Sunday, July 08, 2012

It ain't just Detroit

(Via The Email List That Shall Not Be Named)

We've all seen the pictures of a decaying Detroit, and we've all been told by folks as varied as James Howard Kunstler to James Wesley, Rawles that big cities are on the way out (one way or the other).

St. Louis is in the game as well. But don't act surprised, we can find similar pictures of pretty much any big US city--New York, Chicago, Atlanta--they all have their ruins.

We also have ruins in rural areas, and have had since before I was born. Falling down barns, abandoned homesteads, overgrown fields--these and the urban ruins are all signs of failure and change.

What concerns me are two things. First, the glorying in "ruin porn". Sure, we've had it since way back when, but today it seems to be somehow darker--almost as if we're rooting for the ruins to win. Second is the nature of the ruins. From contracting cities to depopulating rural areas, they seem to speak of a society and a country in decline. In other times, they spoke of risks taken and lost, of societal changes as we moved from a base of agriculture to manufacturing, of people seeking a better life.

I can't quite put a finger on it, but it does seem different, and not in a good way. As an indicator, it's another worrisome thing to consider.

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