October 6, 2007

"You know what he wants... you don't show any response."

I know I've been spending too much time at Starbucks. Here's something Melvin Jules Bukiet says in that anti-Brooklyn thing I just linked to:
Brooklyn’s always been the overlooked sibling among the boroughs. Founded several years before New York, it was swiftly relegated to a role as Manhattan’s unglamorous adjunct. First farms and then factories provided its economic basis. Now back-office space does the same. Until recently, Brooklyn was strictly second choice for residence. Beatniks who couldn’t afford Greenwich Village crossed the river in the ’60s, and yuppies who couldn’t afford Soho moved to Park Slope in the ’80s. Now hipsters who can’t afford the East Village have filled every cranny between soon-to-be evicted bodegas and auto-repair shops with cafés sporting lava lamps on the tables and old record albums tacked to the walls. Inside, a horde of latte-swilling sensitives sit in mismatched chairs and tap at laptops and can’t imagine why they’d ever want to cross the river again. They interpret their migration born of economic necessity as a hegira of moral virtue. Self-righteous sour grapes define their attitude to Gotham.

In short, they’re young.
I'm not young, but I was one of those yuppies who couldn’t afford Soho and moved to Park Slope in the ’80s. I'm back in Brooklyn, now, unyoung yet in need of coffee and WiFi. This Bukiet character has apparently never been to Madison. I'm starved here in Brooklyn for the indie cafés I live at back home. I'm forced to patronize Starbucks and I had to shell out for the T-Mobile connection. It's irksome.

These days, I mark my time at Starbucks by the inevitable reappearance in the music rotation of the Bob Dylan song "Jokerman." Why "Jokerman"? I've never much thought about "Jokerman," but really, look at the lyrics: "Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune. Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman." Is it possible to sing that line a few more times? Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, it's getting painful.

14 comments:

Sheepman said...

My version of Jokerman has more lyrics. IMO, not a bad song

steve simels said...

I'm sorry, what are we talking about?

I was too busy laughing at the regulars on the downstairs Clarence Thomas thread trying to convince themselves that the Republicans were actually in the vanguard of the Civil Rights struggle of the 60s.

HJA said...

That place he describes sounds more like a couple places in Williamsburg than in Park Slope nowadays — but yeah, New York City doesn't have much in the way of raggedy indie coffee shops, even in artsy neighborhoods, just like it doesn't have much in the way of thrift stores. I noticed that in a big way back in the 90s, when I moved back to NYC from having spent a couple years living in the Mission in San Francisco, which of course is nothing but coffee shops and thrift stores. Around that time, in New York, I came across a few snarky remarks in articles and op-ed pieces warning that there were, in fact, more and more bohemian, slacker-type coffee shops opening up around town, and that if we didn't watch it, NYC would become San Francisco-ized, or Seattle-fied. Not that this was a widespread feeling, or that any local politician ran on a platform of driving coffee shops with names involving a play on the word "grounds" out of town, but a few people, on slow news days, felt free to suggest that New York's civic greatness lay in part in its eschewing coffee-house culture — like everybody was too busy making money and kicking ass to while away afternoons in such places. This was the go-go 90's, mind you. In any event, the dreaded coffee shop invasion seems not to have occurred.

NE2d said...

Oh, dear. You've been in New York for only a few months now and already you're navel-gazing about real estate? New Yorkers are the most provincial people in this country; I'm continually amazed at the time and energy they spend judging people because they live a quarter mile away. (see hja, supra) You must get out of that ridiculous city while you still have a chance.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, Simels, you're the music critic. What do you think of the song "Jokerman" and what do you think of the Starbucks role in purveying music these days? Let's get some hardcore expertise in here.

hdhouse said...

Starbucks has been entertaining music offers for years. It is the perfect consumer fit.

As to Brooklyn generally, I think it is the best city in America and I would move there in an instant if circumstances permitted.

Liam said...

Ah, the days of my youth...

I remember when I was an art student in the 80's, getting drunk in my studio and worrying about the nuances of living in New York (while actually living in Ypsilanti).

This sort of thing used to be so important to me - I would stay awake at night worrying I wasn't hip, that I didn't get the REAL art scene, that'd all that incredibly cool stuff would pass me by.

Now, here I am, reading crap like whats-his-face wrote regarding Brooklyn's "inferiority" to Manhattan, and have to more than chuckle. All those tremendously cool things that I was envious of back in the 80's are now either part of the mainstream and/or regarded as hopelessly dated.

I have a niece attending the FIT in NY right now, and she is so not a hipster that it hurts. And I love her for that. She's just following her dream, not worrying about fitting in.

God bless her.

rhhardin said...

I picked the $6.99 one-login one-hour T-Mobile rate one day when I migrated to Starbucks to download some radio programs at faster than the 56k I get at home. After all, my battery only lasts an hour.

The connection kept hanging and dropping.

Damn! I knew I should have opted for the $9.99 daily rate.

To my surprise they charged me only for the one login. Evidently lost connections were forgiven.

But what company is going to pass up money like that?

Caroline said...

Quoting from the linked article:

"The Catcher in the Rye may be the ur-BBoW* ...Holden’s famous denunciation of the “phonies” of the world and his own inability to see the way he manipulates the reader is radical wonder. He pierces the veil of appearances that adults are too jaded to perceive. He knows; he understands; he dreams of saving anonymous children. He’s utterly phony."

This person does go on, doesn't he.

A frat boy I met in college, who hailed from the vaunted isle of Manhattan, put it much more succinctly that this wannabe "American Scholar". Upon hearing I was from Brooklyn, he sneered at me, "You're from Brooklyn? I wouldn't admit THAT if I were you."

Says it all in 11 little words.

Who's the phony here?

*Brooklyn Books of Wonder- his abbreviation, not mine.

Kev said...

Re the idea of Starbucks-as-music-store: I visited the HearMusic store in downtown San Antonio earlier in the year and really enjoyed it. It's a full-service two-story Starbucks that also has a decent selection of CD's, as well as a listening station that allows you to purchase anything that's in their catalogue but not in stock and have it burned for you right there in the store (either as a full CD or a mix of your choice). It seems like this really could be the music store of the future and a viable alternative to things like the iTunes store or Amazon downloads.

Still, this won't catch on until there are more than four locations nationwide. And my only complaint with the self-burned CD's is that--as with the download services--the liner notes aren't provided. As a jazz guy, I really like knowing who played on the session and a little background info about the music. I suppose this will come along eventually. (And if Apple decides to add the notes, they'll have to call them iLiners. Heh.)

former law student said...

Mailer compared Chicago to Brooklyn in Miami and the Siege of Chicago. Brooklyn was a city full of factories and factory workers -- gritty and not glitzy. Your picture http://www.flickr.com/photos/althouse/1175718158/ shows the sign on the roof of Kentile Floors, which has some resonance for me as the maker of floor tile that went into homes, offices, stores, and schools for decades -- until the asbestos used to reinforce it and make it fire resistant was determined to be a killer. Barrels of asphalt and tons of vinyl and asbestos went in, and millions of square feet of floor tile came out. They had branch factories in Chicago and Torrence, California.

former law student said...

I blame modern education for steve simels ignorance. If not for Senate Republicans, Democrats would still be filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. It was Senate Minority Leader Everett C. Dirksen (famous for his "A billion here, a billion there..." comment), who rallied the Republicans and got the votes for cloture. The "Solid South" Democratic bloc opposed equality for blacks.

From http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_histmats_civilrights64_cloturespeech.htm
Never in history had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster on a civil rights bill. And only once in the thirty-seven years since 1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure. The clerk proceeded to call the roll at 11:00 a.m. At 11:15 a.m., Republican Senator John Williams of Delaware replied "aye" to the question. It was the 67th vote; cloture had passed by a vote of 71 to 29. The final count showed 44 Democrats and 27 Republicans voting for cloture with 23 Democrats - 20 from the South -- and only 6 Republicans opposed.

The formal Senate vote on the bill took place on June 19th. It passed overwhelmingly, 73-27. Majority Leader Mansfield said of Dirksen, "This is his finest hour. The Senate, the whole country is in debt to the Senator from Illinois."

Jeff with one 'f' said...

It's the yuppies in Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights that have rendered the neighborhoods too expensive for indie coffee shops. Come to Williamsburg or Greenpoint for indie-ness before they are over-gentrified. You have 6 months to two years, tops.

rightwingprof said...

I never spend time at Starbucks. I get my espresso, then leave.

One of the very few funny moments in Cavemen (that new show) was when two of them were at Starbucks. One, the pretentious, birkenstocked PhD student caveman, was complaining to the other about pretentious poseurs when the waitress came. The other caveman ordered a coffee and a donut, the waitress said, "Huh?" and the PhD student caveman said, "He wants an Americano and a beignet."