Jay McInerney Just Wants a Hug

Jay McInerney, you've come a long way, baby. In an uplifting story in the Independent (UK) today, he rapsodizes about the cheery folks in his cozy Greenwich Village enclave, and he poses the post-Obama victory morning as the happy flip-side of the coin of the dark days after 9/11 here in New York. The people hugging in the streets were riding on fizzy soda-pop bubbles of jubilation instead of waves of despair and dread.

He's so warm and fuzzy sounding that you wonder if writing about wine in House & Garden and marrying a Hearst have beaten all the bite out of him. But then he gets testy defending his hometown from those who would demonize New York as a den of elitists, and quotes a Bush operative in the South whose "I don't give a shit about abortion or gay marriage," is followed by a foul barrage of epithets. When McInerney brightens at the prospect that this cabal has been broken, he is utterly sincere. He's built a career out of chronicling the City, from the Bolivian storm of coke-snorting yuppies in "Bright Lights, Big City" to the ash cloud hanging over Manhattan in "The Good Life," and it's heartening to hear him lighten up.

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