Additional responses to Abraham’s Blueprint screed:
1. Owen Hatherley at sit down man, you’re a bloody tragedy (who was named in said screed).
2. Infinite Thought gets at the heart of what is potentially the most valuable contribution of blogging (as a medium) to discourse:
“Abrahams criticises Owen and Fantastic Journal for discussing Ford, as if any discussion of industry was inherently historicist and backward looking. But what is more interesting… is that ‘a fan of civic modernism and an arch postmodernist’ could be discussing anything at all: without the internet these kinds of discussion just simply wouldn’t be happening. There’d be the red corner over there and the blue corner over there and occasionally missiles would be slowly thrown across the glossy pages of oversized architectural magazines. And very little would be learnt by anyone… if we want a ‘serious vision for the future’ beyond the hype and hysteria of celebrating any and every new development in Dubai or Shanghai, and praising contrarian ideas about the future of humanity, simply because they exist, it’s going to be because people who wouldn’t have otherwise had anything to say to one another are talking to each other slowly and patiently online and not merely growling at each other across gallery openings and lecture halls.”
Which is exactly what I see happening in the corners of the political blogosphere that I frequent — progressives and conservatives speaking to one another, libertarians and traditionalists listening to one another’s arguments, as the willingness to speak honestly, take seriously the implications of arguments, and a posture of engagement become more important markers of engagement than ideological purity. This can happen for landscape/architecture and urbanism, as well, and if it does, we will be all the better for it.
3. The wittiest is at Strange Harvest (also named), where Sam Jacobs has not written a post, but has re-subtitled his blog “not a valid research process for architecture”.
4. Charles Holland:
“Abrahams wants a declamatory THIS IS THE FUTURE sort of criticism, not realising that the desire to return to such linear certainties might itself be reactionary and nostalgic. Perhaps the future is already here? Or rather visions and speculations about it already are. It’s just that they don’t look like they used to.”
5. I hope that Abrahams responds to these responses. While I don’t think he made a very good case for any of the charges he offered (as the responses show), that’s not the same thing as saying that there isn’t a good case that could be made (particularly, as I outlined below, for the lack of disagreement). So let us hope that he’s up to going a second round. Funnily enough, his post and the responses to it show exactly the sort of critical engagement that I would like to see more of from the architectural blogosphere (though, in this case, it is meta-criticism rather than simple criticism).