Posts Tagged ‘Ozymandias’
There are other ruins that are no longer present, hidden under new construction, purposefully not curated as ruins, and willfully forgotten so more building can proceed—those are stories for another time. But the question for these ruin-spaces is, how long will the exist? We seem to have an attraction to ruins—we want them and seek them out, though never with the same functional desire with which we seek out current structures. What will we do in the future as these ruin-spaces pile up, unable to be destroyed because of their enforced temporality as preserved agedness? The earth is becoming a solid mass of scar tissue, as the tracks of human endeavour scour crosshatching into its surface.
The 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places In The World. Below: The Kerry Way walking path between Sneem and Kenmare in Ireland.
* And with Moonrise Kingdom premiering earlier today at Cannes Wes is now rumored to be working on his “Euro movie.” 2015, come soon…
I was recently asked to write a review of Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America for a special “Petrofictions” issue of American Book Review. Imre has put the full text up on Facebook; hopefully you can read it there. Here’s a bit from the end:
…Here then is what science fiction looks like without (or after) the future: the twentieth century is envisioned not as the launching pad for a glorious technofuture but as an anomalous moment of prosperity and historical possibility which quickly burns itself out, leaving in its place the worst combination of Manifest-Destiny America, feudal Europe, and decadent Rome. The novel’s odd, melancholy temporality—a retrospectively narrative bildungsroman set in a future that is simultaneously a parody of the past—completely upends our sense that the last hundred years represent the apex of progress, and indeed the idea that history can be thought of as any story of progress at all. By its end Julian Comstockhas taken its reader well beyond the postmodern mood Fredric Jameson famously called “nostalgia for the present,” and comes to feel something like officiating at our own collective funeral.
But for all its anticipatory retrospection of the coming post-oil disaster, the novel is not hopeless. In the epilogue we are told that Adam has in essence gone on to reinvent the lost art of science fiction itself; in 2192 his most recent novel is American Boys on the Moon, a Jules-Verne-style adventure yarn about a group of youngsters who discover an old NASA rocket buried in Florida and use it to reach the moon. (In a footnote, Adam concedes the story is completely implausible, but admits he likes it anyway.) There are similar hints throughout the novel that a second age of enlightenment and invention could be in the offing, and indeed that the reign of the despotic and theocratic Dominion may soon be at its end. The theocrats are themselves huge believers in progress, insisting “the history of the world is written in Scripture, and it ends in a Kingdom”—but Julian’s revolutionary retort, seemingly borne out, is that history is actually chaos, written in sand and shaped by the wind (674). For Wilson, it seems, there’s an exciting, even necessary freedom in this permanent historical flux, which when juxtaposed against the violent schemes of the rich and powerful becomes in its own unstable and impermanent way a kind of unexpected utopia. The cyclicality of history turns out to be as cruel to kings and tyrants as it is to everything else; in time all their dreams of power and control turn to ash as well. Even in a history that can’t stop repeating itself, we find, the bad times eventually end, and good days someday come again.
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Burger, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
At Wikipedia. I came across this on Google+ in the context of trying to figure out what happened to the People’s Library at Zuccotti Park.
If the number of people who left Detroit in the last decade all moved to the same place, it would be America’s 80th largest city, and, assuming they didn’t also flee Michigan (which they probably did), it would be the second largest city in the state, behind Detroit.
The latest salvo in the Detroit wars: What’s Really Pornographic? The Point of Documenting Detroit.
The next track, “Scrap or Die” is where Danny makes things even more interesting, as we find out what his role is in all this blight. It takes the form of a street rap standby: the crime story track. But instead of telling another tale about a motel-room heist or a harrowing trip down the 95 corridor with a trunk full of coke, Danny describes in detail the process of stealing scrap metal from abandoned houses, and selling it at junkyards.
Tonight’s that night we about to get right
piled up in the van with a couple flashlights
metal crowbar gon’ get us through the door
take everything, nigga, fuck the landlord
so now we at the place skullies on bare-faced
bout to leave this bitch bare, strip the whole damn place
my Unc’ took outside, he stripping out the gutters
so we inside tearing up this motherfucker
bust open the walls just to get the wiring
took the hot water tank and leftover appliances
aluminum siding, and had to come back
cause the furnace so big it wouldn’t fit in the back
From the abandoned house, Danny takes his loot to the junkyard, where he gets shorted by the man running the operation. As he and his uncle go to steal computers from a shuttered school (Detroit, by the way, has made plans to close half of their public schools by 2014) he gets caught by police. One more hook, and the song is over.
This is the life of one musician from Detroit. It doesn’t sound like he thinks its ruin provides a great landscape for creativity. While Mayor Bing has planned to destroy Detroit to save Detroit, Danny must destroy Detroit to save himself.
Establishment Democrats are enthusiastically betraying their constituents, and gloating about it. I’ve already committed to not giving money and not volunteering in 2012, but the sticker’s coming off the car if the deal as described goes through. I’m done.
While the New Deal stoically awaits the guillotine, some links, many shamelessly stolen from zunguzungu’s supersized edition of Sunday Reading:
* Congressional Black Caucus: Use the 14th Amendment.
* The basic error was that Buchanan approached American politics in procedural or legal terms at a moment when the reigning political conflicts in American life were no longer in any sense shaped or resolved by procedural or legal processes. Obama as James Buchanan. More here from John Judis:
Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today’s Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to, and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.
* In a nutshell, what’s going on is something that hasn’t happened in American politics for 50 years: an ideologically coherent social movement with clear political aspirations has taken shape out of murkier antecedents and disparate tributaries and at least for the moment, it has a very tight hold on the political officials that it has elected. The movement is not interested in the spoils system, its representatives can’t be quickly seduced into playing the usual games. And the movement’s primary objective is to demolish existing governmental and civic institutions. They’ve grown tired of waiting for government to be small enough to drown in a bathtub, so they’re setting out with battleaxes and dynamite instead.
Social movements that aren’t just setting out to secure legal protection and resources for their constituency, but are instead driven to pursue profound sociopolitical transformations are unfamiliar enough. What makes this moment even more difficult to grasp in terms of the conventional wisdom of pundits is that this isn’t a movement that speaks a language of inclusion, hope, reform, innovation or progress. It speaks instead about restoration of power to those who once held it, the tearing down of existing structures, about undoing what’s been done. This movement is at war with its social and institutional enemies: it has nothing to offer them except to inflict upon them the marginalization that the members of the movement imagine they themselves have suffered.
* Ezra Klein dangles the carrot: maybe Obama won’t capitulate on the Bush tax cuts again. Sure, maybe.
* Surely there must be a name, in advertising parlance, for the figure of the anthropomorphized food item that happily consumes a non-anthropomorphized version of itself?
* Julian Sanchez: “The very existence of such massive trade in “defensive patents” is, in itself, pretty strong evidence that there’s something systematically quite wrong with the American patent system—because a patent that’s useful for “defensive” purposes is very likely to be a bad patent.“ I love that Planet Money and This American Life got non-IP people talking about this.
* And I may have done this one before, but what the hell: Inside an abandoned East Berlin amusement park.
The dead island of Hashima delivers a lively warning about the importance of foresight. It offers a view of the end result of “development,” the fate of a community severed from Mother Earth and engaged in a way of life disconnected from its food supply. In short, Hashima is what the world will be like when we finish urbanizing and exploiting it: a ghost planet spinning through space—silent, naked, and useless. Via ThinkProgress.
* Two articles I read on the plane: “The Brain on Trial” and Aleksander Hemon’s account of his young daughter’s illness. The latter is only available offline, which (trust me) is for the best. By the end I was nearly bawling. For your own happiness do not read this article.
* The growing controversy over President Obama’s illegal waging of war in Libya got much bigger last night with Charlie Savage’s New York Times scoop. He reveals that top administration lawyers — Attorney General Eric Holder, OLC Chief Caroline Krass, and DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson — all told Obama that his latest, widely panned excuse for waging war without Congressional approval (that it does not rise to the level of “hostilities” under the War Powers Resolution (WPR)) was invalid and that such authorization was legally required after 60 days: itself a generous intepretation of the President’s war powers. But Obama rejected those views and (with the support of administration lawyers in lesser positions: his White House counsel and long-time political operative Robert Bauer and State Department “legal adviser” Harold Koh) publicly claimed that the WPR does not apply to Libya.
“I support measures that make our roads safer for everyone, but House Bill 242 is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults,” Perry wrote in his explanation of one of his vetoes.
Perry said in his veto statement that the key to stopping people from texting while driving is “information and education.”
* Mightygodking highlights ethical interpretation with twenty-five movies distilled to a one-sentence moral.
* And Love These Pics takes us on another trip to the New Orleans Six Flags Theme Park abandoned after Hurricane Katrina.
* My father sends along this 3-dimensional tour of Detroit’s crumbling Michigan Station.
* And speaking of monsters: Climate scientists still can’t get their calls returned in Washington. History will not be kind.