April 19th, 2009 13:48 EST
Pretty Girls, Cell Phones, and Self-Absorption
What`s with the young pretties who won`t yield a quarter of an inch in crowded streets or recognize the presence of another body? What`s with those Ms. Oblivion body checks and those turned-in eyes? Does this world not compare favorably with their virtual world?
At first I thought they were exercising some natural distaste for old gaffers, but then I noticed that beautiful young men and kindly-looking old ladies were also being treated to the Maple Leaf offense.
Is this a facet of the self-absorption that has brought us to the brink? Is this the mindset that says we don`t need to make anything or make way for anyone; all we need to do is buy on the credit that only swindlers give us and indulge Number One?
Manhattan gets by because we give the next person a little quarter. We wriggle a shoulder, step an inch or two aside, anticipate where others are headed and how to accommodate them. When this breaks down, civil society is set back.
Perhaps cell phones have turned these pretties into panzers, but what has made them selfish in a city famous for its habitability?
And where was the big-mouthed fundamentalist church when all this was taking shape? Busy yipping and yapping about family values, I suppose. Wasn`t social responsibility a family value? How about giving a damn about someone else? Where were any of the churches, for that matter? Where was the press? Ah, I can answer that one: In the advertisers` pockets.
I think a society in which the pretty panzers and stroller Nazis are mowing the rest of us down is not going to turn its attention any time soon to bloated prisons, curtailment of civil liberties, vote fraud or an over-privileged and irresponsible elite.
Such a society prefers television snooze.
Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.
The pioneering Online Originals (U.K.), the only online publisher to receive a Booker nomination, published his novella, Alice Miller`s Room, in 1999. Recent fiction appeared in Prima Materia (Woodstock, NY), vols. I and IV, and Breakfast All Day (London, U.K.).In his younger days his poetry was published in literary journals including Solstice (England) and Beyond Baroque and Phantasm (California). Recent poems appear in Arabesques Literary and Cultural Review (www.arabesquespress.org), Perpetua Mobile (Baltimore), and Attic (Baltimore). He is the English language editor of Arabesques Literary and Cultural Journal (www.arabesquespress.org).
He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.