From Detroit To Barzun And Beyond?-Some Monday Links

From Buzzfeed: ‘Why I Bought A House in Detroit For $500:’

A gritty story of one man’s journey to refurbish an old East-Detroit house.

He’s pretty much on his own:

‘My house’s original electrical box and all the wires had been stolen, so I set up a new box in the basement. I hooked serpentine wires into the top that would be connected by the power company to the electrical pole in the alley. On top of the box is a switch used to turn the whole system on and off, like Frankenstein awakening his monster. There’s easily enough energy flowing through there to kill a buffalo’

Yes, the collectivism and communalism of many homesteaders is not necessarily my cup of tea, with sentiments closer to Occupy and a post-beat, post-hippie, hipster-ish idealism (an idealism often more aligned politically with union and Democratic interests helping to drive the city into bankruptcy), but it’s a nice peek inside city limits.

That’s not an easy life to choose.

This man had no choice:


The late Jacques Barzun at The American Scholar-‘The Cradle Of Modernism‘:

‘For yet another cause of unhappiness was the encroachment of machine industry and its attendant uglification of town and country. The Romanticists had sung in an agrarian civilization; towns were for handiwork and commerce. Industry brought in not factories only, and railroads, but also the city — slums, crowds, a new type of filth, and shoddy goods, commonly known as “cheap and nasty.” And when free public schools were forced on the nation by the needs of industry, a further curse was added: the daily paper, also cheap.’

To what do we return, America?

Big Tech is realizing the value of cozying up to Washington.  Might Silicon Valley look like Detroit one day?

And further up into the academy and the arts. Interesting interview here on postmodernism, as previously posted.

From Dr. Steven Hicks:

‘In the shorter term, postmodernism has caused an impoverishment of much of the academic humanities, both in the quality of the work being done and the civility of the debates. The sciences have been less affected and are relatively healthy. The social sciences are mixed.

I am optimistic, though, for a couple of reasons. One is that pomo was able to entrench itself in the second half of the twentieth century in large part because first-rate intellectuals were mostly dismissive of it and focused on their own projects. But over the last ten years, after pomo’s excesses became blatant, there has been a vigorous counter-attack and pomo is now on the defensive. Another reason for optimism is that, as a species of skepticism, pomo is ultimately empty and becomes boring. Eventually intellectually-alert individuals get tired of the same old lines and move on. It is one thing, as the pomo can do well, to critique other theories and tear them down. But that merely clears the field for the next new and intriguing theory and for the next generation of energetic young intellectuals.

So while the postmodernism has had its generation or two, I think we’re ready for the next new thing – a strong, fresh, and positive approach to the big issues, one that of course takes into account the critical weapons the pomo have used well over the last while’

From the Daily, ‘cheap’ paper: How did Detroit get here?

Very comprehensive and easy to navigate.

More from Megan McArdle on the behavior that comes with pension bonuses.

Some links on this site: Charlie LeDuff, Detroit’s populist, citizen journalist’s youtube channel here.  At least he’s sticking around.

Are you looking at beautiful photos and feeling sorry for Detroit, and yourself?  See Time Magazine’s photo essay by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre (less porn-like, more thoughtful).

Hipster hope, artists, collectivists and small business types can’t save it either:  A Short Culture Wars Essay-Two Links On Detroit & ‘Ruin Porn’

GM is not a municipality, but good money got put in, probably after bad and it reeks of politics: From The Detroit News: ‘How The Treasury, GM Stock Deal Got Done’

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