Monday, September 8, 2008

The Geography of Nowhere

“We created a landscape of scary places, and we became a nation of scary people.”

“The problem with our common American daily environments is not that they are too uniform, but that they are of uniformly miserable quality.”

“It is hard to imagine a culture less concerned than ours with the things that make life worth living.”

Words by James Howard Kunstler via Project for Public Spaces. I believe most of them are from the book The Geography of Nowhere, which is the namesake of this post.

Photos © Michael McDevitt 2008


ursula reuss said...

this one really resonates for me. i feel like i'm the only one who even sees the blah-ness of it all anymore. a nation of scary people is right- zombies whose eyes have been burned out of their heads by looking at the crap of everyday.

Michael said...

I first read 'The Geography of Nowhere' a few years ago, and it floored me. Hit the nail on the proverbial head. We've skewed our priorities to favor cars and corporations, and, in the process, created an environment that is inhospitable to actual people-- a place where walking is virtually impossible and individuals grow increasingly alienated from each other.
Over the past few years I've felt my eyes getting slowly burned-out by it all. I've caught increasingly fleeting glimpses of joy, and had to work harder to fend off the crush of societal obligations.
I suppose it's art that keeps me from succumbing. It keeps me broke and uncertain, but at least it keeps me alive.

ursula reuss said...

yeah... it is hard to keep from succumbing, that is for sure. i feel fortunate to not live in a city anymore. it has been amazing the past few months (after about 8 years in cities) to see how i have changed and become more slow-paced, more in tune with things like the sunset, the moon rise, the stars' paths again. it is actually kind of unnerving, because while i chafed at being citified so long, i didn't really know there were such deep physiological and psychological impacts on me... but there were- i was jangled. i am glad to be recovering, and also wondering, hm, if being in a small town is this good, imagine what it would be like to go be a farmer.... ah life.