Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some interesting quotations from Exquisite Corpse by Michael Sorkin:

p.3: "The biggest baby chucked out with the functionalist bathwater, however, was the prospect of an inventive urbanism. The very idea of city planning had been made disreputable by post-war experience and its two spectactularly failed mdoels: urban renewal and the suburbs. Physical planning is still flinching from the disrepute of this love-enslavement to social engineering, and had been almost entirely abandoned as a municipal function in the United States; the public realm reduced to reacting to the shoves and slaps of the invisible hand."

p.53: "The central dilemma of the Los Angelist is that his or her faith dictates the city's ultimate mysteriousness, yet his or her duty is to explain. As successive efforts skirt piecemeal around mist-shrouded essences, faith in the possibility of a (probably unknowable) unified field theory spurs the effort. The catalogue expands, the taxonomy branches. Los Angeles is a hermeneutist's heaven: everybody expects an answer. The deity here is Quincy (Jack Klugman's, that is, not Quatremere). All this activity tends to produce inconclusive ways of speaking rather than ways of knowing. Los Angeles has a rhetoric but no epistemology."

p.61 "The banality of the times is nowhere starker than it what passes for a critical tradition in the mass media. Here, by and large, critics tend to stand in the same relation to their subjects as advertisers do to their products. This has to do not simply with puffery but with the use of a limited lexicon of valuation, of a cluster of categories that by their very incantatino assure legitimation of a subject."

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Revelling in his status as the first Italian statesman to play a key role in international affairs, Mussolini fed the press twice daily with news of his activities, including the information on one occasion that he could not be disturbed as he was in bed with a girl."

- from Hurrah for the Blackshirts by Martin Pugh

"It was typical of [Filippo Tommaso] Marinetti’s warm-hearted generosity that he should have lent Severini the money on which to get married; and yet it was equally typical that, when the young couple arrived back in Milan, the speeches against marriage at the party held by the Futurists to celebrate their return were so violent that, according to Soffici, the bride, who was only sixteen, burst into tears."

- from Three Intellectuals in Politics by James Joll

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"... for we are all accustomed to believe that maps and reality are necessarily related, or that if they are not, we can make them so by altering reality."

- The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs