Friday, January 1, 2016

The Lost Continent of Miami

  Atlantis (the Bahamas)
Nothing is really wrong in Florida. Life goes on as usual, but if you read Elizabeth Kolbert’s recent New Yorker article it sounds a little like Miamians, at least, may one day awaken to find themselves in danger of becoming The Lost Continent of Atlantis or even worse Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (“The Siege of Miami,” The New Yorker, 12/21/15). Were the developers of one of the big Bahamanian resorts being unwitting Cassandras when they named their property, Atlantis? The usual rejoinder to jeremiads about global warming and rising water levels due to melting ice on the poles is that Venice and Amsterdam have been below sea level for years, but Kolbert takes that into consideration too, as she deals with the particular structure of what lies under Miami’s seemingly or not so seemingly livable conditions (in the article she describes traveling to certain areas of Miami which suffer from chronic flooding). But let’s imagine what Miami would be like under water. People places like South Beach go to trendy oxygen bars so it wouldn’t be a very big stretch to have them swimming around with aqualungs, which themselves have to be regularly tested for TB. The notion of selling air is in fact no longer quaint as we’ve seen from the reports about the smog in Peking which has people purchasing canisters of fresh air off the same racks that they buy their bottled water. Life goes on and people will frequent the Mandarin Oriental or The Fontainebleau, even if they're six feet under. You’ll have water locks which let you into your room and when you go to a bar called the Mermaid, a comely woman bartender wearing a mask will take her snorkel out of her mouth to ask what you're going to have. Miami will be like a big water park. You’ll visit it the way you do the Coney Island aquarium, only instead of fish floating in the tank, you’ll find people.

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