Day 29: History

A 1980 article from The New Yorker written by George W. S. Trow was the inspiration for putting forth a publication in Williamsburg | Brooklyn called 11211. It’s called “Within the Context of No–Context” I bought a copy of the infamous essay on Broadway and 18th street years before off a table from a street vendor for a dollar.

At a serious loss for words and an execution regarding this MTA disaster, here is an a excerpt of the opening paragraphs from a “Within The Context of No–Context


Wonder was the grace of the country. Any action could be justified by that: the wonder it was rooted in. Period followed period, and finally the wonder was that things could be built so big. Bridges, skyscrapers, fortunes, all having a life first in the marketplace, still drew on the force of wonder. But then a moment’s quiet. What was it now that was built so big? Only the marketplace itself. Could there be wonder in that? The size of the con?

That movement, from wonder to the wonder that a country should be so big, to the wonder that a building could be so big, to the last, small wonder, that a marketplace could be so big—that was the movement of history. Then there was a change. The direction of the movement paused, sat silent for a moment, and reversed. From that moment, vastness was the start, not the finish. The movement now began with the fact of two hundred million, and the movement was toward a unit of one, alone. Groups of more than one were now united not by a common history but by common characteristics. History became the history of demographics, the history of no-history.

History had been the record of growth, conflict, and destruction.

The New History was the record of the expression of demographically significant preferences: the lunge of demography here as opposed to there.

In the New History, nothing was judged—only counted. The power of judging was then subtracted from what it was necessary for a man to learn to do. In the New History, the preferences of a child carried as much weight as the preferences of an adult, so the refining of preferences was subtracted from what it was necessary for a man to learn to do. In the New History, the ideal became agreement rather than well-judged action, so men learned to be competent only in those modes which embraced the possibility of agreement. The world of power changed. What was powerful grew more powerful in ways that could be easily measured, grew less powerful in every way that could not be measured.

The most powerful men were those who most effectively used the power of adult competence to enforce childish agreements.



This Astoria Blind Eye effort slipped into a hole becoming an exercise in enforcing childish agreements. I thought I could help lead or find a leader but will except failure on this one.


I spoke today, at length, to one of the people at the Queens division of Transportation Alternatives. They think everyone should ride bikes.


I didn’t succumb to a childish agreement.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s