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David Brooks

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  • Rob Foley
    I am not a fan of the American conservative magazine The Weekly Standard. One of their Editors, David Brooks (author of Bobos in Paradise ) wrote this
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 7, 2002
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      I am not a fan of the American conservative magazine "The Weekly Standard." One of their Editors, David Brooks (author of "Bobos in Paradise") wrote this week's cover story, a brilliant lampoon on the new suburbia:

      http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/531wlvng.asp?ZoomFont=YES

      What follows is an excerpt from "The Patio Man," by David Brooks:

      "The dominant ideology of Sprinkler Cities is a sort of utopian conservatism. On the one hand, the people who live here have made a startling leap into the unknown. They have, in great numbers and with great speed, moved from their old homes in California, Florida, Illinois, and elsewhere, to these brand new places that didn't really exist 10 years ago. These places have no pasts, no precedents, no settled institutions, very few longstanding groups you can join and settle into. ...

      And when they do join groups, often the groups turn out to be still in the process of building themselves. The migrants join congregations that meet in school basements while raising the money to construct churches. They go to office parks at biotech companies that are still waiting to put a product on the market. They may vote, or episodically pay attention to national politics, but they don't get drawn into strong local party organizations because the local organizations haven't been built.

      But the odd thing is that all this imaginative daring, these leaps into the future, are all in the service of an extremely conservative ideal. You get the impression that these people have fled their crowded and stratified old suburbs because they really want to live in Mayberry. They have this image of what home should be, a historical myth or memory, and they are going to build it, even if it means constructing an old fashioned place out of modern materials."


      --Rob


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • enjax
      I read the entire article and interpreted it less a brilliant lampoon on the new suburbia than more of a delusional feel good piece defending an economically
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 8, 2002
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        I read the entire article and interpreted it less "a brilliant
        lampoon on the new suburbia" than more of a delusional feel good
        piece defending an economically and socially unsustainable way of
        living.

        The article however did get one thing right: "Americans don't solve
        problems, they just leave them behind. They take advantage of all
        that space and move. If there's an idea they don't like, they don't
        bother refuting it, they just go somewhere else, and if they can't go
        somewhere else, they just leave it in the past, where it dies from
        inattention".

        This pathological view, more than anything else, explains why most
        American cities are treated as nothing more than disposable
        containers to be discarded like a hamburger wrapper once problems
        arise.

        Its easy to see the connection between this 'Conservotopia' and the
        free market, laissez-faire fanaticism of the libertarian absolutists
        that drive its construction. Such abstract concepts as 'Sense of
        Place', 'Quality of Life', and 'Connection the Past' mean nothing to
        such zealots as its all about short-term prosperity and illusory
        consumer freedoms. The external costs of such a relationship: the
        continuing deterioation of the environment, apalling levels of income
        inequality, and destruction of the social fabric mean little or
        nothing to them.

        Out of sight, out of your mind..

        -Matt Lyons

        --- In carfree_cities@y..., "Rob Foley" <superman_inside@h...> wrote:
        > I am not a fan of the American conservative magazine "The Weekly
        Standard." One of their Editors, David Brooks (author of "Bobos in
        Paradise") wrote this week's cover story, a brilliant lampoon on the
        new suburbia:
        >
        >
        http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/531w
        lvng.asp?ZoomFont=YES
        >
        > What follows is an excerpt from "The Patio Man," by David Brooks:
        >
        > "The dominant ideology of Sprinkler Cities is a sort of utopian
        conservatism. On the one hand, the people who live here have made a
        startling leap into the unknown. They have, in great numbers and with
        great speed, moved from their old homes in California, Florida,
        Illinois, and elsewhere, to these brand new places that didn't really
        exist 10 years ago. These places have no pasts, no precedents, no
        settled institutions, very few longstanding groups you can join and
        settle into. ...
        >
        > And when they do join groups, often the groups turn out to be still
        in the process of building themselves. The migrants join
        congregations that meet in school basements while raising the money
        to construct churches. They go to office parks at biotech companies
        that are still waiting to put a product on the market. They may vote,
        or episodically pay attention to national politics, but they don't
        get drawn into strong local party organizations because the local
        organizations haven't been built.
        >
        > But the odd thing is that all this imaginative daring, these leaps
        into the future, are all in the service of an extremely conservative
        ideal. You get the impression that these people have fled their
        crowded and stratified old suburbs because they really want to live
        in Mayberry. They have this image of what home should be, a
        historical myth or memory, and they are going to build it, even if it
        means constructing an old fashioned place out of modern materials."
        >
        >
        > --Rob
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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