Right, Left & Catcall Video

The right has been reacting to that viral NYC catcall video with a collective shrugging of the shoulders (while the further right has taken glee in its inadvertent criticism of black and Hispanic men). See here and here. They downplay the idea that the woman was harassed or suffered from anything more than mild inconvenience. Meanwhile the left accepts the terror of catcalling, but claims the video makes minority men look bad; so they strain to bring white guys into it all where they demonstrably weren’t. White men are still awful! Don’t take your eyes off the ball(s)! 

My take is that yes, it must actually be annoying and uncomfortable to be the the center of unwanted attention. But then I’m also fairly introverted, as I suspect many of the upper-middle class hipster transplants to New York City are.

I see part of the solution to catcalling to be certain trends in social life that both the populist left and right have bemoaned. Namely the everyone’s-looking-at-their-smartphone trend. A friend of mine who works at Airbnb recently complained to me about the lack of vandals among the younger crowd these days. “Those kids who skate, steal, etc. are the savior of humanity,” he texted. (Just now got the irony of that.) But those kinda kids are the ones who make women feel uncomfortable out in public. I’m old enough to remember witnessing this kind of thing. They’re the kids who loiter in front of the mall talking shit to the fat girl who’d hoped to escape their peripheral vision. Now those young men are at home playing video games that rival the intensity of a 1980s summer blockbuster. Or…looking at their smartphone, alone together.

The shrinking of youth-dominated street life has its upsides.

I’ve written nostalgically about my youth. But it wasn’t all good, for everybody.


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