Berlin’s swampy origins, “the veil of mist over the wet lowlands,” is a fundamental but invisible aspect of the city. You cannot see it, so you don’t often think about it.
On 3 June 2013, while discussing the International Panel of Experts report with President Mohammad Morsi, Egyptian political leaders suggested methods to destroy the dam, including support for anti-government rebels. Unbeknownst to those at the meeting, the discussion was televised live.[
It’s not quite a Target ad but whatever," he quips, seeming offended in the same way a quietly creative Brooklyn boy might if asked whether his Noguchi lamp is from Urban Outfitters.
Anytime you encounter a text that involves what the novelist Sam Pink calls “the dreaded tidbit”—“the recently popular thing of doing like, little book reports in the book”—you have Sebald to thank.
In “Parallel Lives,” a study of five couples in the Victorian era, the literary critic Phyllis Rose observes that we tend to disparage talk about marriage as gossip. “But gossip may be the beginning of moral inquiry, the low end of the platonic ladder which leads to self-understanding,” she writes. “We are desperate for information about how other people live because we want to know how to live ourselves, yet we are taught to see this desire as an illegitimate form of prying.” Rose describes marriage as a political experience and argues that talking about it should be taken as seriously as conversations about national elections: “Cultural pressure to avoid such talk as ‘gossip’ ought to be resisted, in a spirit of good citizenship.”
‘If ever a project has demonstrated the futility of conservation divorced from any concern with planning or social good, this is it. Yes, the original fabric of the building has been restored and ingeniously faked, but to what end? Who wants this Tate Modern for philistines, this Senate House for illiterates, this Berghain for people who can’t dance?’