Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, September 14, 2021

Are high-profile public outbursts infectious? For whatever reason, the past half-week saw three notable stack-blowing performances in the mass-media spotlight:

- South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson’s “You Lie!” outburst during President Obama’s healthcare speech on Wednesday;

- Serena Williams going off on the line judge during the US Open;

- And last but certainly not least, Kanye West and his upstaging MTV Video Music Awards tirade versus Taylor Swift.

West’s histrionics are suspected to have been calculated for maximizing effect ahead of his The Jay Leno Show appearance the next night (tonight); and since it was the VMAs, it’s safe to assume that it was staged. Wilson’s and Williams’ performances certainly came off as more authentically heated.

All I know is that this sudden spasm of friction has certainly affected me. Not only am I hesitant to interject a comment during a business meeting, lest I spark a “you lie!”-sized incident; I’m also suddenly afraid to win at anything, lest Kanye bust in on my acceptance speech. Such is the resulting climate…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/14/2009 11:41:39 PM
Category: Celebrity, Other Sports, Politics, Pop Culture
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‘Tis the season to celebrate Henry Hudson’s voyage of discovery up the river that now bears his name. At least it is in the Netherlands, where the 400th anniversary of what led to the establishment of New York City/State is more revered than it is in the New World:

The Dutch organized and paid for the week’s events, running up a tab of about $10 million. The Dutch media dispatched about 50 reporters to New York, with a major television station running nightly half-hour updates on the proceedings during prime time. And thousands of Dutch citizens crossed the Atlantic to take part, including Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, who declared New York the greatest city in the world…

“It’s bigger there than over here,” said Babette Bullens, 38, who lives near Holland’s border with Belgium and was making her first trip to New York. “If you talk to New Yorkers, they don’t know what’s happening. It’s very disappointing,” she said in Battery Park on Sunday.

True, the modern City of New York doesn’t primarily identify itself with its Nederlander heritage. But really, I think it’s hard to spend any time around town and not notice the vestiges of the original European founders — namely, in the various placenames. The Van Wyck Expressway, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Gansevoort Street, Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem — the list goes on and on. And up the Hudson, there are hundreds of towns and hamlets with “kill” (creek) and “landt” (lands) in their names, and invariably streets and landmarks within them with the same lineage.

In short, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting something Dutch-tinged around here. So we live with the stamp of Netherland-ness everyday, consciously or not. Once New Amsterdam (actually, twice during the 17th Century), but forever marked by the original tenants.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/14/2009 10:30:12 PM
Category: History, New Yorkin'
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