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 ’Tis the season !

Absolutely charming and heartwarming. A new Christmas Classic
–Remson Pilchard

A Christmas Orphan

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Manhattan Gothic

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Readers: if you would like a print edition of the book we ask you to patronize the CreateSpace store because they give us a better royalty than the Big Boys, Amazon, et al, and we writers need to make a living.


JHK’s novella about a boy in New York in the 1960s. Paperback – $8.00 E-book – $2.99 Click to Buy


 


Recommended by JHK
Rollicking and smart!

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Just published on Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity site:
Read it there.

You can’t overstate the baleful effects for Americans of living in the tortured landscapes and townscapes we created for ourselves in the past century. This fiasco of cartoon suburbia, overgrown metroplexes, trashed small cities and abandoned small towns, and the gruesome connective tissue of roadways, commercial smarm, and free parking is the toxic medium of everyday life in this country. Its corrosive omnipresence induces a general failure of conscious awareness that it works implacably at every moment to diminish our lives. It is both the expression of our collapsed values and a self-reinforcing malady collapsing our values further. The worse it gets, the worse we become.

The citizens who do recognize their own discomfort in this geography of nowhere generally articulate it as a response to “ugliness.” This is only part of the story. The effects actually run much deeper. The aggressive and immersive ugliness of the built landscape is entropy made visible. It is composed of elements that move us in the direction of death, and the apprehension of this dynamic is what really makes people uncomfortable. It spreads a vacuum of lost meaning and purpose wherever it reaches. It is worse than nothing, worse than if it had never existed. As such, it qualifies under St. Augustine’s conception of “evil” in the sense that it represents antagonism to the forces of life.

We find ourselves now in a strange slough of history. Circumstances gathering in the home economics of mankind ought to inform us that we can’t keep living this way and need to make plans for living differently. But our sunk costs in this infrastructure for daily life with no future prevent us from making better choices. At least for the moment. In large part this is because the “development” of all this ghastly crap — the vinyl-and-strandboard housing subdivisions, the highway strips, malls, and “lifestyle centers,” the “Darth Vader” office parks, the infinity of asphalt pavements — became, for a while, our replacement for an economy of ecological sanity. The housing bubble was all about building more stuff with no future, and that is why the attempt to re-start it is evil.

Sooner rather than later we’ll have to make better choices. We’ll have to redesign the human habitat in America because our current environs will become uninhabitable. The means and modes for doing this are already understood. They do not require heroic “innovation” or great leaps of “new technology.” Mostly they require a decent respect for easily referenced history and a readjustment of our values in the general direction of promoting life over death. This means for accomplishing this will be the subject of Part II of this essay, but it is necessary to review a pathology report of the damage done.  Read the rest….

Published as an E-book for the first time!
The 20th Anniversary edition
With an entertaining new introduction by the author

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Tis the Season!

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

2 Responses to “Un-Paving Our Way To Nirvana” Subscribe

  1. Q. Shtik December 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Test

    • Neon Vincent December 2, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      You passed. Now it’s time for me to respond to JHK.

      Your post reminded me that your distaste for suburbia started not because it was bad for the planet, which it is, but because it was bad for the human soul. Your essay over at Peak Prosperity does a good job of elaborating on that theme. From my own experience of moving from a big city that really acted like a bunch of suburbs in search of a downtown to a small city with a real downtown, then out to the country, then back into the city, that the best place to live was the small city. That place was walkable.

      Unfortunately for any deliberate attempt to create a sustainable mixed-use environment, such as was described in a Brattleboro Reformer article last week, it might end up like the Agenda 21-friendly FEMA camps created by Jeff Wattrick as vehicles of satire, mostly of the right-wing imagination, but possibly as mockable in their own right. Too bad, as they would lack sprawl, cars, and consumer culture.

      http://crazyeddiethemotie.blogspot.com/2012/11/sustainability-through-looking-glass.html

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