Thursday 8 July, 2021

Evening in America

Dave Winer had this wonderful Edward Hopper picture on his blog yesterday. It reminded me of how much I love Hopper’s work. Most of his pictures evoke impressions of the US in an age when it was possible to be optimistic about its future, and one of my favourites — Nighthawks — has a figure in it who looks very like my Dad.

I’m old enough to remember a time when there were no ‘petrol stations’, just roadside pumps like the ones in the picture. One of our family friends, Horace Davin, had a big grocery store in the town square. And he also had a couple of petrol pumps on the street outside. It was no big deal: he sold groceries; and he sold petrol. And during the Suez crisis in 1956, when petrol was briefly rationed in Ireland, Horace was a good man to have as a friend.

If Edward Hopper were alive today, what kinds of scenes would he paint? The new Gridserve EV-charging station in Braintree, perhaps? There’s a touch of genius in its design. When you drive in, it looks exactly like the forecourt of a petrol station — until you realise that the pumps aren’t pumps. Its designers understood a basic truth about new technology: if you want to encourage the average Joe to switch to EVs, you have to make doing so as ‘normal’ as possible. Only geeks and show-offs want to be ahead of the curve. Sensible people don’t.

Quote of the Day

Samuel Coleridge

“Did you ever hear me preach?”

Charles Lamb

”I never heard you do anything else.”

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

JJ Cale, Eric Clapton | After Midnight and Call Me the Breeze


Long Read of the Day

Social class in America

TL;DR version: Class in America is so complex, so multidimensional and fragmented, that it requires an enormous amount of cultural capital just to navigate.

It also requires a perceptive thinker to analyse it, and Smith fits that bill.


Another, sobering, link

  •  4th Of July Shootings Across The Country Killed More Than 180 People From NPR. Link

The Libertarian slogan “Live Free or Die” needs updating. It now reads “Live Free and Die”.

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