Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Obsolescence ["outdated" technology]

The residents of Leonia, another of Calvino's Invisible Cities, would say, if asked, that their passion is 'the enjoyment of new and different things'. Indeed, each morning they 'wear brand-new clothing, take from the latest model refrigerator still unopened tins, listening to the last-minute jingles from the most up-to-date radio'. But each morning 'the remains of yesterday's Leonia await the garbage truck' and a stranger like Marco Polo, looking so to speak, though the cracks of Leonia's story-walls, would wonder whether the Leonians' true passion is not instead 'the joy of expelling, discarding, cleansing themselves of a recurrent impurity'. Why otherwise would street cleaners be 'welcomed like angels', even if their mission is 'surrounded by respectful silence', and understandably so - 'once things have been cast off nobody wants to have to think about them further'. As the Leonians excel in their chase after novelties, 'a fortress of indestructible leftovers surrounds the city, 'dominating it on every side, like a chain of mountains'. 
Zygmunt Bauman, Wasted Lives: Modernity and its Outcasts


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