The Great Debate

Non! Je t’accuse, toi!


B train, New York
B train, New York

This was a fascinating train ride. The central character here, the man seated on the right got on the train loud and looking for an argument. He tried to engage someone reading the paper in a discussion about the headline (something related to recriminations in the wake of the shooting of 2 policemen in crazed retribution for the recent Eric Garner debacle). He was very loud, projecting like an actor and very cogent. He argued that this happened to blacks because they lack solidarity and unity. He claimed that whites would always unite to protect their own but blacks did not. At one point he pointed at me and the tall white man sitting next to me and used us as an example of what would happen if we were attacked (he claimed 50 white people would leap to our defense – I didn’t dare enter the fray to counter that such a thing never happened in the ’70s when I was set upon with impunity in the city’s bad old days).

The man standing and pointing at him took issue with this; accused him of being drunk; claimed to have a job and a home; apologized to white people in the train on behalf of the louder man and explained he was drunk (I’m not at all sure he was). The man sitting on the left, with what I took for an African accent, was a smiling peacemaker, trying to get both parties to relax. The man sitting on the right was the stronger debater, accusing his opponent of merely being in  a program, of being stupid for even engaging in discussion with him, at various points speaking whole paragraphs of gibberish. They were so loud that white people were getting off or moving out of the car and the conductor said he’d be calling the transit police.

Eventually the standing man got off at this stop and in the final frame here, the other two wave goodbye to him. It was quite a show.

2014 in review

Thanks to all my readers, followers and commenters. Your continued viewership and interactions inspire me to keep documenting life in New York and occasionally elsewhere.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.