I was a newspaperman in San Francisco at the worst of its looney days: during Jonestown and the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk. It was irritating being the world’s nutcases. Now, I fear, New York could get cast in that role. Witness this grating story from The Times of London (and no, I’m not complaining about it out of civic hubris; I’m complaining as a reporter who knows damned well how to hype): “Yuppies are assembling survival kits; drivers hoarding petrol; families setting up private codes to signal an evacuation to their country homes. Bicycles, rope ladders, axes and walkie talkies have been selling well….The favoured form of emergency transport for the next attack seems to be boat. A veritable flotilla of small craft fleeing the island of Manhattan can be expected to set sail on the fateful day….New Yorkers are loath to go to New Jersey but the grimy industrial wasteland now seems like an attractive option if worst comes to worst….” Now that’s going too far.
I have always loved the New York Post; I’m a bad-ass tab guy. But after Sept. 11, I find myself agreeing with the Post more often than not. The world has changed.