It has been established, for example, that suburban streets all over America ought to be as wide as two-lane county highways, regardless of whether this promotes driving at excessive speeds where children play, or destroys the spatial relationship between the houses on the street.
Back in the 1950s, when these formulas were devised, the width of residential streets was tied closely to the idea of a probable nuclear war with the Russians. And in the aftermath of a war, it was believed, wide streets would make it easier to clean up the mess with heavy equipment.
Zoning codes devised by engineering firms have been “packaged” and sold to municipalities for decades, eliminating the need for local officials to think about local design issues. This is one reason why a subdivision in Moline, Illinois, has the same dreary look as a subdivision in Burlington, Vermont. All the design matters are supposedly settled, and there has been little intelligent debate about them for years.
America has now squandered its national wealth erecting a human habitat that, in all likelihood, will not be usable very much longer.
I love your character analyses of Jackie and Hyde, so I was wondering what you thought the point was in making Jackie dance with Hyde (instead of Kelso who she was currently with) in That '70s Musical?
Oh, good question! (and thank you so much for the compliment!)
Unfortunately I don’t have a very in depth interpretation of it because it didn’t actually happen between Jackie and Hyde—it was in Fez’s imagination. It could indicate that Fez saw something between them and that came across in his fantasy. (I think the chapter for this episode in Filling in the Gaps takes this view.) It could also be simply that Ashton Kutcher isn’t a very good dancer, and so she was paired off with Danny instead. But that doesn’t sit right with me, because a) they were not doing anything remotely complicated… literally they were standing in place and wiggling their asses, and b) Ashton does plenty of fancy dance moves throughout the rest of the episode.
What I find interesting is not simply that Jackie and Hyde were paired off together, but that Kelso was there, too. And while Jackie dances mostly with Hyde, she also moves back and forth between them. That was a directorial choice that could have been handled differently. For instance, if it was just a matter of grouping the kids together for camera shots, Jackie and Kelso (who as you point out were a couple at the time) could have been paired off together while Hyde could have been grouped with Eric and Donna (who weren’t a couple at the time). But no—it was Eric and Donna, and Jackie, Hyde, and Kelso.
It’s debatable how much of S5 was in the works in S4. Happy though I am that they got together, I think the transition from Jackie wanting to marry Kelso one minute to mackin’ on Hyde the next is very clunky, and suggests to me that their relationship was a last minute decision. But, that having been said, there are a few sprinkling in S4 to suggest that they were maybe foreshadowing/moving in that direction. I talk about it about it in a bit more detail here if you’re curious, but the big ones I think are Hyde flirting with her in Jackie Says Cheese, his birthday kiss, and that fantasy sequence—all of which take place after Jeff and Jackie Filgo were made principle executive producers.
Jeff and Jackie Filgo were the one’s to first take Jackie and Hyde’s relationship in a potentially romantic direction in Moon Over Point Place, and as showrunners were moving them in the direction of getting married throughout S6 and S7. (They left after S7, however, and that’s how we wound up with S8. It wouldn’t have happened if they were still involved.) I think Jackie and Hyde as a couple was their brainchild, and they intended to move in that direction when they moved into the new season. My guess, however, is that most of S4 had been written/mapped out by the time they were promoted that it wasn’t worth it to go through it all over again to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to JH, so they just added in these little tidbits here and there. That scene, and the inclusion of Kelso in the shot was indicative of the fact that those three were always in kind of a love triangle.
Complexity itself can be deceiving. Biogenic complexity constrains entropy flows with checks and balances. What we take to be man-made artificial complexity (technology) is, paradoxically, a simplification process that increases flows by editing away inefficiencies. The ecology of a prairie will keep the soil active and healthy indefinitely, while the ecology of a fossil-fuel-subsidized cornfield will leach the soil of useful nutrients and physically erode it in less than a human lifetime. The ecology of a pond, with its diverse hierarchies of life and multitude of biological niches and food chains, is much more complex than the Crown Point, New York, trout hatchery with its monoculture of fish, its inputs of manufactured fish food, and its staff of attendants cleaning waste out of the cement hatchery impoundments. The natural pond also has more chance of continuing indefinitely into the future. The built-in constraints of inefficient biogenic economies reduce the flow of potential, often to the point where systems based on inefficient economies last for geologic epochs, not just a few decades in the case of a fish hatchery. Everything that we identify with
nature takes the form of inefficient systems. Biogenic or living systems are self-stabilizing. They are self-buffered. Small differences are dampened out. Entropy is stalled within them. They exhibit negative feedback tending toward long-term stability. Call this condition “negative entropy.” Everything we identify with the man-made substitutes for natural bioeconomies,
that is, technologies, tends toward positive feedback, which
is self-amplifying, self-reinforcing, and destabilizing, featuring the removal of constraints to entropy flows and leading to the certain eventual destruction of that system. Call this condition “positive entropy.”
By this, I do not mean an end to all cars but rather, that every individual adult need not make a car trip for every function of living: to go to work, to buy clothes, to have a drink, that every adult need not be compelled to bear the absurd expense of car ownership and maintenance as a requisite of citizenship.