Thursday, November 17, 2005

And now, something a little different

While I've been stuck over at Google News the past week skimming through the headlines, I am starting to diversify a bit. I came across a great piece on Salon that looks at the relationship between the young, urban slackers who move into cities' urban ghettos, the inevitable yuppification that ensues, and (this is the most interesting part) the way in which the artistic and design ethos of these enclaves gets sucked into the general, and globalized, culture. It all reminds me of those years after college, hanging out in Somerville and Central Square in Cambridge, which both went the way of Starbuck's long ago. Anyway, the Salon piece is a book review of Richard Lloyd's Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

. . . the economic marginality of neo-bohemia didn't last long, which is after all what makes it "neo." (Lloyd makes the often neglected point that older bohemian districts like Greenwich Village were viewed with disdain by America's puritanical establishment, and to "slum" there was a sign of moral dubiousness.) By the early '90s -- and somewhat earlier in environments like San Francisco and New York -- these neighborhoods had become, Lloyd writes, "distinctly themed spaces of consumption fawningly advertised by the mainstream media." Exactly why magazines and newspapers became so universally entranced by the hipness factor of the East Village or the Mission or Wicker Park is perhaps a subject for another book, but it's clearly not unconnected to America's decade-late discovery of punk rock, in the personage of Kurt Cobain.

Interesting stuff.

I've also started up Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and am completely entranced.

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