Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I've been thinking a lot recently about the latest blog post from yes! this is Nick Robinson about traffic:

There is a real horror in being forced to use deadly, destructive machines to get to work and back. After all, almost 43,000 people died in 2003 in accidents ... without reason, except for the routinization and acceptance of terror on our commute to work and leisure.

and how our automobile culture is related to the social division of labor — he quotes Andre Gorz:

it never occurs to you that work, culture, communication, pleasure, satisfaction of needs, and personal life can and should be one and the same thing: a unified life, sustained by the social fabric of the community.

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Last week I read "Abandon the Old in Tokyo" by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, a series of short comic stories. In the interview at the end of the book, Tatsumi describes the era he was writing in, and about:

Japan was destitute after World War II, but by the late-'60s, it entered its period of high-growth economics. Economic development was considered more important than the way people actually lived their lives.

In the title story, a man lives with his aging and infirm mother in an apartment building where everyone still does their laundry (including his mothers' frequently peed-upon bedclothes) in a shared washtub. Meanwhile, the man works as a garbage collector, one of his coworkers finding a washing machine that just needs a simple repair. "Doesn't matter how handy it is. People get rid of anything old."

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For the first time this year, there are actually more poor people living in America's suburbs than there are living in its cities (in absolute numbers; the percentage of people in poverty in urban areas is still higher).

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