In this issue of Harper’s (4NOV2016), Rebecca Solnit writes in“Easy Chair: Coming Apart,”
A few years ago, Lydia Pelot-Hobbs pointed out . . . that the penal facilities dotting the landscape of rural Louisiana can be exurbs of New Orleans, since so many of their inmates are from the city.
. . .
Cities have always been cruel. They’ve nearly always served and been run by elites; corruption is the mortar that held many of them together. But until recently, there was room for more complexity, more diversity, more unregulated and unpatrolled turbulence in them. There are cities around the world, from Lima to Kathmandu, where this is still true, and perhaps the great cultures and movements of the future will come from there, but the North American and European cities that are becoming elite strongholds are pushing out diversity, complexity, cultural production, and dissent. They are becoming what is worst about the suburbs.
Culture is tough. It thrives in ruins and survives in exile. Still, cities have been where insurrections and movements and a lot of creative work got done. How this will unfold in the future is hard to image.
Megan Bradbury, author of Everyone is Watching, agrees,
Manhattan means options. . . . I can be creative here; I can do anything. But it’s not
easy. There’s incredible pressure. Everything is in New York is expensive. This means you have to be productive all the time.
Read Five Dials.
If you can read French, read En attendant Nadeau and tell me how it is.
My music playlist for October – All the Devils/All the Literary Girls – can be found through that link.
Have a good weekend.