Thursday, September 28, 2023

The Master Builder or The Power Broker?

A city is an agglomeration of intentions. But what is the result? Is the difference between the sum of the parts and the whole tantamount to that between between the popular vote and the electoral college--which has been such a source of controversy in recent elections? Citizens emigrate to a metropolis either to find themselves or get lost in the crowd. This latter allows for self-invention to the extent that no one is there to pierce the "corpusorate" veil. Transformation is the lingua franca  of urban life. Remember Bicycle Thieves (1948)? De Sica’s neorealist classic is ultimately about proliferation with Rome pictured as a massive lost and found. It’s easier to get away with murder in Milan than Assisi where all the vendors of memorabilia know each other. But amidst the planned chaos is the stilted logic of stunted dreams. Anita Ekberg’s frolicking in the Trevi Fountain--La Dolce Vita (1960) makes a mockery of all the wishes thrown away in Three Coins in the Fountain (1954). A city is like the roulette wheel with its Croupier (1998) crying out “les jeux sont faites.” There are always winners but the majority of gamblers walk away empty-handed. The avenues attest to both the winners and losers among all the failed dreams. The Master Builder and The Power Broker both have their say.

read the review of The Kafka Studies Department by Francis Levy in Booklife

and listen to Everybody is a Star by Sly and the Family Stone

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