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I’m writing something (to be published here shortly) and it brought to mind these words from Richard Rodriquez. I remember reading them in Harper’s Magazine, and telling a friend that they could stand as the Quote of the Decade (if there were such a thing) for the Aughts:

“So what is lost? Only bricks and mortar. (The contemptuous reply.) Cities are bricks and mortar. Cities are bricks and mortar and bodies…Something funny I have noticed, perhaps you have noticed it, too. You know what futurists and online-ists and cut-out-the-middle-man-ists and Davos-ists and deconstructionists of every stripe want for themselves? They want exactly what they tell you you no longer need, you pathetic, overweight, disembodied Kindle reader. They want white linen tablecloths on trestle tables in the middle of vineyards on soft blowy afternoons. (You can click your bottle of wine online. Cheaper.) They want to go shopping on Saturday afternoons on the Avenue Victor Hugo; they want the pages of their New York Times all kind of greasy from croissant crumbs and butter at a cafe table in Aspen; they want to see their names in hard copy in the ‘New Establishment’ issue of Vanity Fair; they want a nineteenth-century bookshop; they want to see the plays in London; they want to float down the Nile in a felucca; they want five-star bricks and mortar and do not disturb signs and views of the park. And in order to reserve these things for themselves they will plug up your eyes and your ears and your mouth, and if they figure out a way to pump episodes of The Simpsons through the darkening corridors of your brain as you expire (add to shopping cart), they will do it.”

……..

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