James Harkin in yesterday’s Guardian, drawing parallels between Marshall Berman’s recently reissued classic, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air and Jay-Z’s recently spoofed classic, Empire State of Mind:
What unites Jay-Z and Berman is their lack of nostalgia, their insistence on movement and mobility. It hurts Berman to say it, but even if the Bronx had been left untouched by development, he wouldn’t have stayed. “For the Bronx of my youth was possessed, inspired, by the great modern dream of mobility. To live well meant to move up socially, and this in turn meant to move out physically; to live one’s life close to home was not to be alive at all.
It’s a little scary for some, but this modernist vision is the most generous and democratic one that we have. What this rapper and this Marxist seem to share is a conviction that cities and societies that stop moving forward, that don’t open themselves to perpetual flux and that are not constantly on the move, are as good as dead.
Read the full article here.