The curious will never be able to understand the first thing about Miami (if indeed the place may be truly understood, at all) until they realize that the relevant focus has never been the actual city, itself.
No real place, as in an actual point to be found on a map, or touched upon the curved surface of a world globe, could begin to sustain the vast weight of the frenzied projections that have always been heaped upon it, from without and from within, or prove the equal of the endless and fevered dreams to which it has been constantly subjected, like so many Technicolor overlays, by those overly filled with life, or who have felt themselves fading away altogether, or drowning, for lack of “something better” in their lives, and in the world.
It is the idea of Miami that has always been the key question, to a hungry world. Once this truth sinks in, it becomes easier to extend to the place a little generosity, and even (for a change) approach that Miami which actually is with some measure of gentle kindness.
Miami never called itself “the Magic City;” it was far too busy being built up, and expanding in every conceivable direction to do so, even had it been so inclined. The extraordinary dynamic of its own endless “becoming” continues in full force even now, and is in fact at the moment being taken to a new level. Yet Miami itself remains innocent. How can a place be blamed for falling short of the most extravagant fables that might have possibly been woven around it?
It is indeed a “Magic City,” but not in the way people have historically and unthinkingly applied that descriptive. And like every other great and shimmering horizon throughout history that has borne the burden and sad misfortune of being thus described, the “real” Miami needs our love, and understanding. It has served generations faithfully, and demanded nothing in return. It is for our own sake, then, that we might consider acknowledging the scope of its gift, the utter impossibility of its position, and maybe even finding it within our hearts to give the place some respect, instead of heaping upon it still more ingratitude, derision, and scorn.