Our Grim Sterile Future

I saw this posted on on Maggie’s Farm yesterday. What struck me was the images. The future as imagined by our rulers is always the same. Lots of glass and stainless steel. Everything is mechanized and intimidatingly efficient. Most important, it looks better without people.

Imagine those white tile walls and floors marked up by the zig-zag graffiti of the local street gang. Think about the vibrant types lined up in the black hoodies and New York Knicks lids on sideways. The people who imagine these things certainly don’t think about it because in their imagined future, there’s no vibrancy. Everything is monochromatic. It’s Blade Runner after all the bad people have finally been removed from the gene pool.

That’s the thing about what has happened in these hotbeds of gentrification. Social movements arise in response to some problem, real or imagined. The systematic removal from sight of the unwanted by liberal white people is quickly followed by the creating of living space fit for their kind and not the other kind.

The weird fascination with white and stainless, I suspect, part of the subtext of gentrification. There’s also the Potemkin recreations of the glory days of urban life as imagined by modern Progressives. Central Square in Cambridge Mass has be refitted to look like late 60’s Berkley, the last time and place it was cool to be an urban white person.

As I said the other day, the ruling class is developing a language of their own. They are also creating a new aesthetic. The NYC subways will look like Logan’s Run, while the above ground shops will have an ersatz bohemian grittiness. Looming over all of it will be the glass and steel towers. Maybe that’s where they will mount the Eye of Soros.

6 thoughts on “Our Grim Sterile Future

  1. The first photo in this article is a fabulous fantasy.
    No people at all to clutter things up.
    The best fantasy delusion of all: No traffic!
    Not a car, truck, or bus in sight
    This is the soot-less, noiseless, exhaust-less, spotless Manhattan
    that every architect and futurist dreams of and loves.

  2. Held up by the inclined elevators. Allegedly cheaper to construct versus standard elevators. Just like in the Luxor in Vegas!

  3. The systematic removal from sight of the unwanted by liberal white people is quickly followed by the creating of living space fit for their kind and not the other kind.

    but I’m sure people prefer not to have their car broken into or home gratified. One things libs get right, even if it makes then hypocrites.

  4. The reality is never the fantasy. If you see architects drawings, there is ample space, people walk casually in twos or threes, cars are parked neatly but there is plenty of room for more. Better still, the buildings not only look great but there are carefully placed modestly sized trees and no litter on the streets. No cracks in the concrete, no weeds poking through.

    But the reality is the roads crack, the weeds bloom, people aren’t casually strolling around but hurrying to avoid the gangs gathering on the corner and anyway there isn’t enough parking space. Not a hoodie to be seen, not a beggar to be seen crouched in the doorways. The stores drawn so nicely aren’t shuttered or plastered with ‘closing down sale’ signs either.

    But that damned reality soon starts interfering with the fantasy…

    A town I lived in issued a poster campaign promising a bright new future complete with a snappy slogan. The drawings of carefully manicured streets were recognisable by the existing architecture and layout, but the artist had avoided the pot-holes in the roads and the empty cans littering the pavement/sidewalk. More, the people were all young and smart and dressed in suits and many carried brief cases, or large bags loaded with expensive clothes from the fashionable shops and stores.

    But the same street in reality wasn’t full of all those people. They hadn’t anything but jeans or hoodies on, none carried anything but a plastic shopping bag from the local cheap supermarket (most preferring to carry their beer cans in the hand at all times) and boy, they really are old looking in that town.

    Yes, reality wasn’t the fantasy, but I could imagine the town council looking at those drawings and thinking, wow, we have invented a lovely future. And then they hurried to their securely parked cars and drove at high speed to where they lived, which amazingly wasn’t in the town that paid their wages. They wouldn’t be seen dead there.

  5. “It’s Blade Runner after all the bad people have finally been removed from the gene pool.” – wait a minute… Blade Runner’s city was crowded, nasty, wet and dirty. More like reality than reality (so far). More like Soylent Green society. More like the Nostromo of Alien, which, in my imagination, would probably be more like a freighter of our times,i.e., see the second sentence.

    The better SF books and flicks seem to get the onrushing degradation and overpopulation and segregation into Morlocks and Eloi in the way it’s most likely to go down.

    Or maybe that’s just my dark prognostication. Never mind.

    • Once you get rid of the riff-raff, the world of Blade Runner cleans up well. The book paints a less grim picture, which is what I had in mind.

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