Monday, August 18, 2014

why pamela druckerman (a native miamian) still deserves credit for her inane article about miami for the new york times

alFreDo tRiFf

from the ny times, written by ex-patriate miamian pamela druckerman:
MIAMI even has a homegrown dialect. Young Latinos — regardless of whether they even know Spanish — speak English with a Spanish twang. To non-Miamians, they sound like extremely fluent immigrants. Phillip M. Carter, a linguist at Florida International University, says that when young born-and-bred Miamians visit the rest of America, or even Boca Raton, people often ask them what country they’re from. “Miami English” is also proof that a city can be international but not cosmopolitan. People typically don’t realize they’re speaking a dialect unless they leave Miami, Mr. Carter says.
are young latinos to blame for speaking english with a spanish twang?

does druckerman know that english is considered a pluricentric language. i.e., language and ethnic identity are essentially divergent? if so, english is more like a heterogeneous socio-phonetic universe than a prosodic safe-zone.

what is the english language if not an amazing pottage of germanic, french, latin, greek, and whatnot?

and what, if not ethnic bias, would predispose an american from elsewhere, listening to a native miamian speaker, to assume that she/he is from a different country?

druckerman is happy to cash in her appeal to authority by a linguist at FIU by the name of phillip carter, whose pseudo-academic dictum is as thin as air:
“Miami English” is also proof that a city can be international but not cosmopolitan.
here's the meaning of "cosmopolitan":
1. Pertinent or common to the whole world: an issue of cosmopolitan import.
2. Having constituent elements from all over the world or from many different parts of the world: the ancient and cosmopolitan societies of Syria and Egypt.
3. So sophisticated as to be at home in all parts of the world or conversant with many spheres of interest: a cosmopolitan traveler.
would you expect modigliani, kandinsky, rilke, max ernst & joyce (all foreigners) to speak french in the 1920's with a piccardian twang?

oh, but 1920's paris is the paradigm of "cosmopolitan."

what is this distinction between "international" and "cosmopolitan" that doesn't beg the question on ethnicity?

and with "cosmopolitan" and "international" being so close, why is miami still not "cosmopolitan"?

i bet druckerman favors definition #3 above: miami lacks sophistication.


at this point, druckerman offers a no-brainer: miami's inequality.
Most locals also don’t seem bothered that Miami is one of America’s most unequal cities, with lots of very poor people living close to rich ones. Miami’s have-nots are easy to ignore, since — if they’re not cleaning your house or parking your car — you just drive past them.
it's clear that in most cosmopolitan cities, rich and poor live pretty close. next, i'll gloss over druckerman's unwarranted inferences & vapid satire. however, she has a point: miami has lots of poor people.

but that nothing to do with cosmopolitanism. for instance, oxnard-thousand oaks-ventura, california, population 822,000 (with a 72% of well-to-do whites), is the sixth most affluent city in america, but does that make it a cosmopolitan destination?

since druckerman cannot successfully establish the rich/cosmopolitan connection, she is left with an even worse conjecture:

miami is --generally-- stupid.
And while there are some thinkers scattered around town, Miami is overrun with lawyers, jewelry designers and personal trainers, all trying to sell services to one another.
while druckerman conveys very little cogitation in her article, we should marvel that this native miamian can write such a goofy piece for one of the best world's newspapers (and get away with it).

go girl! 


olisan said...

Hitting the hammer with the nail's head. The distinction btwn international and cosmopolitan is roughly 150,000 a year. Most intelucktuals would agree, Druckerman comes across like an intellacktual.

Alfredo Triff said...

indeed olisan!

Malagodi said...

Methinks thou dost protest too much.