This week, three stuntmen rode into our city and commanded our attention with acts of great hubris. What does this mean for our summer, and for New York?
The first came on Wednesday. Yazmany Arboleda, a 27-year-old artist, was questioned by police after setting up an art exhibit titled “The Assassination of Hillary Clinton / The Assassination of Barack Obama” in an empty midtown storefront.* “It’s about the media,” he said.
The second came on Thursday. Alain Robert, a French stuntman, was discovered climbing the Times’ building in the name of global warming. He too was arrested, once he reached the top. “This was a political act, an act of free speech,” his lawyer said. Shortly after the climb, Arboleda revealed to the media that his exhibition, as well as his online portfolio, was a hoax.
The third was Renaldo Clarke, a Sunset Park resident who had, the Post informs us, “long planned to pull a similar stunt.” Renaldo also climbed the building, and he, too, explained his motivations when he was arrested. “I’m going to be on the news, no?” Robert’s people, who consider him the premier scaler of buildings, were perturbed: “This is really upsetting,” his manager told the Post.
We can’t help but think that it means something that these three men invaded the city and immediately began one-upping each other all at once. That, perhaps, they are the Three Assholes of the Apocalypse, symbolizing Blatant Attention-Whoring, Self-Involvement, and Competitiveness, otherwise known as the worst qualities intrinsic to New Yorkers. In the wake of these men’s actions, will other New Yorkers with large egos and penile insecurity feel compelled to act out? Let us hope not. But in the meantime, this summer, we’ll all have to keep our eyes and ears open. If anyone you know — your boss or your landlord or your sad-sack ex-boyfriend — appears to be casting an eye toward a high building or feverishly building a Website, consider it your duty to tackle him, as a New Yorker and as a human being.
* This post has been corrected to show that Arboleda was questioned by police, not arrested.