Friday, December 17, 2004

But at least it isn't raining

You think I'm cynical? Let's check in with James Kunstler, fresh from a vacation to Europe:

American public life by comparison is pathetic-to-nonexistent. Americans venture out only to roam the warehouse depots, and only by car. In most American places bars are strictly for lowlifes, and the public realm for the employed classes is pretty much restricted to television, with its predictable cast of manufactured characters and situations. The alienation and isolation of American life is so pervasive and pathological, compared to life lived elsewhere in this world, that all the Prozac ever made will never avail to make things better for us.

The process of making America an alienated land of solitary, obese driver-shoppers has been very profitable for predatory corporations. They have systematically disassembled the public social infrastructure and repackaged pieces of it for sale -- starting with the single-family house isolated on its lot from all the normal amenities of culture and society. Everybody now has their 'home theater' so the cinema is only a place to park children for two hours so you can drive elsewhere to buy the cheez doodles, frozen pizza, Pepsi, and other staples of the American diet. You equip your kitchen with an espresso machine and there is no reason to "waste your time" in a cafe. Everybody has to have their own pool, so the kids can go swimming by themselves. Family values. The rest of the human race is unimportant.

Why does he hate freedom?


Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

Community is an interesting question and issue to ponder. This is one reason why the public swim pools and Rec Centers are so important to the city's fabric of life -- community.

In a strange way, Pittsburgh is behind the times, as usual. I contend Pittsburgh still have some community spunk in the neighborhoods of the city. It wanes in the burbs, but each has its own flare.

So, that "nonexistent" claim isn't true yet, here. But, we do need to fight for the elements that ground us as communities.

11:20 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Kunstler can get quite over the top. But if you can make your way through the bitterness and cultural elitism, he makes some valid points.

10:37 AM


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