Living in “Toon Town”

I was reminded of James Howard Kunstler’s enriching 1994 publication, The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape, and why I prefer to live in the eclectic community of Highland Square, Ohio, versus the stale, “cookie cutter” cul-de-sacs of our American landscape (or as Kunstler likes to term it, “the wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots.”)

A reporter and editor for Rolling Stone and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Kunstler writes:

Eighty percent of everything ever built in America has been built in the last 50 years…and most of it is depressing, brutal, ugly, unhealthy and spiritually degrading: the jive-plastic commuter tract home wastelands, the Potemkin village shopping plazas with their vast parking lagoons, the Lego-block hotel complexes, the ‘gourmet mansardic’ junk-food joints, the Orwellian office ‘parks’ featuring buildings sheathed in the same reflective glass as the sunglasses worn by chain-gang guards, the particle-board garden apartments rising up in every meadow and cornfield, the freeway loops around every big and little city with their clusters of discount merchandise marts, the whole destructive, wasteful, toxic, agoraphobia-inducing spectacle that politicians proudly call ‘growth.’

Interestingly enough, Kunstler’s premise for the deterioration of the American landscape is individualism.

As individualism has harmed America, what destruction has it caused the church?

For further background on The Geography of Nowhere, check out Michiko Kakutani’s 1993 review in the New York Times.

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~ by Dave Smith on December 16, 2007.

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