Every gray cloud has a silver lining.
The Alabama abortion law is a gray cloud for reasons I have laid out before.
But I may have found its silver lining.
Tell me New York Times, what your opinion is.
Two years ago, I got a text from a cousin I love announcing that she had moved to New Orleans, leaving behind a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn and a job of millennial fever dreams. At 26, Tess was head of research and development for Christina Tosi and her baking empire, Milk Bar, the great 21st-century dessert disrupter.
Um… Milk Bar is a dessert bakery with 16 stores, mostly in New York. I have not heard about them until I read this article. I think “great 21st-century dessert disrupter” is a little bit overblown.
Tess wanted her own kingdom, and New York — forbidding, impossible — wasn’t going to let her build it. The start-up costs for the baking and catering business she envisioned were going to be too high; the rent on her apartment in Bed-Stuy was increasing. When she moved in it was $1,800 a month; just a few years later, it was approaching $3,400.
New York City just sucks.
This young woman was a citizen of the New South now. Her business, Tess Kitchen, was thriving. Her New Orleans apartment, at $1,900 a month, had three bathrooms.
Wow, the cost of living in New Orleans is higher than I thought.
I called Tess on the day that the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee backed legislation to prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat was detected. This came 24 hours after Alabama passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country, one that does not allow exceptions for rape or incest. That followed the passage of another restrictive abortion law in Georgia.
Living in a very liberal city in a very conservative state is a trick mirror. “You really forget that you are in the Deep South here,’’ she said. The news was an awakening. When she had moved to New Orleans she volunteered for Planned Parenthood. She knocked on doors to ask for donations, expecting at least some to be slammed in her face. But nearly everyone she met was already making contributions to Planned Parenthood.
New Orleans is a very Blue bubble inside a very Red state.
The high crime rate and incredible level of corruption should have been a tip.
“The New South’’ was a term conceived in the aftermath of the Civil War to suggest a set of aspirations of some southern elites who hoped to rebuild a backward and devastated place into a world better aligned with Northern urban values.
No, no it isn’t.
The term “New South” refers to the economic shift from an exclusively agrarian society to one that embraced industrial development. Influential southerners such as Atlanta Constitution managing editor Henry W. Grady employed the term in an effort to promote economic investment and industrial growth in the decimated and depressed South, as well as to tap the region’s abundant and largely untouched natural resources.
The writer at the New York Times clearly has no idea why the New South has grown the way it has. The northern values that have driven up the cost of labor, living, and work in the Rust Belt were not adopted in the South, attracting companies to build factories.
Over the many decades, it has acquired various layers of nuance, but today it tends to call to mind a string of cities from Charlotte, N.C., to Austin, Tex., that have essentially been Brooklynized by way of a progressive social culture and a tweaked fidelity to some of the South’s more marketable traditions.
Brooklynized? This is the most New York City narcissistic thing I have ever heard. It’s also wrong.
I can assure you that we don’t have homeless vagrants shitting in our parks, injecting themselves with government provided needles. While you may smell the occasional pig truck that rolls on down the highway, the streets don’t smell like homeless piss.
In this iteration the New South has a powerful public relations arm in the magazine Garden & Gun, which really would require many more thousands of words to properly describe, but it is presented, in essence, as a lush-life destination where the mint-julep cups are always sterling, the leather is hand-sewn and the pastrami is made from duck you shot yourself.
That Garden & Gun describes the New South shows just how not Brooklyn it is. We still have our gun rights. Our cops are not arresting workers for pocket knives.
Fun fact. My employer had a knife policy when the moved here. Employees could carry small pocket knives, blades less than three inches, which was in accordance with the state laws of the northern state the company was based in.
Alabamans didn’t understand what the point was of a knife that small, also we are allowed to legally own automatic knives. They got tired of stopping new hires over this so now it’s pretty much “don’t be a dick and bring in a six inch fixed blade on your belt.”
That’s not Brooklyn.
It has been a successful formula. These revitalized cities have benefited from the system of afflictions that places like New York and San Francisco impose on their young. At the end of last year, LinkedIn, which regularly mines its database of 150 million worker profiles to analyze patterns in American employment and migration, reported that Atlanta had received more workers from New York City than any other place in the country during the preceding 12 months. That development has continued for most of this year.
In the last 15 years or so, I have made no fewer than 50 trips to Birmingham, Ala., where my husband’s family lives, each time marveling at how much more exquisitely it meets a particular set of consumerist and architectural fantasies — the book shops, the midcentury modern furniture stores, the retooled industrial spaces, the gyms that are indistinguishable from the ones in TriBeCa, the soaring leaded windows, the restaurants now nationally known and the new ones always coming up.
We built that Ruth’s Chriss just for you to feel at home, we’d be fine with stewed possum on our own.
I’m so glad that Birmingham is finally appealing to your enlightened New York sensibilities, you elitist prick.
I once landed at the airport with a hypnotic determination to try the pizza of a young African-American chef who had returned home, by way of Cobble Hill and Per Se, to open a restaurant in an old Birmingham post office. Two years ago, in the lead-up to the special election that would find Doug Jones beating his Republican opponent Roy Moore for Jeff Sessions’s Senate seat, it was hard not to notice that nearly every political sign on a lawn in a Republican suburb a few minutes from downtown was a sign for Doug Jones.
Birmingham is another Blue bubble. Just look at its crime rate.
Also, that election was a fucking catastrophe, and if you don’t live in Alabama you don’t get what was so terrible about it.
If you think it’s as simple as “we New Yorkers are starting to turn these Republican hayseeds into Democrats by virtue of us being here, like missionaries into the wastelands” you are wrong, and a prick.
I would return to New York and market these truths to skeptical friends whose experience of the South typically never extended past Arlington, Va.
Because New Yorkers are the most bigoted people I know.
How will these new abortion laws affect the redistribution of talent to places whose economies prosper from that talent? Under the current conditions, I wondered if women like Tess and her friends, many of whom moved from New York or Los Angeles, would have chosen to relocate to the Deep South. I asked some of them, and they told me that they were not sure.
I’m pro-choice because I’m a civil libertarian.
But if you want to stay in a city of high crime and unaffordable costs of living because they will let you murder an unborn baby, you go right ahead and stay there.
What worries us in the New South is we have seen what California has done to Colorado and what New York has done to Florida.
We welcome the new business but for some reason, Northerners move south, or Californians move east, to escape the economic hellscape of the places they created, then they promptly change the places they move into the hellscape they came from.
There is a lot I miss about Chicago. That every resident of the city is on the hook for $125,000 in unfunded liability costs is not one of them. The cost of living, the crime in some areas, taxes, gun control laws, those are terrible. We don’t want them in the South. We know that those policies are some of the reasons we absorbed the businesses that the North has lost.
The idea that the New Yorkers have to Brooklynize the South to make it livable is… to use borrow a term from Social Justice, colonialist.
If you want to come to the South and fit into our way of life and enjoy the financial benefits that we have to offer, welcome.
If you want to come and turn the New South into Brooklyn so that we end up with an AOC and de Blasio of our own to drive away jobs and let the homeless wash their asses in our park fountains after shooting up heroin, you can just fuck right off back to New York City.
If abortion laws are going to drive off the carpetbaggers who want to turn Alabama into New York City and Georgia into East LA, I’m all for supporting more of them.