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The Internet has made some phenomenal breakthroughs that are still only poorly understood in terms of changing people's ideas of us and them. If mass media, social isolation in the suburbs, alienating workplaces and long car commutes create a bunker mentality, the Internet does the opposite.
We're not going to persuade people in the developing world to go without, but neither can we afford a planet on which everyone lives like an American. Billions more people living in suburbs and driving SUVs to shopping malls is a recipe for planetary suicide. We can't even afford to continue that way of life ourselves.
The suburbs are the American dream, right? Living in a nice house, having a good job, a happy family.
Most Americans acquire dogs impulsively and for dubious reasons: as a Christmas gift for the kids. Because they saw one in a movie. To match the new living-room furniture. Because they moved to the suburbs and see a dog as part of the package.
If mass media, social isolation in the suburbs, alienating workplaces and long car commutes create a bunker mentality, the Internet does the opposite.
A lot of parts of L.A. are interchangeable with suburbs in Joburg. Very big, ostentatious houses with palm trees and lawns. Lawns are very important. Never underestimate lawns.
When I made my first film, I had hardly ever seen a camera before, and I was a young man when I arrived in Paris from the suburbs. At the time, I didn't talk much. I was very shy, so the bluff served me. I was telling people that I had no money, and that I knew how to make films, but I had no proof.
I grew up, as I joke around, in the 'People's Republic of Charlestown' in the city of Boston. And I was blessed to be raised right there on Monument Square in Charlestown, and every morning I'd hop on the bus and go on a 45-minute ride out to the suburbs in Brooklyn for elementary school. And I got to have my seat, really, in both worlds.
The whole idea of the suburbs was to create these family-friendly places where people could flock and have more control over their existences, and keep things very controlled and placid and keep outside forces at bay.
I think there are two prevailing views of the suburbs in the States: either they're this sort of tedious place, where everyone is the same, buys the same food and drives around in their little minivans, or the view is that the suburbs are extremely perverse in a humorous way.
If you say city to people, people have no problem thinking of the city as rife with problematic, screwed-up people, but if you say suburbs - and I'm not the first person to say this, it's been said over and over again in literature - there's a sense of normalcy.
In the traditional modernist planning that created the suburbs, you put residential buildings in suburban neighborhoods, office spaces into brain parks and retail in shopping malls. But you fail to exploit the possibility of symbiosis or synthesis that way.
I was born in Darien, Connecticut, but in 1959, when I was four, my parents moved to the suburbs of Toronto. Then, in the late 1960s, they bought a cottage in a resort/trailer park in the Kawarthas region of Ontario, and we moved up there. I wrote a book about it in 2000 called 'Last Resort: Coming of Age in Cottage Country.'
Where I come from, out in the suburbs, I didn't know anyone who was a professional actor. And girls that looked like me? No girls like that were on TV.
If you could take a subway from the suburbs in Boston, where I live, to downtown in 10 minutes, that improves your life over sitting in a traffic jam. People should see that.
I grew up in the suburbs, so I figured 'Why not try downtown living?' And, honestly, I love it. I've been very pleasantly surprised at how much downtown Indianapolis has to offer.
The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home invaded, what's the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the freckled-face kid from down the street - or is it someone who is, if not black, at least poor?
They're very, uh, you know, I don't come from the suburbs and a jolly, Disney type of lifestyle. I come from something totally different. And they're cool and bare minimum so it's not always a money issue for me.
I was born in the city's general hospital on November 15, 1930, and we lived at 31 Amherst Avenue in the western suburbs. It was a magical place. There were receptions at the French Club, race meetings at the Shanghai Racecourse, and various patriotic gatherings at the British Embassy on the Bund, the city's glamorous waterfront area.
J. G. Ballard
Everything I do is autobiographical in some way. 'Wayne's World' was me growing up in the suburbs of Toronto and listening to heavy metal, and 'Austin Powers' was every bit of British culture that my father, who passed away in 1991, had forced me to watch and taught me to love.
In Sweden, I went to an English school, where there was a mishmash of people from all over the world. Some were diplomatic kids with a lot of money, some were ghetto kids who came up from the suburbs, and I grew up in between. There's a community of second generation immigrants, and I became part of that because I had an American father.
'Will Grayson, Will Grayson' is about two guys named Will Grayson who live in different Chicago suburbs who eventually meet each other.
I grew up in the suburbs among highly educated people, in a house crammed with books. It was a culture rich in ideas, stimulation, entertainment, and mental activity, all helpful to the nurture of an imaginative child who wanted from an early age to be a writer.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, the color of my skin and my rather peculiar background as an Ethiopian immigrant delineated the border of my life and friendships. I learned quickly how to stand alone.
When the Internet really first started to hit, people felt this would be the death blow: after suburbs and long commutes and television and the death of the family dinner, this would be the last straw that would totally break society.
John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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