Moat USA

In Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago, Bridges Have Become Barricades:

In a time of crisis, in one of the most racially and economically segregated places in the country, the bridges connecting north and south and linking east and west — sides of town that serve as proxies for wealth versus disinvestment — were made uncrossable, like drawbridges over a castle moat.

So we’re back to moats in the USA, I guess. There’s just something so basically unsettling about seeing quasi-medieval tactics, ethics and power dynamics mixed with modern technologies. That kind of merging and collision of present and past is the effect that a lot of old sci-fi tried to create. The Roman Colosseum but with rollerballs. That sort of thing.

But what it all kind of reminds me of is this line from Randolph Bourne, which I’m not going to look up. (If you don’t know him, his essays are worth a read — and although he was writing during often about WW1, his criticisms of the American intellectual class still hold a lot of weight.) I can’t remember exactly how the line goes but he was thinking about WW1 and the era that preceded it, and how everyone with their new technologies thought they were so cosmopolitan and clever, that they were all going to progress into some great future, and then, as if from ancient history, that old iron head emerged. Seeing this sort of shit always reminds me of that thought. Here’s that old iron head. Still with us.

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