April 22, 2016

JAMES LILEKS ON HOW TO MURDER A CITY. Lileks features an early 1970s industrial film, and his own running commentary, on how the last vestiges of Bauhaus-style modernism on a massive scale cheerfully sucked the history and vitality right out of a major American city to, as Tom Wolfe would say, “Start From Zero.” As James concludes:

Great job, guys. Just tremendous work. To be fair, there are skyscrapers – built during the worst phase of American skyscraper design, unfortunately — and I guess the old industrial warehouse area is being spiffed up, because people like history. It’s like Theodore Dalyrimple observed: after WW2, the cities that had been spared the bombing were intact, if sagging and old — and we proceeded to make them look as if they’d been firebombed by the Boche for weeks on end, creating our own arid wastelands.

Well-heeled vandals with taxpayer money, leveling the old sad world for a city of bunkers. The whole thing is right here. It’s really an extraordinary period piece.

Everything new is worse.

I quoted the aforementioned Dalrymple passage at the start of a lengthy 2005, Lileks-inspired post titled The Life And Death Of England’s Cities.

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