Negative Rites of Passage

Last month, I called 3-1-1 to file a complaint about the round up and execution of hundreds of  Canada geese in NYC.  I questioned the necessity of the action as well as the lack of transparency in the decision making process.

Today, almost 3 weeks later,  I received an email response back:

Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting me about Canada geese, and the measures we’re taking to reduce the dangers they pose to aviation around our City. I’m glad you took the time to write.

Incidents like the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549, show us how important it is to keep geese from nesting near airport runways. Please know that we’ve already taken a number of non-lethal measures, including: public education to discourage feeding, the use of dogs for herding, pyrotechnics, bird deterrent wires and netting, and more. We’ve had some success, and we’re now working with the United States Department of Agriculture Office of Wildlife Services to take additional steps to avoid serious accidents and ensure the safest possible conditions for New Yorkers and travelers alike.

Thanks again for writing and sharing your concerns.


Michael R. Bloomberg


I recently read Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night.  Toward the end of the book, Mailer discusses a government spokesperson:

“The spokesman was speaking in totalitarianese, which is to say , technologese, which is to say any language which succeeds in stripping itself of any moral content.”

He further adds

“There are negative rites of passage as well.  Men learn in a negative rite to give up the best  things they were born with, and forever.  However much must a spokesman suffer in a negative rite to be able to learn to speak in such a way?”

This was from 1967, and so much resonates today.


~ by sangamithra on August 6, 2010.

One Response to “Negative Rites of Passage”

  1. Beautifully said. Yes. It is 1984 — and the year is 2010. Took a little while to come fully into bloom. It’s here. As one of the angels staffing Woodstock Animal Farm Sanctuary put it, “There is a special place in hell for Mayor Bloomberg.” I second that and raise it by saying that I hope he finds his way there sooner rather than later.

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