I’ve been thinking, while spending a great deal of time in the Market parts, since the weather has taken what seems to be a prolonged turn for the Good-Better-Best, about how I’ve been generally conditioned for social settings, social interactions, by my upbringing the Suburbs. Don’t get surprised if also modern-day Gender Statistics will be influenced by recent demographic developments.
To me, the Suburbs represent a growing trend not just in terms of physical expansion, but of a strangely hyper-civilized and “Western”, though I promise to stick away from that capitalization from here-on-in yet animalistic Mode Of Rearing.
They seem to me to exist as Reefs, where parents retreat in their mid-twenties to raise children and go through a secondary coming-of-age process following their adolescence.
Interestingly, this mass retreat (and I’m referring here to the first or second generations of real retreaters into the Suburbs) has a secondary effect which I perceive to be quite detrimental.
My mother is more-than-a-little paranoid, in general character, and I think she’s not alone in this sense. As more and more parents head out to the protection of the Reef, for raising and rearing their children, we run into an interesting environment of reclusive overpopulation. Children raised in the city are constantly immersed in an environment of very vibrant society, an environment of Intensified Culture. Children raised in a truly rural environment encounter something of an inversion of this – a social context with surprisingly few people, but [and here comes the stereotyping] more intense and reciprocally intimate relationships of function.
Children raised in the Suburbs grow up without an environment of constant and wildly variable socialization, but also without one of agrarian remoteness and intensified social intimacy. We lived neither in buildings with ten feet between apartments, nor those with kilometers between neighbors, but in an environment emphasizing expansive and inefficient private space and formalized rules of and roles for social contact.
When you grow up in this no-mans-land, this space between city and country, you are introduced to the concept of frequent and regimented social interaction, but also to the idea of reclusive private property and lifestyle-on-demand. The parents of those raised there develop in their children a subtle fear of the city – the engrained uncertainty of an environment without locked gates and fenced-in gardens, yards.
the other hand, the country is contextualized as a place of backward Neo-Luddism – the requisite bureaucracy of suburban social interaction just doesn’t really exist. The overpopulation of the Suburbs means that the tropical crime of the city finds its way into the Reef, inducing both a paranoia of the violently urban and one of the lack of protection in the un-structured country. The possibility is very real for the Child of the Suburbs to be rendered impotent in either environment on its borders, and an instinctual fear is developed of anything but the endless and relatively culturally homogeneous grid of this New Periphery.
The implications of this gangrenous social development [or lack thereof] are heavy, in terms of the broader Political, Environmental, and Artistic [essentially, the Cultural] effects down the road. Since I moved out, my family has been steadily moving away from the Suburbs; and while I don’t know that we’ve necessarily gone about that exodus in the best ways, it’s something I’m increasingly proud of, on some level.
In natural biology, the Reef is a place of tropically variable undercurrents and tremendous diversity, beneath a structural facade of permanence and stability. In human culture, the Suburban Reef is just the opposite. In place of diversity, we have homogeneity; in place of the tropical, we have the cryogenic; and in place of challenge and exploration, we have implosive stagnancy.