Washington is the new New York

1.19.09 by Ruth + 66 comments!

It was published in the New York Times Yesterday, so it must be true.

Apparently, policy change in Washington is all “Yes we can!” and making money in New York is like “No we can’t!” and, as election results prove, people prefer “Yes we can!”

In other interesting news, Bernie Madoff’s frat brothers don’t even remember him.

What happens when I read the WSJ

1.5.09 by Ruth + one comment!

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “In Defense of Suburbia.” I would link you to it here, but the WSJ isn’t free online, which is another reason to prefer the New York Times. The article argued the American culture has a scorn for suburbia (Exhibit A: Revolutionary Road) which is completely unwarranted. The author is right in that we do have a scorn for suburbia, but it isn’t true that it is unwarranted.

The author of this article only caught the superficial objections to suburbia. He correctly observed that although suburbia is visually unnerving, the people who live there aren’t cyborgs. He also noticed that suburbs are also associated with traditional and bad social structures, but they are also fairly compatable with better ones, although he didn’t word that as strongly as I did. He did also say some other stuff, but none of it was memorable enough for me to remember it. So he really made only one good point, which is that suburbanites aren’t cyborgs, which really isn’t that interesting because nobody thought they were really cyborgs anyway. Duh.

However, since their residents aren’t cyborgs, I need another reason to object to the suburbs. That reason is that the suburbs are boring. The suburbs physically seperate people from the things they do, which has more importance than just the gas they waste. In the city I can go shopping or see a movie or ride my bike along the river or any number of other things, and if I want to, I can do them RIGHT NOW. In the suburbs, the most convenient activities are less active, less social, have less potential for adventures, and more likely to be watching television. In the suburbs, you have less reason to walk around the neighborhood because there is nowhere to walk. You need to make a point of it to meet your neighbors. So, author of the article on suburbia whose name I can’t remember and who is probably not out there reading this, that is why I scorn suburbia.

John Lennon says

5.5.08 by Tim + 91 comments!

I have a brief question I’ve been considering. At what point does revolution become unnecessary?

You can revolt against governments, which has often been a good thing- for example the American Revolution. And you can revolt against society, which has often been a good thing; the 60’s counterculture did a lot for both culture and for society. There’s also the downside, with things like the French Revolution, and the creation of black urban gang drug culture that came with the spread of crack cocaine. In all revolutions people are finding new ways to live, and sometimes they get lucky and end up being a positive influence on everybody else in the long term.

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about Daniel Quinn and his new tribalism, and the revolution it would mean if people started taking it up, and she said that she thought that revolutions have lost their purpose. Its not that they aren’t for good reasons anymore, its just that now that our society has grown accustomed to change, there’s no need. What we need are “sensible movements within the system.”

So is it true? Are there some social norms left to break that might yet keep our society changing for the better, or are we all revolutioned out?

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