Pleasure seekers with no articulated philosophy

“Were Eli content to let his 10-inch-when-erect “gift from God” merely lie in the sunshine at Wreck Beach, Judy Williams could relax.” –Pieta Woolley, “Wreck Beach under siege,” Georgia Straight, July 31 2008

I’ll tell you right now, no article in the history of the Georgia Straight will ever open with a more entertaining line. It’s sensational. On its strength alone, I was compelled to the read the entirety of Pieta Woolley’s 2,800-word feature on the politics of Wreck Beach. Even better, the article, which explores the future of Vancouver’s nude beach in the face of shifting values, talks about the emergence of a new city culture. In detailing the clash of Vancouver’s civilizations, Woolley writes:

“[N]ew Vancouver” — prestige, frenzied condo development, individualism, and youth — is butting up against Wreck, one of the last vestiges of the “old Vancouver” as imagined by the 1960s’ and 1970s’ egalitarians, idealists, feminists, and peaceniks: the hippies.

I can’t help but think that “new Vancouver” represents the rise of the condo class. Sadly, it seems the cultural narrative told in the condo ads — the lifestyle of narcissistic, anti-family indulgence where happiness is made of laminate and access to doggie daycare — is not simply a marketer’s fantasy but an actual cultural force.

As the allegedly well-endowed Eli explains, new Vancouver is the culture of “young, Internet-savvy pleasure seekers with no articulated philosophy backing up their behaviour.”

Yes, you heard right. Pleasure seekers with no articulated philosophy. It’s so disturbing and yet so perfect.

It’s what we’ve become, isn’t it? It’s the reason why we live the way we live, dress the way we dress, ignore the way we ignore. It’s not that we’re rude or vain so much as we have no ethos other than apathetic self-fulfillment. It’s why we make a point to look good when we go out but then do everything in our power not to talk to strangers.

It’s an indifference to conviction that let’s anything go — the environmentalist with a taste for coffee in a take-out cup, the home owner who supports social housing but not in his neighbourhood. Indulgence is accepted and encouraged because we are “saved” by what we believe. This is the Vancouver I see all around me. This is who we are.

All the best for B.C. Day everybody. I need to go cry. Maybe read some Susan Sontag or Herbert Marcuse. They make me feel better about everything.

25 Responses to “Pleasure seekers with no articulated philosophy”

  1. Who Knows... Says:

    Wow man! That was deep, but true. Keep up the good writing!!

  2. robbennie Says:

    Mr. Hype,
    A very good observation on the state of Vancouver. Unfortunately it seems to be more of a global thing. Read and weep the latest from Adbusters.

    Happy BC Day, where’s Century Sam when you need him!

    http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/79/hipster.html

  3. Like it here (sometimes) Says:

    I was lucky enough to move to Vancouver 3 years ago and by now have enjoyed what this city has to offer.

    Truth is, the best things about this city (and the ones that set it apart worldwide) are the simplest ones. Wake up “new Vancouver”! Your city was great already. You don’t need the granite countertop or stainless steel appliances condos, or the way-too-many Earl’s-type lounges. Or the plastic girls in yaletown.

    Anyone who has (and I have) been in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, New York, Berlin, Milan and many other so-called world-class cities, knows Vancouver is not even close to them. It doesn’t need to. Just leave it as it was and stop the arrogance, self indulge and artificiality.

    Right now, it’s like a pretty girl with no personality.

  4. Are we a city of pleasure seekers with no articulated philosophy? « mtippett Says:

    […] Source: condohype.wordpress.com […]

  5. Are we a city of pleasure seekers with no articulated philosophy? « The Social Graph Says:

    […] Source: condohype.wordpress.com […]

  6. Alexas Says:

    Like it here (sometimes),

    Very well said, excellent observation.

  7. Are we a city of pleasure seekers with no articulated philosophy? » BlockGarden.com Says:

    […] condohype.wordpress.com via […]

  8. Rick Says:

    Thanks for reminding me why I left Vancouver in 1999

  9. ex-vancouveriste Says:

    […] Condohype on life in […]

  10. vomitingdog Says:

    Really? The same can be said about any city centre in the West. Is London that different? Or even Moscow? Ironically, yuppiedom was a creation of the hippy generation so I’m not too convinced that we’ve lost anything. I’ll just be glad when this self-obsessed 60s lot fades into oblivion. Unfortunately, I’ll be too old to enjoy it.

    “The future dream is a shopping scheme.”
    Johnny Rotten, The Sex Pistols, 1977

  11. Larry Yatkowsky Says:

    Pointedly ironic your post is as we celebrate a day dedicated to pioneers who took disperate notions and articulated a province.

  12. Pieta Woolley Says:

    Wow! I’m so glad you picked up on what I thought was the most interesting part of the article, too. Condohype – this kind of culturebusting is old hat to you. Thanks for taking on the sinister new Vancouver in your blog…You’re writing is worth a dozen glass condos and a grande, non-fat latte.

    And Larry Y. – do you really think BC has been articulated?

  13. Robin Says:

    Fantastic post, thanks.

  14. paulb Says:

    There is a lot of truth to this article. Sad but true.

    I’m on the very brink of leaving Vancouver myself.

  15. VancouverGuy Says:

    Without a challenge, people do not feel the need to have a social or political objective to strive for. Life is pretty easy nowadays. People talk about how it’s tough to make ends meet, but that’s only if you are so materialistic you think you need all that shit you saw on TV. There are not a lot of overarching challenges to bring people together, on one side or another, and unite people anymore.

    If people in the past did not face any pressing issues, do you think they would have been anything other than pleasure-seekers without an articulated philosophy? Generally, altruism only extends so far as the majority of people need it to make them feel good about doing their part.

    I actually believe we face a lot of significant challenges that people have just not picked up on yet, and at some point we will have to face those challenges in the future. Until that point, I think the majority of people will continue to live materialistic lives oblivious of the risks around them. People don’t WANT to have to worry about issues that transcend their limited view of life, and so no one brings up tough issues and proposes difficult solutions. I’m not sure that’s a change in humanity though; I think you are just now seeing what people are like when there is nothing tough beating them over the head and forcing them to unite.

  16. aetakeo Says:

    Gah. For all this time I managed to hold on to some level of denial about it, but it’s not just the marketing, is it?

    Great post.

  17. Patiently Waiting Says:

    When I grew up in the 80s, I remember huge peace marches, clashes between environmentalists and loggers, and family gatherings ending in angry political arguments.

    What happened to this place? When did we stop believing in…stuff?

    VancouverGuy, taking on debt has temporarily made life easy for many people. Most aren’t saving nearly enough for their retirement, or even a layoff. I see great conflict down the line.

    Thanks, condohype.

  18. Larry Yatkowsky Says:

    Pieta,

    In response –

    BC historically, has developed in sections. Within those areas groups of pioneering citizens created services and amenities to fulfill needs that enhanced their lives. Wreck Beach is one of them. While the services it provides may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, by the same token, neither is skiing, boating or riding a bike. This section of BC was staked long ago by pioneering naturists and so it should remain.

    From my view point, you represent that continuing pioneering legacy fighting to have Wreck Beach recognized by definition as a “clear and distinct” place. There is sufficient history, to suggest that it should be as articulated as Stanley Park or Kits beach.

    just sayin……

  19. The Unbearable Lightness of Being Says:

    I don’t think there’s anything more to explain than we’ve had ~30 years of near continuous economic prosperity. Yeah, the bills will come due someday, hell it might happen tomorrow, but all that angst thorugh the 70s and (just) into the 80s has been flushed away by a rising tide of economic euphoria.

    This too shall pass.

    “All this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”

    As for the hippie generation (and boomers in general), they’ve been a complete sell out, producing HMOs, Globalization, and the last two American presidents, neither of whom could resist marching off into illegal wars. They get no !@#$#E slack from me – for all the self-righteous rhetoric they have proven themselves no better or worse than any other demographic and have quite possibly crippled the US economy for the next decade.

  20. John Says:

    Oh sure as soon as the times get tough the boomers get blamed. Big deal we’re talking about an end to the business cycle. It’s happened before it will happen again and once again the nay sayers are calling this the end of the west. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

    The boomers fought communism and won and have built North America into the wealthiest continent on the planet. If you want to see a problematic generation look in the mirror. You stooges are too lazy to reproduce and sit around blogging about how bad everything is because of the boomers.

    Go out and reproduce and work for something you might just change the world like the boomers did. And just what the hell is an illegal war?

  21. vomitingdog Says:

    To Boomer John who says: “The boomers fought communism and won and have built North America into the wealthiest continent on the planet.”

    I say: By chopping down every forest, poisoning every river and polluting every inch of sky. Not too hard to do.

    Get over it and put your clothes on, it’s soon time for you to take your pill.

  22. John Says:

    So vomitindog your generation’s solution is self suicide, enjoy the ride down to the pit. The future looks a lot like Osama’s cave. Look up the most popular boy’s name in Canada sometime.

  23. condohype Says:

    Thanks for the kind words about the post everybody. I’m inspired to see how this post is resonating for so many of you. The common theme is that we all care about Vancouver very deeply. For all its troubles, Vancouver is a city of great promise and possibility. I think that’s why we complain so much. We see the potential of our little city and we don’t want it to slip away.

  24. mark Says:

    Oh and “vomitingdog”, there’s plenty of room for you in North Korea, as this seems to be your idea of a true worker’s paradise. Silly marxist…. please drink your kool-ade.

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