LandFILL — or, I can’t stand it (warning: foul language)

October 2, 2008 at 10:06 pm | In Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Dave Winer pointed to a SoCal news video that another blogger has on their site. Twelve minutes of pain. Must see, click through. In response, I commented the following:

Just watched the “meltdown” news video you linked to, above. Oh my god. The waste, the waste of it all. Lives, land, stuff, potential. LAND! LandFILL.

Astonishing. (Like, literally. I’m a-stonied, rigid with gob-smackedness.)

“Inland Empire,” my pointy little ass. Highways, gasoline (cheap, then; not now), more subdivisions, super-duper square footage, more oil, more cars, on and on. And what’s left on those streets? People who themselves are on the financial edge, living (if you can call it that) in “communities” (fuck me – what a bunch of crap!) where almost every other house on the street is abandoned/ handed back to the lenders.

And some of those people thought that the bad ol’ city with its “crowding” (actually, density) was the enemy. Wow, were they wrong.

PS: can’t even walk to the grocery store in the “Inland Empire.” How sustainable was that to begin with?

Originally posted as a comment by Yule Heibel on Scripting News using Disqus.

After I wrote that, I wrote some more, but decided against cluttering up Scripting‘s comments board and instead took it to my own blog here.

Man, I haven’t cursed this much in text in ages

PS: My anger and sadness comes in part from feeling that these people who abandon their homes like this have no one to draw on, link to, connect with. No community, no nothing. There’s no one to draw close to — and how could there be, in *wastelands* such as “Inland Empire”? *Waste*-land.

It’s infuriating to see that atomizing people in this way, dis-encouraging them from some sort of organic relationship to place/ community, and telling them instead that *suburban isolation* and all this other bullshit of Stuff-hood (which lands in the dumpster) is the American Dream — that this has been sold as some kind of *goal*.

What the hell kind of community can you have in an Inland Empire? The “community” of new age religions or evangelical-isms? Same old, same old: no fucking history! And by the same token, actual neighbourhoods/ communities have been left in a trashed & destroyed state (see NOLA), so that political willpower and ability to move toward change also gets dis-focused and confused. Wipe out the history, wipe out the memory. Abandon ship, leave your crap, fill the landfill.

It’s enough to make one think there’s method to this madness.

Ok, I’ll leave your comments board now, enough ranting. But that video really riled me up. Usually don’t swear this much.

Pernicious. Inland Pernicious.

So, yeah — it’s a rant.  But you just have to watch this news clip to get it.

Ok, back to your regular programming.  Move along, nothing to see here.


  1. Yule, this is brutal but fascinating at the same time. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by davin — October 3, 2008 #

  2. There was a snippet of online pre-history to this rant, too.
    On FriendFeed, Dave Winer posted a YouTube video called Blood and Oil, which outlines all the things that went environmentally wrong over the years since the oil industry built its refineries on the Gulf (mostly, destruction of wetlands, which in turn meant levees couldn’t hold back storm waters,etc.).
    I made a huge long comment on that clip, which you can see and read here (go ahead, click through, it’s a fascinating video!).
    Anyway, in that comment I also referred to another city blogger (Wendy Waters in Vancouver, actually), who recently wrote that the bailout bill helps mostly the suburbs, and that it’s all part & parcel of shoring up the oil (and gasoline and car and highway-building, sprawl-inducing) industry.
    In a way, that sounds almost paranoid, but really it’s all connected.
    And wouldn’t you know it, just yesterday (or was it Friday?) I saw Richard Florida’s entry (posted to Twitter and Facebook and FriendFeed), I purchase, therefore I am, who writes that the easy answer is to blame the housing / mortgage crisis for the financial crisis mess. But it’s actually much deeper and systemic: “The real reason is that the roots of the current crisis are tied to the fundamental nature of the postwar model of economic development called “Fordism.” That model drew a tight connection between assembly-line mass production and mass consumption – ultimately fueled by massive suburbanization.”
    IOW, Wendy Waters was indeed on to something, and we have to draw the connecting lines between unsustainable suburbanization, over-reliance on cheap oil and gas, and over-consumption based on using “home equity” as the back-up. And now that’s over. As Florida notes, “the age of the house as piggy bank is long gone.”
    No kidding…

    Comment by Yule — October 5, 2008 #

  3. It seems so ironic to me, through all of this, that so much of the financial crisis has to do with where people live and how they get to work. This seems like really basic stuff. I would think our banking system would freeze up from something flashier. Nope, it’s just the infrastructure behind normal every day stuff.

    Going beyond that, I recently listened to a very good podcast on the next stages of the financial crisis and I wanted to pass it along since I thought you might enjoy it – it’s from This American Life, a radio show based out of Chicago. Here’s the most recent one, it’s fairly illuminating:

    Comment by Davin — October 9, 2008 #

  4. Thanks for the follow-up “This American Life” link. I still haven’t had time to listen to this one, but their earlier one on the Giant Pool of Money was amazing. Looking forward to hearing this one, too!

    Comment by Yule — October 11, 2008 #

  5. Yes that was an amazing episode. I believe this is the follow-up to that episode in particular. Quite, quite good.

    Comment by davin — October 14, 2008 #

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