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Monday, August 11, 2014

NYT Reporter Pamela Druckerman Spends Two Weeks in Miami Shopping and Swimming, then declares "it's just Semi-intellectual."

I saw dolphins frolicking in Biscayne Bay this mornng off Baywood Park. I was thinking how I could reply to Pamela Druckerman's diss by the New York Times about Miami.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/opinion/sunday/miami-grows-up-a-little-.html . They were happy to run the piece because the NYT has never seen an anti-Miami screed that it didn't publish.  Let's be clear, Druckerman hasn't lived here since High School.  She apparently wrote down some childhood memories, did a Google search about the arrival of Cuban exiles and shopped and swam a lot. She apparently didn't have any interesting conversations with anyone, spoke to a professor of urban studies named Richard Florida, from....Toronto....about Miami, who has decided that Miami hasn't found it's space "of ideas and brains."

Druckerman, who lives in Paris and has great concern for wealth inequality was quick to maintain that Miami is "materialistic" unlike wherever she currently resides. She didn't give examples of what she meant, but I assume she means hard work, rewarded by money and nice things is a bad thing. She was quick to point out our wealth inequality (a resort town that caters to the wealthy generally has that effect) and how Miamians just blithely "drive by the poor" unlike the French who exile them to suburbs named Banilieue. Ms Druckerman apparently cares about the poor and occasionally tries to talk to her Miami friends about it. (It's not mentioned anywhere else in her body of work.)

So I imagine Pamela came to Miami, probably South Miami, hung out with some suburban friends who went shopping with her at Dadeland and Merrick Place.  She made her South Miami friends drive her north of Flagler Street (which few suburbanites ever do, unless they live in Doral) to Wynwood, saw the cool murals, walked into a gallery which was new and "hip". New Yorkers never go to Coral Gables galleries because A. they're too expensive and sell "established" artists that show in New York and Paris. B. They can see all those artists in New York and Paris anyway.

Then Pamela perused the New Times or Miami Magazine and noticed that there were a lot of ads for personal trainers and plastic surgery. Nothing against either occupation, but it's work and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, unless you're Pamela Druckerman. FYI Pamela: New York and LA have a lot of personal trainers and plastic surgeons too.  She swam laps in her parent's pool, or at the South Miami JCC and returned to Paris. 

She spoke to no intellectuals based here, because they're "scattered around town" and didn't take the effort to drive 20 minutes to go see any of them.(Non rush hour traffic in Miami, everything is 20 minutes away....true).  I could go on about our local schools and their growth, but it wouldn't matter really, Pamela came here looking for vapid and she found it. She's Reece Witherspoon in the movie Sweet Home Alabama, finding that Miami is just a hick town full of shallow, albeit attractive, Cubans.   Be honest, Pamela Druckerman, you didn't find "intellectuals" because you really didn't look. I mean there are more than a few New York "intellectuals" "scattered around town" that you could have looked up, but you didn't bother. 

Pamela, perhaps you should check out all the new factories that the "materialistic" Venezuelans have put in all those warehouses west of the airport. All those Venezuelan engineers have brought a lot of manufacturing expertise from the now decrepit Venezuelan oil industry. But you wouldn't know that, because you didn't make the effort. In typical New York and Parisian style you came here to look down on us and were upset that Miamians don't care about New York or Paris except what comes off their fashion runways. She knocks the growth of new condos here, last I checked New York was chock-a-block with new luxury condos too.

Miami is what it is, a new global city. Vibrant, beautiful and exciting. A "Magic City" that turned a swamp, a beach and an airport into something amazingly cool. A hub of Latino moxie, energy and promise. All bathed in sunshine and fun. It's a shame you didn't see any of that. You never moved passed the Miami Vice version of Miami and you didn't even want to. 

Pamela, I never saw dolphins in Seine (or in the East River for that matter) and I never went looking for a beach in New York. You said you came to Miami hoping it wasn't "vapid", I can say if vapid were a true Miami trait, you are truly a Miamian.