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Miami – the Real Follywood

June 19, 2013

Has South Florida Displaced Los Angeles In The World Of American Crime Fiction? ~by Nathaniel Sandler

A Response:

Ah, probably not. Or maybe so. Not a concern of many.

But honestly, this post raises a couple of other more worldly questions. Is this piece, posing as literary criticism, a contribution to WLRN’s Florida-glare treatment of ‘the arts’ in South Florida, or is it yet another prop for boosterism? I think the latter. Is WLRN capable of publishing anything other than boosterism? Probably not, given the entanglement with the Miami Herald which, at least since the killing of the Miami News, functions principally as the publishing arm of the various Chambers of Commerce.

The justification: “but it’s worth exploring to better understand the lineage we here in South Florida share with written crime narratives as well as various slinky women with muscle-bound henchman at their whim and/or tails.” No it isn’t worth it.

The argument: “there are a lot of moments where Gopnik’s brilliance just doesn’t get it.

What doesn’t Gopnik get? According to the latest generation of boosterists, when Gopnik and people like me say “the system is fake”, we just don’t understand that in Miami, that which is fake is the substance of our authenticity. The ubiquitous ocean of fraud, corruption and (self) deception in which we swim is the very domain of our existence. The wholly artificial and unsustainable fabrication of Greater Bloated Miami, in both its physical aspect and its mental self-conception, is the very essence of who we are. In this respect the comparison of Miami to Hollywood (not LA) may be of service. But at least Hollywood understands at some level that it is fiction. But wait, people like me don’t get it. We need to dig deeper. When you dig into Miami, you get water and/or broken sewers.

The story of Greater Miami as a viable, sort-of-grown-up city is a fiction. One need only look at another piece also published by WLRN on its website asking, much too late, what ‘solutions’ might be found for South Florida’s rising sea-level troubles. The piece lays out, again too late, all the options that won’t work to save Greater Miami from reverting to its appropriate size for human habitation (about half as big as it is now). But it studiously avoids the “R” word, a word that is being openly discussed in other mature cities faced with this same crisis, like Bangkok, where the Relocation of hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million residents is discussed as probably the only realistic option that they have. But no solutions are offered in the WLRN report as there is only one; the relocation of much of South Dade. But we are a people who regard realism as an unwelcome and decidedly unfashionable buzz-kill. Boosterism keeps the economy afloat on nothing more than a lilly-pad and a lot of drugs.

This is the story of Greater Miami exceptionalism; a myth of being special, just because we believe we are. Boosterism can work for a while, just like every other kind of charlatanism. But sooner or later the charlatan must get out of town or face the consequences of lies and deception. The great self-deception here is that our industrial machines can do what no civilization before even tried to do – build a metropolis in Miami on a flat foundation of limestone and hubris. Wrong. The ocean wins.  Mayans, Aztecs, and every other people who came before us understood this. We understand nothing except intoxication.

“Inform, Entertain, Inspire”; that’s the essence of boosterism.

alpha 66*Oh, and by the way… The closest the 9-11 terrorists came to training in South Florida was a few hours in a flight simulator. Their flight schooling was in Venice, Pensacola, Arizona and California. If you wanted to make an argument about terrorists in South Florida there were plenty who were actually based here; Cuban and Nicaraguan terrorists. The training camps were here, not so hidden in the Everglades. The bombs blew up here. Alpha 66 had an office on Calle Ocho. (Now closed but still bearing the signage.) People like me were assaulted here. But that’s not to be mentioned by boosterists; it doesn’t fit the fantasy.

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