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."

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