“A lot of hard-working Americans have had their pension funds taken from them and their plans for the future totally destabilized. These people have worked all their lives, but these bankers just came in and obliterated the system.”—
Just a few of ruin porn’s constituent parts: the inevitable human tendency toward nostalgia, the birth and death of punk, the early, hardscrabble days of hip-hop, downtown/heroin chic, Bukowski, Taxi Driver, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, The Outsiders, steeping in a stock of history: white flight, urban blight and renewal, crime, deferred maintenance of both the physical and notional infrastucture. All of this has been fermented by grunge ironicism, neoliberal economics and attitudes, and the post-everything present mindsets of journalists and artists. At its worst, ruin porn traffics in curdled sarcasm—the Pabst tall boys and trucker hats of Gen-Y hipsters (I use that word under duress; the correct classification is “gutter yuppie”). I can make a case for Napoleon Dynamite as failed ruin porn. Cormac McCarthy’s dodgier novels dabble with the genre—I classify The Road as young-adult ruin porn. But at its best, ruin porn can be breathtaking: The Wire’s second season is quintessential RP, and the entire series is at least partially about how our systems are failing us.
Best chunk of sportswriting (yes, sportswriting) I’ve read in quite some time.
“At the end of the day,” James said, “all the people who want to see me fail, they gotta wake up tomorrow and have the same life they had when they woke up today. Same personal problems they had today. I am going to continue to live and do the things I want to do and be happy with that.”—LeBron just after losing to the Mavs. When all else fails, kick the poor.