Human societies, at all times and places, have organised themselves around the will to live with others, not alone. But not any more. During the past half-century, our species has embarked on…
PUBLISHED: March 30, 2012
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5173 words)
A few weeks ago I took a break from reading Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities to visit the block of Hudson Street in Manhattan’s West Village where Jacobs lived when she wrote her classic book on urban planning. One block over, on Bleecker Street, the storefronts bear the names of some of the most iconic brands in fashion – Steve Madden, Juicy Couture, Coach, Michael Kors – but Jacobs’ old block of Hudson between Perry and West 11th retains its scruffy charm, mixing small residential buildings with restaurants, a bar, a nail salon, a bodega, and a dry cleaner.
On the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this country is once again focused 24/7 on a single disaster that tore up one field in Pennsylvania, destroyed part of the Pentagon, and took down…
Minutes later I came across a group of teenagers huddled by Edmonton Working Men's Conservative Club. Most of them were girls, and in a state of panic. I saw they were holding a topless boy, who looked about 17. "He's been stabbed," one said. As soon as he was in the ambulance, his friends fled, telling police they did not want to talk to "Feds" (slang for the police). One screamed: "We hate you." Another shouted: "You're the reason this is happening."
British author J.G. Ballard died on April 19, 2009 of an inoperable cancer that had spread from his prostate to his ribs and spine—a diagnosis he details in the final chapter of his 2008 memoir Miracles of Life with the calm, clinical directness characteristic of the author. During the 1960s, Ballard made a name for himself in the science fiction genre with a trilogy of disaster stories—The Drowned World (1962), The Drought (1964), and The Crystal World (1966)—that challenged just about every convention of the genre. Rather than battling doggedly to preserve the remnants of civilization in the face of monumental adversity, his protagonists pursued a psychic accommodation—almost a mystical fusion—with the forces destroying their worlds.
SOURCE:Los Angeles Review of Books
PUBLISHED: May 6, 2011
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3530 words)