Difficult times in the U.S. of A

30 Apr

To briefly paraphrase / plagiarize / Internetize Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, last week it seemed like things were getting a bit better for New Yorkers … Over the weekend the weather was beautiful, Central Park was full, mentions of protests on Wall Street had simmered down and Obama had survived his first 100 days in office and was doing reasonably well, according to the Pew Research Center at least.

daily-showDescribing an afternoon ‘disco blading’ through Central Park in his newly-cut ‘jean shorts’ Stewart says: “I gotta tell you, I really felt, you know what, we’re about to turn this thing around.”
[CUT TO THE SCARY PRESENTERS AT FOX]
Female presenter: “This is a FOX. NEWS. ALERT. The White House now declaring a public health emergency to deal with the threat of the SWINE FLU…” (You’ll understand the emphases if you listen to her talk)
[CUT TO ANDERSON COOPER AND HIS BEAUTIFUL SILVERY HAIR]
The Silver Fox: “Breaking news. A fast moving new strain of the flu, and at this hour, the death toll is rising.” Another correspondent asks, is this a pandemic?
[Cut to Jon Stewart, lip stuck out next to a picture of a pig with the banner: SNOUTBREAK ’09.]
Jon Stewart: “MOTHERF—!! A pandemic. Seriously?! You’re adding a pandemic?”

What I love about Stewart is how beautifully he captures the feelings of so many people with his “fake” nightly newscasts. It’s true. The mood of New York has improved slightly since the tremendous economic crash last year. The fact that several New York City children had contracted a mild form of the swine flu (several more have been found since but none have died) was really horrible. Just when we thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.

And then the Defense Force decided to do this:

It was quite possibly, the stupidest thing the Defense Force could’ve done – flying Air Force One low over Manhattan without making sure that the city, the Mayor and residents were informed on some level. Of course, people panicked and thousands self-evacuated their buildings. The spectre of 9/11 is still very present. Whenever I am evacuated from a building (last Tuesday at the BBC offices on 34th Street was the most recent incident) I think back on that time, and I’m not even a New Yorker. I can’t imagine what must have gone through the minds of people who saw the plane fly low over the skyscrapers of Manhattan. I accompanied the BBC correspondent on this a shoot near Ground Zero which was later added on to the 6pm news segement (Here is the story without the correspondent).

My day at the BBC also included packing some dust masks, AA batteries and equipment from Brooklyn and rushing it over to a correspondent who was about to leave for a flight to Mexico City. The BBC has done great coverage of the story as its developed, I much prefer them to network news, which I find quite panicky.

Talking of work, I also just submitted a freelance story for Women’s eNews, which you can find here: Visco Sets Her Own Pace in 9-Month Run Across U.S. That was a fun story to write!

Last weekend was really nice … on Saturday we celebrated Spring Festival at Sakura Park outside I-House in beautiful weather, and on Sunday we headed out to Central Park for a picnic and a very lazy afternoon. I really needed the break … most of this week has been spent working on our magazine, which will go to the printers on Sunday, and our project for Global Post on remittances, which is due on Monday. Hopefully after that, it’s the home stretch! At any rate it looks like I’ll have a Master’s degree in 2 1/2 weeks time! That’s just craziness.

So, that’s just a short update of where I am right now … lots of things happening but I’m going with the flow and doing what I (think) I do best, which is obsess over details and work on several million things at once. Tonight: a film screening of sex trafficking in New York City, tomorrow; work for the Alumni Office (more OCVD), time coding an interview with Arabic-speaking Yemenis, hopefully helping with website design, trying to write an overview for Global Post, sorting out interviewing for the weekend, etc etc etc. I’m incredibly excited to see the fam in a few weeks …

Missing you all! Lots of love Jax

p.s. I leave you with a strip of one of the best comics out there …

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