Listening to this 99% Invisible episode on San Francisco’s Chinatown last weekend led me to revisit this piece on how New York’s Chinatown has maintained its identity.
The podcast is a fascinating entrée into the peculiar “ethnic pastiche” genre of architecture. Though the New York article says “the Chinatowns of Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. … have been reduced to ethnic theme parks,” the interesting flipside is that in San Francisco, being an ethnic theme park was kind of the point.
On yet another flipside/potential ouroboros tip: This book (which has been on my wishlist for years) covers the phenomenon of Chinese mimicry of Western architecture. And, much like fortune cookies, the distinct architectural styles of American Chinatowns are Western.
I’ve read a lot of defenses and descriptions of hyperlinks, but this may be the most poetic:
But hyperlinks aren’t just the skeleton of the web: they are its eyes, a path to its soul. And a blind webpage, one without hyperlinks, can’t look or gaze at another webpage – and this has serious consequences for the dynamics of power on the web.
Part prescient critique, part nostalgic complaint; a little glib and a lot biased – but Hossein Derakhshan’s essay is in the ballpark of righteousness. He benefits from the unique position of having held a measure of power through the ’00s and having no access to the internet at all during Facebook’s empire-building of the last seven years: it allows him to see the present social network platform oligarchy as a whole and strange thing.
Also, though his essay skids off the rails after this section, this bit is totally real – emphasis mine:
Fewer users are directly checking dedicated webpages, instead getting fed by a never-ending flow of information that’s picked for them by complex and secretive algorithms.
Welcome to 2016 everyone.