Good Read on Camden, NJ

Matt Taibbi’s recent piece in Rolling Stone on Camden is worth checking out. It’s a piece of immersion journalism, and not a deep work of historical analysis (for that, check out Howard Gillette, whom Taibbi name-checks). But it’s compellingly written, with far fewer swear words than Taibbi usually uses (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and does present an interesting twist at the end about our society’s collective imaginary of how race and social problems are located in metropolitan space:

This is another potential hole in the policing plan: The fact that broken suburbs – full of increasingly un- or underemployed young people – send a seemingly limitless supply of customers for Camden’s drug trade…. This city, incidentally, has a reputation for having the best dope on the East Coast, which partly explains the daily influx of white junkies (“Dope,” jokes Morton, “is a Caucasian drug”).

It’s also a provocative exploration of the consequences of state interference with local and municipal power, something that’s been on my mind lately.

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