Sunday, June 8, 2008
The Morning Paper (Online).
My favorite part of the week might be waking up on weekend mornings and reading with some tea. I don't often blog about newspaper articles, but seeing as I am without someone here to discuss them with, I felt compelled to write. (This is similar to me watching Lost alone, and sending out links to articles about each episode. Sorry. Can't help it.) These aren't coherent, per se. It's the beginning of a conversation. With myself. Ha.
The article "The New New City" by Nicolai Ourousoff is about cities like Dubai and Shenzhen that have literally just popped up recently compared with cities that were developed by a combination of historical and cultural events and phases. It is interesting because there seems to be an architectural freedom and creativity, but a lack of cultural inspiration. The cities want everything to be new, but does that harm the city to be without the (beautiful) mess of human cultures? I'm also confused about where on earth the funding for all of this comes from. A really interesting read, especially while living in New York, a city where development can mean something different to everyone. The most interesting quote to me, found at the end of the article: “The amount of building becomes obscene without a blueprint,” Koolhaas said. “Each time you ask yourself, Do you have the right to do this much work on this scale if you don’t have an opinion about what the world should be like? We really feel that. But is there time for a manifesto? I don’t know.”
The article "The Snare of Privilege" by Elizabeth Bumiller was pretty thought provoking, and I mean that it the widest sense: it spurred me to think about a lot of things, so this rant isn't necessarily closely related. It's main tenet is that the majority of high powered politicians come from privileged backgrounds and elite universities, and that they have to connect with the everyman--appear to be trustworthy, likeable, relateable--to be elected president. Bumiller mentions that candidates often play down the privileges that money had afforded them when talking with the those not of similar heritage. What struck me in this article is what wasn't discussed at all. One of the top qualifications that I am looking for in a president is that he/she is brilliant when it comes to history. Obviously, it would be nice if this historical genius was also well-rounded, believed in social justice and protecting the environment and was not corrupted by politics. But seriously. Why aren't the degrees obtained ever discussed--and only the university.
The other part of this discussion that is uncomfortable for me is the whole concept of playing down privilege. Because let's be honest, privilege can be a nice thing, and even though I'm planted firmly in the middle class, I am still ridiculously more privileged than the majority of people on the planet. It's interesting to me because I get so disgusted by wealthy people who spend thousands, millions of dollars on x, y and z when those dollars could be put to such better use. But am I the same as I make my purchases, just on a smaller scale? Do I want to give up the ability to buy or do things that I have grown accustomed to? No. But I want to consider this. I hate social ladders and yet I inhabit a rung. Ugh. The never ending dialogue of my mind.