Monthly Archives: September 2018

One man’s junk is another’s man treasure

Researching Learning from Las Vegas occasioned by the death of Robert Venturi made me stumble upon God’s Own Junkyard [above].

Two pictures of that book are reproduced in Learning from Las VegasGod's Own Junkyard

God’s Own Junkyard is a work of cultural pessimism which laments the uglification of the United States landscape.

As happens so often, one man’s junk is another’s man treasure and the scenery decried in God’s Own Junkyard is glorified in Learning from Las Vegas.

Kishore Mahbubani cites “How does it feel?” Gabriel García Márquez hoax

A good friend of mine suggested we read Has the West Lost It? A Provocation (2018) by Kishore Mahbubani in order to discuss it.

I read it.

Its thesis?

Mahbubani advocates a minimum of Western interventionism after what he sees as a period of Western arrogance in which the west humiliated both the Muslims and Russia. The book centers on the premise that economic growth will make everyone happier (except for the west which can no longer grow).

The book fails to mention the coming ecocalypse and does not seem to mind the violations of human rights.

In an astonishing case of academic incompetence, Mahbubani cites the “How does it feel?” Gabriel García Márquez hoax without acknowledging it as such:

Mahbubani had previously cited the hoax in his book Beyond the Age of Innocence (2005):

I might take some classes in geopolitics coming academic season.

RIP Robert Venturi (1925 – 2018)

Robert Venturi was an American architect, best known for his book Learning from Las Vegas (1972).

Learning from Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form (1972) [above] is a book by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour.

On the book’s cover was a billboard advertising “Tan Hawaiian with Tanya”[1].

The book had a major impact on the emergence of postmodernism.

RIP Paul Virilio (1932 – 2018)

Paul Virilio was a French theorist, urbanist, and aesthetic philosopher.

He is best known for his book Bunker Archeology (1975), a book I discovered one lonely night in Brussels spent with a young woman at her place. She had acquired it that same afternoon.

One of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall was photographed by myself in 2007 [1].

I’ve yet to hold a copy of this book in my hands.