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The Perils of Plutocratic Narcissism


I admit I’ve been holding off on this because I made the same mistake as the functionalists who assume that if things get bad enough the U.S. will just have to adopt single-payer. Running the NYC Marathon on Sunday seemed so obviously stupid I couldn’t believe it would actually happen, that Bloomberg would backtrack just like he backtracked on (the comparatively minor matter of) playing a game at the Barclay’s Center with no mass transit access.

But it seems like this might actually happen, seriously, what the hell is Bloomberg doing?

If a stupid media tent for an even stupider race getting electricity before the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who currently are without power seems insulting, ridiculous, and flat-out idiotic, that’s because it is.

As it stands, nearly 600,000 New Yorkers are without power. Many of those people aren’t expected to have power restored for up to 10 days. But the sporting press for a stupid foot-race has all the juice they need — and then some.

The New York Post reported this morning that the Marathon’s media tent is getting fueled by “three diesel-powered generators” that “crank out 800 kilowatts — enough to power 400 homes in ravaged areas like Staten Island, the Rockaways and downtown Manhattan.”

In addition to the three generators pumping electricity into the tent, there is a backup generator on standby — just in case any of the three fail.

I’m not arguing that the marathon shoul be cancelled out of respect or whatever. Live can’t stop in the face of every natural disaster or nothing could ever happen. What I am arguing is that this race will consume resources — police officers, generators, hotel rooms — that are desperately needed for things other than a foot race that a trivial number of people care about. And yes, some conservatives are opportunistically attacking Mayor Rich because of his belated endorsement* of Obama…but that doesn’t make them wrong.

*MacGillis: “Obama gets The Economist AND Mike Bloomberg in the same day? How many Electoral College votes does the Acela quiet car carry?”

Update: [PC] The marathon has been postponed to a later date.  [SL] Story here.   Earlier would have been better, but it this case late is indeed better than never.

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