The guerrilla architect

Nothing new under the sun

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Last night’s Plantopic screening of Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 is, in a word, depressing. It’s post-May ’68 and everyone is officially off the high that comes from the explosive hope abundant during times of progressive social movements. There’s no real linear plot or Hollywoodian driving force behind the action. The plot is instead structured more like a collage showing the interactions among four couples living in the Geneva area.

Two of the major conflicts presented in the storyline are 1) the issues faced by people who work in Geneva but live just over the border in France because there’s no work in France and no affordable housing in Geneva, and 2) the rampant land speculation/urban housing shortages in the Geneva area that play into the fact that it gets harder and harder to find and be able to afford decent housing. Luckily, we’ve moved on since the 1970s.

Ha! I kid! It’s worse.

Jonah, as they say, could have been filmed today. Change May ’68 to Occupy Wall Street and swap out some of the superfly turtlenecks and platforms and you’re good.

The conversations the Jonah characters had, the long and meandering debates, philosophizing, ranting — all of it pretty much sounded like the sorts of conversations my friends and I have on a regular basis. I am well aware that there’s nothing new about discussing the means of production, wealth inequality, environmental degradation, wage slavery, etc, but the situations and conversations in the film nevertheless had a pin in the balloon effect on me. The bad guys were doing the exact same thing they are doing today, and the little guys had the exact same anger and frustration, the same discussions, the same desperate searches for alternatives, and the same disillusionment and sense of hopelessness that so many utopian minds have today.

Midweek reading (and viewing)


Near the edge of the front yard, a plastic, hot-pink flamingo juts out among the bare garden beds. “It’s now my symbol,” Ricketts said. “It’s OK to have a cheap plastic thing shipped in from abroad, but it is illegal to plant organic vegetables in your front yard.”

garden army