Friday Ephemera
She Wishes to Educate Us

Elsewhere (179)

Via dicentra, Darleen Click finds a mother whose environmentalist pieties have produced a nightmare teenager: 

I can do nothing right in my teenage son’s eyes. He grills me about the distance travelled of each piece of fruit and every vegetable I purchase. He interrogates me about the provenance of all the meat, poultry and fish I serve. He questions my every move — from how I choose a car (why not electric?) and a couch (why synthetic fill?) to how I tend the garden (why waste water on flowers?) — an unremitting interrogation of my impact on our desecrated environment. While other parents hide alcohol and pharmaceuticals from their teens, I hide plastic containers and paper towels.

The mother in question, Ronnie Cohen, is a “freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area” who writes about “social justice issues.”

And Andrew Stuttaford quotes Peggy Noonan on lofty border policies: 

Rules on immigration and refugees are made by safe people. These are the people who help run countries, who have nice homes in nice neighbourhoods and are protected by their status. Those who live with the effects of immigration and asylum law are those who are less safe, who see a less beautiful face in it because they are daily confronted with a less beautiful reality — normal human roughness, human tensions. Decision-makers fear things like harsh words from the writers of editorials; normal human beings fear things like street crime. Decision-makers have the luxury of seeing life in the abstract. Normal people feel the implications of their decisions in the particular. The decision-makers feel disdain for the anxieties of normal people, and ascribe them to small-minded bigotries, often religious and racial, and ignorant antagonisms. But normal people prize order because they can’t buy their way out of disorder. 

I spotted a not dissimilar attitude, albeit in a different context, while watching this BBC documentary on the preservation and listing of despised Brutalist architecture - specifically, the notorious Park Hill estate in Sheffield, which embarrassingly dominates the city’s skyline. Note the romantic enthusiasm of the presenter, architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff, for this locally infamous eyesore, which is known chiefly for muggings, prostitution and the joys of dodging objects hurled from upper floors. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr Dyckhoff does not live in, or near, Sheffield.) Note too, around 18:25, the views of Martin Cherry from English Heritage, who airily dismisses the preferences of Sheffield residents and insists that the local population will eventually come to embrace this “demanding” and “difficult” piece of “progressive” architecture.

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