Citibike has been in operation for about a month now and, just like many people predicted, it has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of tourists, the mass exodus of New Yorkers from neighborhoods with bike share stations, and the implementation of Bloomberg's nefarious communist plan to ban all cars from New York City forever. It's been madness, I tell you—MADNESS!
Or, you know, none of those things have happened and the bike apocalypse that was predicted by such New York luminaries as the editorial board at The New York Observer and The Wall Street Journal and a bunch of people on Facebook who you went to high school with and who now live in Murray Hill. God, high school was awful.
Anyway. The launch of Citibike has not been without its minor flaws, namely docking stations that seem to be available on the Citibike app, only to actually be full, and, uh, that's kind of it? Yet people still continue to hate on it. George Gurley interviews notorious Citibike hater and WSJ writer and editor, Dorothy Rabinowitz, in New York Magazine, and tries to get at the root of her Citibike animosity. It's simple really. Rabinowitz thinks the bikes portend the end of humanity. Well, that's rational, right? Allow her to explain, "I realized it was like some science-fiction thing. The pods have landed, only they've landed with the racks, and they're coming with allies called bicyclists. The activating force behind all of the fury was the racks, instruments of aesthetic torture...I was thinking, No one is going to live with it. I literally thought that. And then when I saw the bicycles on top of it, I realized this is the stuff of your darkest aesthetic dreams. There is nothing human about the racks. Not even when people get on the bikes.”
And, apparently, Rabinowitz (who has been openly mocked by both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for her comparison of the introduction of Citibike to the programs of totalitarian governments) is not alone. She recounts being approached on the street by people who walk up to her "and say, 'I'm so glad you said that about the bikes.'" Rabinowitz says she replies, "'What the hell are we whispering about? What is this, East Germany?'" Yes! Exactly right, Dorothy. This is East Germany and the recent revelation that the NSA spies on all of us all the time is definitely evocative of the programs of the East German Stasi. In fact, what are your views on NSA spying? Well, Rabinowitz tells Gurley, “Surveillance is important in the war against terror, which exists. Snooping into what? Most sane people would say, 'Go ahead, look at my e-mail correspondence, what do I care? As long you stop the bombers in Boston.' I mean, that is the normal, visceral American response.”
Sure it is. The "normal, visceral American response" is definitely to want the government looking at your email because if the government didn't have that power, then they never would have been able to stop the bombing in Boston. And think how much destruction would have been caused! Terrible. So glad that didn't happen. Whew.
So, basically, Dorothy Rabinowitz thinks that we are living in a totalitarian state because of a bike share program, but not because the government is checking our every Facebook status update. This is the kind of person who still hates Citibike, despite it being overwhelmingly popular (72% approval rate via recent polling.) I guess the answer to the question of why some people still hate Citibike is simple: they're cranky old people whose logic is as riddled with holes as city streets are with potholes.
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