Swelter

The party winding down to a necrophiliac's ball, a corpse chewed into grist by money, stupidity, and a mutant strain of teen beasts: screaming homophobic obscenities and fighting like women, puking on the streets, throwing their girlfriends out of moving cars for a lark. The cancer that drove us out of the Grove in the mid-Eighties -- marauding adolescents and deluded piss elegance, Pop Tart architecture and grotesque politics -- happening all over again. Another outpost of charm rushing toward the imminent specter of small-change gamblers and drunken conventioneers, financially entrenched hipsters missing the curve of chic and clinging to the safe harbor of private fortresses and overwrought hotels, district pioneers madly selling out and futilely attempting to cash in before the fall. Miami, the spoiled child of the American landscape, lacking the historical infrastructure and resilience of other cities, immolating itself with willfulness and greed. A town wondrous beyond reckoning a quarter century ago, an overblown village nestled by a forgiving sea, freed from the workings of publicity. It can't go on and yet it can't be stopped, and at a certain point it becomes home, good, bad, or plainly doomed. The alternatives narrow and you realize that your fates are hopelessly intertwined: Stay long enough and the city will mark and taint your being forever. The madness and desecration can be intolerable, but no other place quite feels right. And always, August is the cruelest month.

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