Just as there was a revival in the fortunes of Bodie when corrosive chemical-informed gold recovery was introduced after the "low hanging fruits" of the gold veins had been worked to the last few bits, we see a similar pattern with a substance even more vital to the economic viability of suburban sprawl. Here we have a scant few dribbles of oil, extracted a great price, all brought to the surface in order to keep up with illusions that our petrochemical build-out might continue.


As an even deeper metaphor, there is what we extract from our lives as, in a sense, a mining venture, resource extraction.

In going to look at the initial phases of what were known locally (I live in a place in Northern California known chiefly for it's political business these days, as the agricultural facilities and working farms were long ago removed to make way suburban housing) "the automobile suburbs" (as opposed to the central Mid-town area, served as it once was by an extensive network of streetcars and, later, buses) I am often left to question how we will redefine our relation to the world around us as those "automobile suburbs" fall into disrepair and, finally, outright decay. Necessarily, how we create our art---and this includes popular song forms---will be of significance.

Will the suburbia envisioned in the 20th Century, that place so consciousness-defining in all aspects of North American life, become something similar to what one finds in the Over The Rhine section of Cincinnati, Ohio?


The true story of Over The Rhine being thrown to the scrapyard of history is found a bit down into the wikipedia item, in notes from the US Census Bureau. The Over The Rhine neighborhood provides us with a glimpse of what the once vast tracts of homes in places such as the Wasatch Front the the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro region may come to resemble as the harsh light of our totally avoidable, petrochemically-induced, decline becomes the rule, rather than an obscure exception in Ohio.

What then? Clearly we cannot just move away after the resources run out. That was the fate of the mining camp that was Bodie.

In no small way, it will be our artistic response to this geological resource depleation that will provide us with a way forward.



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