Honestly, delegates, this is New York on its best behavior. Before your arrival, the Daily News ran a front-page editorial beseeching us to “play nice,” and we are. I know: Protesters taking over the streets, chanting, “No more lies from Dick and Georgie / We deplore their wartime orgy.” It seems so rude, especially when you were led to expect flowers and candy. (Oh, wait—wrong invasion.) But as you peer from inside the barricades, remember that it could have been worse.
Last week, New Hampshire newspaper columnist Bernadette Malone issued dire warnings of “junior terrorists” plotting to release swarms of mice into the city and of prostitutes with AIDS planning to “seduce Republican visitors and discourage the use of condoms.” (Republicans are now against discouraging the use of condoms? Must be the new moderation.) Meanwhile, the Post reports that remnants of the Weather Underground—“trained in kidnapping techniques [and] bomb-making”—are targeting the convention. Vice-presidential nominee Dick Gephardt had no comment on the Post’s scoop.
Fortunately, the New York Times has already disproved one of Malone’s fears: that devious liberals will intentionally give Republican tourists “false directions.” Reporter John Leland found that when asked “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” most New Yorkers tried to help rather than snickering “Practice, practice.” Leland attributed this to post-9/11 civility, although Spy magazine got the same results some fifteen years ago.
Of course, there are a few Republican New Yorkers. Actor Vincent Gallo, whose new film features Chloë Sevigny playing very nicely with him, expressed puzzlement over the fact that he hadn’t been invited to speak at the RNC—“yet.” And there’s always the Post to provide convention coverage to make even the energetic Sevigny look lethargic.
As for newspapers that don’t play nice—that report, for example, that some 9/11 families don’t support Bush on terrorism—well, you know how the media ignores the good news from Operation New Yorker Liberation. Any minute now, this will be a fully functioning, pro-American city. The next few days should be a cakewalk.