This is a reminder that the owners and developers of the Safeway site at Broadway & Commercial will be showing off their design concepts for tower(s) at that important intersection tonight. The Open House is at Croatian Cultural Centre and kicks off with a “brief presentation” at 6:00pm. The event goes on until 8:30pm.
There is much to be potentially concerned about with these plans, and it will be interesting to see their take on the question of a public plaza — a design feature included in the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan but which the City has said the owners don’t want on their site.
A few weeks ago I caught Fran Lebowitz being interviewed on a late night talk show. I had heard of her but never read any of her work. She was quite interesting in the interview and I duly ordered a copy of The Fran Lebowitz Reader from the library. I guess others had seen her interview because I was third in line for the only copy. I finally got it last week and began to read.
The book is a series of short magazine-style pieces, reprints of her books Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, some of which were first published as magazine articles in Interview, Mademoiselle, and British Vogue. I enjoyed the first few pieces, and I can see why she was considered a sardonic wit, perhaps a new Dorothy Parker. Unfortunately, I quickly became bored with the style and the viewpoint; after a dozen or so pieces, you knew what was coming in the next chapter, and the writing seemed no longer witty but, rather, repetitious and small minded.
I suspect part of the problem is the fact that these were written in the 1970s and 1980s. Our television schedules these days are full of brash, outspoken commentary by highly intelligent women. Compared to them, Lebowitz in this collection comes across as little more powerful than a pre-sensimilla spliff. And, like a forty-year old roach, her writing hasn’t aged well.
That’s a shame because I was looking forward to it.
I have seen the best minds of my generation squander their extraordinary talents on the marketing of consumer goods and the maintenance of shareholder value.
I have seen them abandon all pretence of worker’s rights at the behest of foreign and domestic bankers, Friedmanites from Chicago and MIT.
I have seen them relegate the environment to the dustbin, a victim in the race for quarterly profits and analysts expectations.
I have seen them treat safety issues as public relations issues, and seen them lobby to lessen their liability.
They have shamed seniors into wearing diapers, taught children how to smoke, and taunted teens into starving themselves to death.
They have sold goods that have killed millions, children, pregnant women, families, clans, tribes and nations, here and around the world.
They have spiked the waters of the masses with a poison called greed.
They have swallowed our ethics and morals and spat them back in our faces as branded goods for which it is right and necessary that we pay to display their logos.
You have contributed to their victory with every discretionary purchase, every dollar saved or spent.
You have accepted their world view with every envious glance, every lottery ticket purchase, every time you have watched a TV program starring “celebrities” or giving away a million dollars.
You have bowed to the inevitable with each ring of the alarm clock, each punch of the work clock, each end-of-week celebration.
You have become your parents, your older sister, your Uncle Frank with his shiny pants, your parents once again.
I have purchased things I could have made myself.
I have allowed my city to become plastered with advertising slogans, from store signs to billboards to the names of buildings and arenas.
I have dressed my children in designer labels, given then Elmo dolls and Flintstone vitamins, and let them choose CocoPops and TV cartoons over papaya and reading for breakfast.
I have enough of everything I need, and yet forever I need more; and
We have accepted all this bullshit, washed it down with the liquid lies of the liberal’s election hoax.
We have time and again made the wrong choice; time and again we have meekly accepted that the choices we are offered are the only choices possible.
We have been active participants in our own kidnapping, paying the ransom over and over again.
We have failed ourselves — and the bastards have won. At least for now.
Dinner tonight will be a shrimp and sausage paella, but the real treat (I hope) will be this cherry and blackcurrant clafouti.
[select image for a closer look]