notes about atlanta: 1

Revisiting Atlanta, for LI, has an oddly metaphysical impact on the old system: I automatically start feeling like a haunt, except of course that I am not revisiting the scene of any crime greater than adolescence. The stuff I used to know when long ago I lived here is so long past in Atlanta time that the only remaining landmarks in the place that the returning native can be sure of are the strip clubs, monuments to Atlanta’s deepest cultural instincts: the Tops n Tails, the Cheetah Lounge, the Pink Pony. It is an oddity among cities in that it is a great Black metropolis surrounded by perhaps the most conservative white suburbs in the country (although I should say that great black suburbs now span Dekalb county and are reaching into Gwinnett – a county that years ago voted down the Metropolitan Atlanta Transit system out of the oldest segregationist fears ever advanced by a Southern politician. Which is a lesson for me: progress always has the same ragged line as defeat, advances chaotically and partially and with many intervals of retreat and stagnation). It is no surprise that both TLC and Newt Gingrich emerged from the great debris field of this highway system in search of buildings to knock down, or that high tech companies are busily engineering software in counties that are tireless in trying to sneak prayer and creationism into the schools.


Patrick J. Mullins said…
The way you describe Atlanta sounds exactly like what I thought Detroit was supposed to be (although I haven't ever been there.) I mean I know Detroit is almost all-black in the city and then there's Dearborn, etc. So has Atlanta become like that? I've been to Atlanta many times, but never stayed long nor gotten to know it well. I had an odious job in publishing for 2 years here whose home office was ATL. I always got the feeling the city had an ultra-corporate feel to it, maybe had begun to resemble Dallas. I'm a freak when it comes to fascination with cities, and you'll know how to answer this, unquestionably.