Monday, March 12, 2012

Asimov PP 5/1990: "Just Say "No"?"

I'm going through Isaac Asimov's F&SF essays in reverse order by date to share the Personal Paragraphs with which he invariably opened each essay.

This is a rather long, personal essay in which Asimov - a dedicated Democrat, castigates Reagan and blames him (and Republican policies) for the rise of unemployment and crime and drug use among African Americans and other legal immigrants. (Which I find interesting considering that Asimov came from a poor immigrant family, a Jewish family so facing plenty of discrimination - though not as bad as African Americans, admittedly - and by working their butts off they achieved middle classness without resort to drugs to make themselves feel better. (Except perhaps the drug of chocolate.) But then, perhaps drugs weren't "pushed" in the 1930s as they were in the 1960s onward....)

Indeed, the whole essay is series of "Personal Paragraph". I therefore will only share the first two paragraphs of the anecdote with which he opens the essay:

"Some weeks ago, I was attending a function in New York and a friend of mine from the sticks was present. He had once lived in New York City but was now living at a place I shall call Sleepy Hollow, because that is not its name.

My friend favored me with with a long tirade on the nastiness and unpleasantness of New York City-mentioning its noise, its dirt, its crowds-and contrasted it with the bucolic charm and rustic delights of Sleepy Hollow.

I listened with pained patience. I am used to people from outside the city who come to the city (in order to do something with their lives, since the chief intellectual activity in Sleepy Hollow is collecting a tan) and then throwing scorn upon it.

Afterward, though, I thought: Why should I listen I listen with pained patience and endure the insults? Why don't I answer with something like the followings--

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