Tuesday, August 26, 2008

History of the DNC

This is pretty fascinating

NYT: A History of the Democratic National Convention

Monday, August 18, 2008

Decline



Cities declined when their "bubble" burst- when they no longer offered the perception of limitless growth and investment opportunity relative to other options (and when white people ran away from non-whites instead of reaping the institutional racism they'd sewed for 400 years).

But what happens now that John Q. Public is seeing the uselessness of his suburban utopia as he finally realizes he lives in a resource-limited world?

What is the Future of Suburbia?

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Clash

In case you wanted some insight into America's role in the situation in Georgia, peep Fred Kaplan's article in Slate this week. The details on what Europe understood about NATO and Russia, and what Bush et al did not in their quest to get a posse together to ride on Sadaam, are heartbreaking.

The article also includes a very good rebuttal to any kind of Hitler/Sudetenland argument you might hear from idiots who think it really would be a good idea to tussle with Russia ourselves: why isn't our government acting accordingly if we're really going to start WWIII?
If so—if this really is the start of a new war of civilizations—why aren't you devoting every waking hour to pressing for the revival of military conscription, for a war surtax to triple the military budget, and—here's a twist—for getting out of Iraq in order to send a few divisions right away to fight in the larger battle? If not, what exactly are you proposing?
Not that I'm at all in favor of that, but it would be some kind of small comfort to see American hawks putting their money where their mouth is, even if it meant higher taxes and cutting and running on Iraq.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Night Time in the Switching Yard



Every time I go to New York as an adult, something stands out in a mind-blowing contrast to the New York I remember as a child. Say what you will, but shit's just not Gotham to me anymore.

My mental pictures of New York were formed from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, when New York was a juggernaut hurling forward into today's era of tastelessness. But back then, it was Style Wars, King of New York, CBGBs. Riding around on the train alone for the first time, scared to death but fascinated endlessly.

That New York is gone. It's over. It's still huge, it's still singular and it can never be duplicated, but it can never be what it once was because it's full of the bastards Giuliani had in mind when he sanitized the city to make it safe for the monied and boring. I sincerely doubt that the new, sanitized retro-narcissism of New York could generate any of the New York-derived subcultures that dominated the world's youth culture for three decades.

Case in point- this photo essay by Q. Sakamaki that documents Tompkins Square in Alphabet City- just a block or so from where we have our monthly at Arrow Bar- a monthly in a neighborhood swimming with admin staff straight out of college and onto Wall Street.

I'm not so naive as to advocate for stagnation or a patronizing return to some sort of liberal-fantasized noble poverty, but honestly, there's less of a place in New York for the people in those photographs than there was when they were taken. And with that ironic realization should come a concurrent belief that New York can no longer self-justify it's hegemony over sub and counterculture. It's just like everywhere else now, only moreso.

[NYTimes : Q. Sakamaki Slideshow]
[NYTimes : East Village Before the Gentry]

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