Isn’t ‘urban exploration’ a bit ruin-pornish?
The individual travels along with small groups, trespassing through city-scapes and abandoned buildings as though they were archeological ruins. Breaking the law or possibly breaking the law is part of the appeal.
Perhaps such folks are traveling as well through their own imaginations, romanticizing themselves as transgressive outsiders, taking the idea of archeology as fixed knowledge and applying it to their own present as though it were a mythic, imaginative quest, where some camaraderie, historical meaning and beauty are to be found.
A video explanation:
Naturally, one impulse expressed here is the desire for group membership and meaning. Like kids who’ve found something new and cool to do, some recognition is desired from others or from society at large, even if it’s negative. There’s a vagabond-hipster feel to much of this, and it’s easy to imagine listening to an indie-music-montage with the latest stop-motion technology or documentarianism when one looks at the photos.
Readers will know I tend to think some of this is a sign of a newer, more anarchic/nihilistic individualism and subsequent collectivism bubbling up in our culture that is partially, but not wholly, a product of the 1960’s.
One theme of this blog is how this process of increased nihilistic individualism merges with a search for meaning, group membership and identity in our culture, as in the above. This can increase the desire for collective solutions to problems, or at least, might encourage more young people to cast a skeptical eye on rule and rule-following within existing traditions.
Don’t you want to live in Austin, or Boulder, or Portland, or Williamsburg, Brooklyn?
Don’t you want to live and compete with the best in an outward facing American city like San Francisco or New York, or maybe even an international city if you can manage it?
Don’t you want to live in Salt Lake City, or some small town with a church and organized civic life?
Are you still looking for America?
James Fallows at the Atlantic, former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, explored the wonders of post-hippie settlers in Vermont to stay relevant to a new generation of readers: Vermont Report: Shaping The Soul Of A School.
Tim Carney says towns and cities (both religious and not) with strong civic institutions voted in much smaller numbers for civic nationalism and Trumpian populism.
I didn’t know schools had souls.
Until then, you can catch me at the next radical Quaker flower protest:
Related On This Site:What about the victims of crime, not all this romanticization of criminals?: Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘Radical Graffiti Chic’.
Two ways around postmodernism, nihilism?: One is Allan Bloom Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’… Here’s a suggestion to keep aesthetic and political judgements apart-Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment…
Institutionalized Leftism in the Arts has a longer, deeper history in the U.S.: From ReasonTV Via Youtube: ‘Ken Burns on PBS Funding, Being a “Yellow-Dog Democrat,” & Missing Walter Cronkite’…Repost-From NPR: Grants To The NEA To Stimulate The Economy?