and the uniqueness of the beauty, of other places I love. Manhattan is beautiful precisely out of it always looking ahead, out of it being about the now and the future -- about getting rich, about getting famous, preferably both, about making it. This is what Manhattan has always been about, even when it was Dutch. It still is, even now when it's Asian.

Hyper urbane, hyper sophisticated, hyper all of what made the 20th C the American, meaning the U.S.A., century.

The U.S.A. century is over, of course (though we've still got all that it takes to wreak havoc wherever and whenever, of course -- and nor am I, for one, proud of that), but Manhattan, like Rome, like Bejing, like London, like Paris, survives as one of world history's Black Holes, into which all civilization falls, and comes out the other side, as something changed and exciting, to spread over the planet.

We all get ours, in the end. But Manhattan's end is not yet.

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