Sunday, April 20, 2008

whatever happened here... Sobe It

I was lucky to have spent time with the father of Flabbergast architecture Morris Lapidus in 1998. He couldn't get out much then, so we would visit and listen to him for hours. He gave me this old book by Harold Mehling (1960Harcourt,Brace). The book jacket blurb closed with this comment:

"Mehling draws a incisive portrait of a city that is part in our time, but - fortunately- is not typical of america or americans. He also takes a startlingly dim view of the city's future as a resort: America has grown-up, while Miami Beach has not."

But is the past 50 years america has grown dumb and Miami Beach has just grown crass. Mehling writes:

"Tourist bring the notion that they can't take it with them, and this notion stimulates a spirited game. Not everyone can win this game, of course, but everyone can have a good time playing."

That "hook" has not changed, it's the 'whatever happens here' cliche.

"In Miami Beach a first-rank hotel makes available immense public spaces in which to show-off, and smaller private spaces in which to drop-off. There are people for whom these two requirements are not reducible, for a number of social and emotional reasons. They make up a way of life."

Fast-foreward 2008. This "princess" was strutting along Ocean Drive happy as whore in baghdad.... flabbergast indeed.

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