Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Men At Work

We were crossing the Brooklyn Bridge when Freya stopped & pointed to the sign, got me to step back & see what was behind it, what we were looking at, where we were. "Ah God, what an ugly city every city is", Kurt Vonnegut used to say. And he was right - for the most part cities are simply the places where Nature - & so Reality - have broken down the fastest. But I couldn't help but feel wonder at what humanity had dreamed up, the impossible things man has accomplished. Looking at the Empire State made me feel some of the same pride as man walking on the moon, & put me in mind of something Camille Paglia once wrote:
“Let us stop being small-minded about men and freely acknowledge what treasures their obsessiveness has poured into culture.We could make an epic catalog of male achievements, from paved roads, indoor plumbing, and washing machines to eyeglasses, antibiotics and disposable diapers. We enjoy fresh, safe milk and meat, and vegetables and tropical fruits heaped in snowbound cities. When I cross George Washington bridge or any of America’s great bridges, I think: men have done this! Construction is a sublime male poetry. When I see a giant crane passing on a flatbed truck, I pause in awe and reverence, as one would for a church procession. What power of conception, what grandiosity: these cranes tie us to ancient Egypt, where monumental architecture was first imagined and achieved..”
A world of New Yorks, a world of only skyscrapers & sidewalks; that would be a nightmare, & it's a nightmare that's coming, it's a nightmare we are making everyday. But one little island, one little theme park amusement ride art installation... if it's here anyway.... Well, I can like that, can't I? Well I do, anyway.

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