Sunday, July 27, 2008

Driving To The 99 Cent Store

The price of gas is so high that some people can only afford to shop at the 99 cent store, but it is worth it all to be able to live in a beautiful urban landscape like this.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another Reason To Vote For Obama

From David Brooks' column in today's New York Times, explaining why he admires McCain's conservative approach:

"The high point of his campaign, so far, has been his energy policy, which is comprehensive and bold, but does not try to turn us into a nation of bicyclists. It does not view America’s energy-intense economy as a sign of sinfulness."

Is it genuinely conservative to support freeways and nuclear power? Aren't they a greater threat to our heritage than bicycles?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Nicolai Ouroussoff And Buckminster Fuller

New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff reviews a Buckminister Fuller exhibit today, and he unintentionally reveals the truth about his own esthetic bias. Here is a brief quotation:

"Cold war culture has been back in style for a while now, at least in architecture circles. ... So 'Buckminster Fuller: Starting With the Universe,' ... is likely to stir waves of nostalgia. For people of my generation ... his architecture embodies the values of an era when it was still possible to believe that society was gliding steadily toward a better future. If parents sometimes drank too much, got divorced and neglected their children, these were only potholes on the superhighway to utopia."

Ouroussoff routinely criticises traditional architecture for its nostalgia, but here he admits that his own avant-gardist modernism is itself nostalgic. It is an attempt to go back to the naive faith in technology that inspired mid-century modernism.

Yet Ouroussoff also admits that no one has this naive faith in technology any longer. In fact, this faith in technology is not relevant to the great problems of our time, such as global warming, which requires that we put political limits on destructive technologies.

Ouroussoff doesn't realize it, but this 'fifties faith is why Buckminister Fuller projected real optimism about the future, while today's loss of faith is why current avant-gardist architecture is made up of empty gestures, which show off the architect's technological virtuosity but have no larger cultural meaning.

Nicolai Ouroussoff's review of the Buckminister Fuller exhibit is available at: