Stereotypes

Four men were walking down the street, a Saudi, a Russian, a North Korean, and a New Yorker. A reporter comes running up and says, “Excuse me, what is your opinion about the meat shortage?”

The Saudi says, “Excuse me, what’s a shortage?”

The Russian says, “Excuse me, what’s meat?”

The North Korean says, “Excuse me, what’s an opinion?”

The New Yorker says, “Excuse me? What’s excuse me?”

See what I mean?

This isn’t necessarily a joke about Saudi Arabians who don’t know shortages…or about Russians who do.

It’s not exactly about North Koreans who’ve never been able to vocalize a thought or an opinion without the fear of sinister retribution.

It’s about the rudeness of New Yorkers.

I’m talking about the classic “Fuck off, I could give a shit about you and the world” New York City resident. We’ve all heard about them. We’ve seen them in TV shows; portrayed on stage and in films. They are rude and inconsiderate and as apathetic as the day is long.

Case in point: The Kitty Genovese Story

Phenominal tale, really and one that’s been beguiling the collective American psyche and to some degree, psychologists and sociologists.

It was about 3:15 on the morning of March 13, 1964 when Kitty Genovese arrived home. She found a parking spot about 100 her apartment building’s front door. But she never made it. She was grabbed by Winston Moseley, a Business Machine Operator, but Genovese broke free and Moseley ran after her and quickly overtook her, stabbing her twice in the back. Genovese screamed out, “Oh my God, he stabbed me! Help me!” It was heard by several neighbors; but on a cold night with the windows closed, only a few of them recognized the sound as a cry for help. When one of the neighbors shouted at the attacker, “Leave that girl alone!”, Moseley ran away and Genovese slowly made her way towards her own apartment around the end of the building. She was seriously injured, but now out of view of those few who may have had reason to believe she was in need of help.

Records of the earliest calls to police are unclear and were certainly not given a high priority by the police. One witness said his father called police after the initial attack and reported that a woman was “beat up, but got up and was staggering around.”

Other witnesses observed Moseley enter his car and drive away, only to return ten minutes later. In his car, he changed his hat to a wide-rimmed one to shadow his face. He systematically searched the parking lot, train station, and small apartment complex, ultimately finding Genovese, who was lying, barely conscious, in a hallway at the back of the building. Out of view of the street and of those who may have heard or seen any sign of the original attack, he proceeded to stab her several more times. While she lay dying, he sexually assaulted her. He stole about $49 from her and left her dying in the hallway…all of which happened within a 30-minute time frame. During the last attack, a neighbor at the top of the stairs, reportedly opened his front door and watched the attack without doing anything to stop it.

A few minutes after the final attack, a witness, Karl Ross, called the police. Police and medical personnel arrived within minutes of Ross’ call; Genovese was taken away by ambulance and died en route to the hospital. Later investigation by police and prosecutors revealed that approximately a dozen ( individuals nearby had heard or observed portions of the attack.

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Winston Moseley, was later apprehended in connection with burglary charges; he confessed not only to the murder of Kitty Genovese, but to two other murders, both involving sexual assaults. Subsequent psychiatric examinations suggested that Moseley was a necrophiliac. He was convicted of murder andsentenced to death. His last parole hearing was held March 11th of this year. He was denied parole again…for the 13th consecutive time.
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The circumstances of Kitty Genovese’s murder and the apparent reaction of her neighbors were reported by a newspaper article published two weeks later and prompted investigation into the psychological phenomenon that became known as the “Bystander Effect” or “Genovese Syndrome”.
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Public opinion backed this up.
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Many saw the story of Genovese’s murder as an example of the callousness or apathy supposedly prevalent in New York City, urban America and humanity in general. The opinion surrounding the quintessential apathetic New Yorker has been around a long time…but seemed to find a permanent label after Kitty Genovese’s tragic murder.
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Doing nothing is also an option and by doing nothing, we often aid and abet the culprit. Whether that’s looking the other way when someone commits a crime or choosing to stay in an abusive relationship, but if you stay, you contribute to your own hell.
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Indecision is a decision..

We embrace apathy because apathy is a fear of commitment- and if we commit ourselves to do good, we have higher expectations of ourselves- and that can be a heavy load.

Still, when all is said and done, commitment always bears unexpected fruit. We may have to nourish that commitment, tend the tree and at times, even prune it. But it’s beauty is the reward. All those things–the effort put forth constitute a small price to pay for a better and fuller life..

But the choice is ALWAYS yours.
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As for the rude callousness, the heartlessness and abject apathy of New Yorkers?
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New York is a huge city. New Yorkers know that keeping to yourself sometimes ensures survival–see no evil; pretend to hear no evil, etc. and sadly, there are some take that to extremes. So, yeah sure; there are a few bad apples that dwell in that Big Shiny Red One that crowns the Hudson, but didn’t we applaud the New York City everyman who jumped on the subway tracks recently to save the life of a fellow citizen who’d fallen as a train approached? When asked why he did it; why he risked his life for a total stranger, his response was because “it was the right thing to do”.
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And beyond that, the world got a good idea of the size of New Yorkers’ hearts, the extent of their compassion and their empathy after witnessing two jetliners crash into the World Trade Center. What happened on that balmy September morning almost seven years ago was so profoundly different than the Kitty Genovese case. On that fateful day, New Yorkers wanted to help so badly, but they could do absolutely nothing but sit idly by and watch almost three thousand of their fellow residents die a most gruesome death.
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16 comments

  1. You ever lived in NYC? Let’s just extrapolate your opinion on regional societies and customs to your little island of Southern armpit paradise. Wasn’t it a couple of months ago that 4 dipshits killed a mother, her sons, and attempted to kill the father because some hick chick got her cell phone taken away out there in paradise???? Why is Houston or some other hick town always on Cops, showing off the local residents someare teeth???? Why are cousins marrying cousins a cause for celebration in armpit paradise?
    Yeah, we are rude – to outsiders who don’t get it and mostly to people who don’t get the fuck out of the way. But for you to use 9/11 as a platform to make a pre-determined conclusion is absolute hack and a slap in the face to those of us who lost collegues and family that day.
    Dipshit southern cunt

    Steve Newkirk

  2. Well Steve, had you the balls to give me a legitimate e-mail address I would’ve sent this via e-mail, but since you felt the need to rip me a new one in a public forum, OK..fine…I’ll play “asshole” with you.

    Did you not “get” the context of my post? I was defending New Yorkers, but I guess you were too blinded by your own arrogant rage to see beyond that point. You are the very person I referred to as being part of the bad apple.

    How dare you, Steve. How dare YOU!!!!

    NYC has much to be upset about. My heart ached for New York on 9/11. What happened was a travesty in every sense of the word, but if you’re going to continue to allow your anger fuel your rage and as an excuse to offload on everything that irks you or on everyone who has the temerity to think differently, then I guess I gave some New Yorkers too much credit.

    If that’s the case Steve then…oh let me put this in terms that a man of limited education like you can understand…it’s a fucking shame to know that there are people like you still live in the city. You sully all five boroughs. You’re a human impediment to all the good that exists and that which has come from the unification created in 9/11’s aftermath. And yes Steve..as painful and tragic as it was, good has come from the evil that the world witnessed on that day.

    I love NYC. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. That said, my heart ached for NYC on September 11th. I watched in horror along with the rest of the world. ON that day we witnessed what real hatred looked like. And yes, hate brought those buildings down, so why are you propagating it? What did you learn from the pain and suffering and abject loss you claim to harbor?

    Evidently, very little….but I’d to think you’re lexicon has been expanded, but your use of the term “Southern Dipshit Cunt” would indicate otherwise. Wow….kudos to your racist, misogynistic mindset.

    Add blatant hypocrite to the mix and frankly, that makes you one miserable melange.

    You know Steven, after reading your comment, perhaps I spoke too soon. Perhaps, I must apologize…not for anything I might have said in my post, but for thinking some of your ilk in the Northeast have progressed beyond knuckle scraping when you walk.

    People like you, burdened by your own sad, twisted reality and extraordinarily limited scope, are the reasons why there will always be a regional chasm.

    You’re a consummate asshole, Steve…but then again, we are what we eat.

    You repulse me.

    LK

  3. Let’s see, I’m:

    blinded
    arrogant
    rage
    lacking in the appreciation of temerity
    non-evolved
    I didn’t graduate from college
    I sully ( as a verb, right?) can I be conjugated, don’t know
    I am an impediment
    I apparently have abnormally long arms or really short legs
    But I can walk, so I do have that going for me
    My reality is sad
    My reality is twisted
    I have limited scope
    I am not just an asshole, but a professional one

    Thanks, I think??, for this amazing and completely unaccurate psychic reading. Yes I did get the context of your musings, however, I don’t REALLY care about the ending, just the journey it took to get there which is what infuriated me. Kitty Genovese???? The list of souless (sic) acts of violence as well as non-action is too long to list in this city, but that happens when there a 9 million of us crammed on this island that happens to be the media capital of the world, as it does in any densely populated area. Please keep it to witty prose of going to the grocery store, copy and pasted quizzes, and musings of dull ordinary southern life as a middle aged woman. That way I can have absolutely no opinion whatsoever.

    Smooches
    Steve

  4. Hey Stevie,

    Why don’t you go reach the pinnacle of your career and go beyond you’re usual childish hijinx. Be a man….get a real rap sheet. Isn’t that what you poor “big city” kids do? I mean hey–all of us Southern dipshits have seen enough Robert DeNiro movies to know that. So come on, Steve…don’t be a follower; be a leader! Why not be daring? Put that rage and hatred to good use and do something beyond that which constitutes a stint in Juvie. How about knocking over a knish stand? That’s something an inbred, uneducated penile drone like you can handle, right? Then, rough up the Armenian vendor and get caught blowing your new found windfall trying to buy sex toys at a pawn shop on Lennox.

    That way you can have all the guilt-free prison sex in the world and not suffer that pesky Newkirk family curse of well…you know.

  5. Hi LK, I thought you post was profound.

    Oh, remind me again not to get on your bad side.

    Steve – whether 9,000 or 9 million people, does it not concern you that somebody can get stabbed by a psycho in front of witnesses and nothing is done to help? Or that the the very same nutjob returns for a second go and still nobody helps? Don’t bother to reply its a rhetorical question. Besides I think I know the answer already.

    F

  6. Hi Freddy,

    Steve is actually a regular who comes here to attempt to beat up on women. We first met during a post I wrote about specific questions men want to know about women and it was picked up by the national press. He was just as vile and venomous a few months ago and his style and verbiage are extremely limited and that gives him away. He reacts the same way to everyone of my comments by listing all the things I find wrong with him. His mother or a nun or teacher must have done that to him. Sadly, it stuck.

    He comes here form time to time to quench his relentless need to be systematically emasculated. I don’t blame him, really. He only knows what he knows based on that which was a psycho-sexual oedipal turn on during his formative years.

    He equates abuse with love.

    The poor bastard must adore me!

    While he tries to fool me by using a different name, he doesn’t have the sense to change up his style.

    Ah, the failings of P.S. #189. NYC…do something about your public school system. Use Stevie as a poster boy. That way he can make Ma and Da back in the old country, awfully proud.

    His pathology regarding women is obvious. He’s hates women..the smarter and more powerful they are, the more intense his rage becomes. He comes here to attempt to rattle me. I find him incredibly entertaining.

    I play with him like a kitten does a skien of wool. But today, I have real work to do and far fewer psychotics to deal with.

    Have a great day Freddie. I’ll be Malta bound someday!

  7. Laurie: Am I glad I stuck around your post to the end. Having lived in many parts of the country including NYC, I’ll take the City over almost any place else I’ve lived. I still consider my NYC friends my best-friends-for-life. And tho New Yorkers seem rude by their fast pace and in-your-face-ness, I never found one who wouldn’t stop and help out if I asked. Frankly, I WAY prefer the directness of NYers (WYSIWYG) to the hypocrisy in my current locale where “precious” to your face means “bitch” behind your back.

  8. Well Longing for Holiday,

    I love NYC. It has an energy I can snort. Yet, I also love the slower, genteel pace of the South too.

    If you read the comments of this post, then you can see rude, tactless people exist in every geographic corner of the planet. Nothing should ever replace civility and decorum.

    I am, of course, referring to “Steve’s” comment. I should’ve eliminated it immediately and never responded, but I have this need to defend myself when attacked. Besides that, the abject vileness of his comment actually punctuated the point of my post. Even so, I was wrong for losing my temper.

    That being said, the hypocrisy you mention, knows no regional boundaries either.

    You say you prefer “the directness” of NYers as opposed to the “two faced” nature of Southerners. If that works for you, fine. Personally, I’m saddened by the fact that rudeness exists at all.

    LK

  9. Did I say “Southerners?”

    I started to read the Steve’s post, but decided it wasn’t worth my time. I know what you mean about wanting to defend yourself. I have a hard time not doing so, too.

  10. “Precious” is a common catch phrase and often a term of endearment in the south. I apologize if I presumed “locale”.

    But I still stand behind my premise that it’s a damn shame we have to deal with rude, tactless behavior on a daily basis. Whether it’s on 6th Ave in New York City or Peach Street in Altanta or at Hollywood and Vine. It’s regrettable.

    My comment to you, while coming across completely Pollyanna-ish, still has validity. That we have to deal with two faced hypocrisy or vile, uncontrolled rage like “Steve’s” is a shame. I don’t help matters by reacting to his comment as I did, but I’ve never claimed to be a paragon of virtue either.

    People espouse following Jesus and his teachings. And if not Jesus, then Buddha…Allah…pick a deity. The problem..as I see it…is that some of these people rarely practice what they preach.

    I make no bones about who I am and who I’m not. I have significant spiritual questions. I won’t profess to be so arrogant as to claim that I am anything but human and flawed and errant. I have my good points too, but it’s that, coupled with my flaws that makes me refuse to label my compassion. It’s my opinion that if I did, it would make me an even bigger hypocrite. For those who label yet still sin? That makes them hypocrites, too. The worst kind in my book.

    All I can do is vow to try harder.

    I think we all can.

  11. No apology needed. My point was that while I didn’t mention a locale, the sterotype is so well known (not to mention the word choice), most readers would recognize the locale. Even my friends from down here make that joke! So, the stereotype about New Yorkers is just as well known. Both stereotypes have some truth in them or they wouldn’t exist. What’s needed is honesty with kindness. Not fake kindness or uncaring directness. I’ve found the honesty with kindness both places.

    Why do you think people are so rude and tactless? I mean, what’s underneath?

  12. I think it’s rampant feelings of dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment. We’re in a stat of flux most of the time, nursing childhood traumas that were never dealt with and we allow them to escalate in aduthood.

    It would be easy to bury the past, but unless painful issues are properly dealt with, they’ll keep resurfacing until they are. What made “Steve” call me what he called me? I can ONLY imagine the pathology we’re dealing with here.

    And it could be because he’s just a mean, lousy human being. There are bad apples, you know. People who are just inherantly evil. Basing everything he’s ever said to me, he falls under that category. Some would say sociopaths are made not formed. I’d bet shrinks would make an expception in his case.

    I think another problem is that we depend on others to be barometers of our self worth. We let opinions…even that of total strangers shape us. How wrong that is!

    We’ve got to get a handle on our insecurities and irrational behaviors. We need to stop and think things through and not be so quick to knee jerk reactions.

    It’s not that we need to win the arguement, it’s that we argue fairly. But in the heat of battle, that kind of logic gets about as lost as logic.

    Sad.

    I can make a remotely educated guess as to what the problem, might be but I’m completely stymied as to how to fix it.

  13. Sometimes I think we are just kids in grown-up clothing and more allegedly “sophisticated” ways to pick teams, tattle-tale, call each other names, etc., etc. Sometimes not so sophisticated…

  14. True.

    The world is inhabited by posers. Those who want to make themselves and others believe they’re anointed…by God in some cases; misplaced ego in most.

    What is sophistication, really Lorraine? Knowing which fork to use during a specific course of a formal meal? That’s only partly the definition. I think it a defined and refined knowledge that comes through the acceptance of outside influences. It’s emotionally and philosophically leaving the comfort of your own mental backyard. I suppose it could be akin to mind expansion, the very concept so many espoused in the 60’s…but it’s more than that, too. It’s not through drugs as it was 40 years ago…it’s through enlightenment.

    The most “sophisticated” person I know didn’t have the elan of Jackie Kennedy, or the poise of Grace Kelly nor did he live in luxury like the erudite William F. Buckley. This was a guy who lived in a tiny, cramped apartment he shared with stacks upon stacks of books. He was incredibly literate. When he spoke about a subject, I listened because he not only knew enough about that topic, but he also knew the back stories to antithetical topics.

    I grasped what he’d say about Christian tenets, because he also knew about the Koran and Vedic principles and of course, the Talmud. He didn’t suffer from myopia like so many people I know. He understood what it takes to fully understand.

    He also had the decency and the common sense not to laud his extremely well versed and well reasoned opinion over anyone.

    That said, I think all too often, we confuse snobbery for class and we’re also lead to believe that being angry can be equated to deep thinking.

    Hardly.

    Being angry just makes you a candidate for a stroke.

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  15. Good points, tho sometimes anger is like a released valve in me (which I suppose says that the anger is always there, lurking beneath). I like what a friend once said: Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less (often). I think true maturity is when you can get away from yourself enough to not have to focus on yourself, build yourself up in others’ eyes, defend yourself, etc., etc. When you can just rest in being you, and, therefore, focus outward. Sorry no comment in a while. Having some rough spots (see blog).

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