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manhole covers (plus today's messages)

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  • Christopher Miller
    For those interested in questions of urban design and how even small details can improve the experience of a place, here is an inspiring link I came across
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 14, 2006
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      For those interested in questions of urban design and how even small
      details can improve the experience of a place, here is an inspiring
      link I came across today, to a site with photos of artistically
      conceived manhole covers in Japan:


      Another few links, now that I'm on this topic, to some very
      interesting paving work done by the English artist Tess Jaray:





      Apart from the above, I'd like to make a few unrelated comments
      inspired by today's main thread, set off by Todd of Prague posting
      the wrong link by mistake.
      I wonder what the implications for our agenda would be if we take
      into account the condemnations we have seen of "zealots" forcing
      their agendas on the majority...

      Such zealots certainly include Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, or
      Frederick Douglass in the United States, who forced their view that
      Black people should be treated as equal human beings and citizens on
      the conservative majority of the time(s), who were of the view that
      such people should keep quiet and subservient. Or, in different times
      and countries, Nellie McClung (of Canada's "[Women are legally]
      Persons" court case in the 1930s), Gloria Steinem and numerous other
      feminists in the USA and elsewhere, who (well, just plug in the last
      part of the previous sentence, changing 'Black people' for
      'women'...). I could go on and on listing group after group forced to
      act as "zealots", getting in the face of a conservative majority who
      have complacently forced them into an unequal, second- or third-class
      status. However, none of these groups, gays or lesbians, Blacks,
      women and on and on, has had on their agenda the idea of giving back
      what they have gotten, and forcing the rest of society to live a
      homosexual lifestyle, to force men or whites in their turn into a
      subordinate position... (nor Han Chinese, to take one further
      example, to live as Tibetan Buddhists, for example). (And as for the
      assertion that "fascism was started by homosexuals", it is salutary
      to recall that the pink triangle symbol of gay "zealots" was a mark
      imposed on homosexuals by German Fascists, marking them for eventual
      extermination...) Were Eva Braun and Clara Petacci then just fronts
      to convince everyone else that Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were
      *really* *hetero*sexual...?

      Certainly, in the short term, the aim of the carfree movement is to
      be the same kind of "zealots" referred to in certain of today's
      message, getting in the face of the conservatively complacent
      majority and demanding concessions that would allow many of us to
      live a lifestyle other than the homogeneous automobile-based culture
      that is imposed nearly everywhere. Yet—in the long term—I think the
      goal, unlike that of Black people in white-dominated societies, women
      in male-dominated societies, or gay and lesbian people in cultures
      whose laws and customs impose a heterosexual lifestyle, is in fact to
      eventually convert everyone to a lifestyle where cars are banished
      from cities and to relegate members of the motoring culture to second-
      class status. Should we then give up this aim, which in fact goes
      much farther than the "zealotry " of the other social movements I
      have mentioned above? (I do hope that everyone understands that this
      question is merely rhetorical...)

      Finally, before I stop typing and click on the send button, I think
      it worthwhile to remind us all of that the tone of the series of
      messages coming from one member of this list today really goes beyond
      the decent, respectful kind of discourse that is asked for—in fact
      required of—members of this group and of Yahoo! groups in general.
      (Even earlier references to "libertAryans" or "Fiberals", though not
      going as far as what we have seen today, could be seen as excessive
      and disrespectful; yes, I checked back through older messages on my
      reader to see if there is indeed a pattern of disrespectful, hateful
      or irrational characterisations...)

      Here is the intro page on the Carfree site that links to the Yahoo!
      group page; it contains a few suggestions about making the group work
      as well as possible:


      ...and the Yahoo! Terms of Service:


      Part 6. MEMBER CONDUCT, especially 6a, is rather pertinent given the
      contents of certain emails we have seen from one particular member

      With respect (but firm rejection of expressions of intolerance),

      Christopher Miller
      Montreal QC Canada
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