Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tea Parties and Trade Center Towers


An impressive urban skyline — made possible by commerce — is probably the most emphatic rebuke that can be delivered to people overly in love with nature, government projects, or imagined spiritual realms. Of course, you can argue about dialectics or metaphysics until the cows come home (presumably to a rural area like the ones that existed in the middle of Manhattan a mere century and a half ago — unless you’re opposed to cow-raising altogether, but we’ll argue about that at Lolita Bar on May 6). There’s little you can say, though, to rationalize away the difference between jet-black, impoverished North Korea at night and the glittering, ultramodern lights of South Korea nearby.

Just look at the photo survey of the world’s most impressive skylines that recently posted — most of them, unsurprisingly, in (relative) free-market bastions, in a world where anti-capitalism and thus poverty are still the norm, especially in the southern hemisphere.

And as one of the many intelligent speakers at the (sadly but predictably maligned) New York City Tea Party this past Wednesday said, NYC should be the ultimate testament to capitalism, not a place burdened by mounting taxes and public mismanagement. The Tea Party sprawled for blocks but was focused on the park to the south of City Hall, a tiny, roughly triangular area on the southern tip of Manhattan that sits between government (City Hall), commerce (in the form of Wall Street), and what should be a locus of even-more-global commerce (the World Trade Center site) but is now reportedly scheduled not to be completely built up again until 2030.

That’s disgraceful — though it’s not solely the infamous bureaucracy of the site’s complex public-private partnership that is causing the new, more long-term delay, supposedly, but also the expected time necessary for the real estate market (and thus rental prices at the site) to bounce back from the financial crisis, which is also pathetic and sad, albeit in a slightly more complex way.

I said a few years ago in Reason that I wish the site were already restored, privately, perhaps with a jaunty neo-Art Deco flair instead of a mournful or overly modern look, not that I’m picky. I would just prefer not to have to say the terrorists damaged the world’s best skyline and kept it that way for a third of a century. (Nonetheless, I’ll entertain myself by seeing New York get blown up in Watchmen a fourth time tonight at the 7:10 Union Square show.)


pulp said...

How can you explain the hostility to the “teabagger” phenomenon among the leftist media? It’s childish and embarrassing. I’ve lost so much respect for the so-called mainstream media in the past 3 months. What little of it I had to begin with.

I am beginning to suspect that, unlike the usual scattershot anger and general lack of decorum on the part of the usual knee-jerk leftist pundits, there is a growing sense of frustration with Obama, their man in office. Somehow the very presence of people who resist or reject the democrat/centrist plans on the table (such as they are) is something they can’t handle. Mention that their guy will triple the deficit– in response to bush’s doubling the deficit– causes them to implode.

Also, let me just get this off my chest here, sorry– I am sick to death of the “bush did it” and “it’s bush’s fault” arguments. Why do people instantly bring up bush as soon as you say the slightest thing against obama’s policies? It’s astounding and bewildering. Why do Obama supporters instantly default to bush when you discuss ideas? Is it because they are dishonest or intellectually bankrupt? Or maybe just not that smart?

Oh well, I’m off to Walden pond to tend my garden. Nice knowing there was a huge turn out for the tea party in NYC. I considered going but…

pulp said...

Speaking of Watchmen:

Todd Seavey said...

Congratulations on the new movie deal to Paul Pope, America’s best libertarian comics writer-artist since Steve Ditko — and Helen and I are between Discs 1 and 2 on _Gangs of New York_ right now, another fine film with a certain larger-than-life cartoonish Monstropolis sort of flair.

And after all, as the elder Night Owl tells us in _Watchmen_ when recounting the origins of costumed heroes and villains: “It all started with the gangs — people forget that.”

pulp said...

Great line! And I don’t think that was in the book, was it?

Todd Seavey said...

Not that I recall.

Clay Waters said...

For my money, a city skyline is at least as beautiful as any vista I’ve seen in nature. But then I’m prejudiced by necessity, because I’m such an impractical urban pustule that if modern civilization were to fail, I’d be eaten by a bear in about ten seconds. And there are no bears where I live.