On my way to see it last night, Dave quoted me a statistic that the area around Wall Street has the highest male-female ratio among residents of any zip code in the country. (He later copped to possibly maybe making it up.) The factoid’s imagery—unattached men in their downtown luxury dormitories—set me off thinking about parallels with other migrant lone men and their entrepreneurial get in/get your money/get out mentality: off-sea rigs, California orchards, Dubai construction projects, Old Prospector, Alaskan crab fishing.
For the finance industry, duh, the rewards are greater for little to no risk (to yourself), but a decent proportion of the lingering downtown population must be Wall Street casualties. The rationale of ‘Sweet, I’ll be closer to work’ morphs to ‘I’ll push for five years, make bank, get out, catch up on that social life, start the family, ride the wave’ morphs to ‘How does Goldman still get a bonus?’ morphs to ‘Shit, I waited too long,’ and the bachelor ratio stacks up higher. Boys.
Which ruined my enjoyment of I Am Legend because now I couldn’t help but watch it as a metaphor for rapacious unregulated capitalism. Our zombies—and zombies are allegories for whatever you wish them to be, Virginia—are mostly men and really white, spend the day in office buildings and carouse through the streets all evening. They just don’t see the point in giving back to the community. Meanwhile our uncontaminated hero is a research scientist. Whether he works for the army or NYU, he is safely within the borders of the nonprofit sector. A nonprofit worker in New York City, up against these guys: that means that, however well-intentioned and duty-bound, he is insane, self-destructive, lacks judgment, and they will kill him in the end.