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American Stasis

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Interesting trifecta in the NY Observer this week, one by Chris Lehmann, one by Lee Siegel, and the best of the bunch by Francine Prose – all running under the group title “American Stasis”…

If there were such a thing as an urban psychotherapist, the good doctor might diagnose our malaise as a citywide case of chronic, low-level depression. Sadness? The faces you see on an average day on the A train look as if they’re auditioning for cameos in a Walker Evans photo. Free-floating angst and rage? I’d bet that if the average household were bugged (which they very well may be, before too long, in the interests of national security), you’d hear a startling number of New Yorkers yelling at their unresponsive TV screens as the network anchormen intone the evening news.
Those nightly wig-outs may turn out to be the key to our diagnosis. Because my guess is that we’re not all simultaneously being flattened, through some miracle of synchronicity, by the recovered memories of our unhappy childhoods. It hardly requires a board-certified psychoanalyst to read the signs and manifestations and to conclude that our malaise is not about past history, but rather about the present historical moment.

Only thing is, local color aside, this isn’t just a NY story… But a major change in barometric pressure…
What do we make of the fact that the declarations of the end of history always come when time seems to be rushing forward, while at times like we’re living in now, when “history” is ostensibly restarted, everything seems to have come to a halt.

Written by adswithoutproducts

August 15, 2005 at 11:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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