13 August 2004

Letters at 3 a.m.

Growing up brainy and disaffected in LA, I loved reading Michael Ventura's essays in the LA Weekly. I vividly recall an essay he wrote about how the combination of the automobile, the motel, and electric light added up to an erasure of time and space as humans have traditionally experienced them, an essay that likely was the first step toward my corruption by books about postmodernism and urban planning.

I just discovered that the Austin Chronicle is running him now, and they have an archive of his articles.

It seems that like all of us, he's writing a lot about the Bush administration and the Iraq debacle.

Here is an excerpt from a list published in The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 11, 2003, titled, “An Honor Roll of Sacrifice in Iraq.“ What follows covers the first weeks of the war, from March 20 through June 17, 2003, and I repeat only the place names. I suggest you read it aloud. It'll get to you. It is a new American geography — a geography of places with fewer and fewer choices, fewer and fewer opportunities, where the young would rather risk death than endure the death-in-life of towns where most shops on Main Street have long since been boarded up. Mostly these are places you've never heard of, places you could drive through in minutes, places we have no reason to remember anymore except for how their children have become names on a list of the dead.

It's good to have him back, even though his writing was never what I would call comforting.

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