“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.