The Horror


Here is a horrifically entertaining way to kick off your Halloween day: James Howard Kunstler’s "Eyesore of the Month." October’s Eyesore is a drive-thru ATM machine in Caseyville, Illinois. Kunstler writes:

The Ionic columns are a nice touch. What I like best is that only two
of them are required to hold up the massive roof of the structure. It’s
like a magic trick. Children love magic. . . and the American people
are uniformly very childlike, so this is perfect for them. The
mysterious green metallic object in the traffic circle is another nice
touch, lending an appropriately ominous note to the scene.

Of course, for a real dose of terror, you’ve got to read his weekly column

historians glance back at 2007 through the haze of their coal-fired
stoves, they will mark this year as the onset of the Long Emergency –
or whatever they choose to call the unraveling of industrial economies
and the complex systems that constituted them. And if they retain any
sense of humor – which is very likely since, as wise Sam Beckett once
averred, nothing is funnier than unhappiness – they will chuckle at the assumptions that drove the doings and mental operations of those in charge back then (i.e. now).

  • Mark Fleischmann

    While we’re at it, for those who haven’t explored Kunstler, his four nonfiction books are must-reads, especially The Long Emergency, which describes the cascading of various crises including peak oil, peak soil, and climate change. Then he bravely describes how our lives might changes as a result. It’s bracing, like a pail of cold water in the face. I also quite like Cities in Mind, a series of profiles of cities that do work and don’t work. I’ve read one of his eight novels, Maggie Darling, and it was lots of fun. His next novel will be a fictional exploration of the themes aired in The Long Emergency. His prose is clear, eloquent, funny, and addictive and he has much to say to Streetsblog readers.

  • Wow, That is Hideous!

  • ddartley

    The precarious looking cantilever structure is a poetic representation of unsustainability itself.

  • Spud Spudly

    I wonder if you can reach the buttons on that ATM from the window of an average Toyota Corolla, or if it’s designed to serve the Ford Expedition crowd.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The key is the Joneses. If the Joneses can only attain the lifestyle make possible by solar, wind, hydro, and some nuclear, Americans can live very happy lives with that. If the Joneses have Hummers, Americans will be miserable without them.

    Drive throughs kill pedestrian-oriented commercial streets, because cars on the sidewalk kill such streets.

    If you have a parking lot where people park, and then walk from store to store, there is very limited motor vehicle traffic over the sidewalk. With a drive-thru, such traffic is constant. The street is no longer a place where you allow your three your old toddler to walk on their own. The only comparable use is a gas station.

    When I was the team leader of the Commercial Use and Parking Study at City Planning, I wanted to restrict drive-throughs to auto-oriented streets, but was told that was out of the question. It turned out that any reform to those regulations is out of the question, making that a moot point.


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