Making the case for a civilization in decline

❝ For 25 years, photographer Lauren Greenfield has chronicled the ascendance of a global elite: here, a picture of French aristocrats sitting beneath ancient tapestries; there, movie executives flashing $100 bills in St. Barts. Once, she took a portrait of a Chinese businessman in front of the replica of the White House he’d built as his home.

She’s also recorded their fall. Her masterful 2012 documentary, The Queen of Versailles, followed timeshare king David Siegel and his wife, Jackie, as they attempted to build the biggest home in America, a plan that collapsed during the 2008 housing crisis.

❝ A monograph of her highlights, titled Generation Wealth, was published last year. On July 20, Amazon Studios will release a full-length documentary bearing the same name and featuring many of the same people.

❝ Whereas the book was more cautious about passing judgment—the Hermès bags, megamansions, and yachts were photographed carefully, as if at a remove—the film is unequivocal in its distaste for conspicuous consumption…“The pyramids were built at the moment of precipitous Egyptian decline, and that’s what always happens: Societies accrue their greatest wealth at the moment that they face death.”

Looking forward to the film. For all the right reasons. Reasons that would be obvious to anyone who’s spent any time at this blog – or the few others where “eideard” appeared on a regular basis. I’m an old geek, now, according to the calendar. I don’t feel that way. I don’t think that way. But, the foundation of the person I am and have always been – is that I’m a working-class guy from the East End of Bridgeport.

You grow up knowing you’re going to work for GE, Remington Arms or the Bridgeport Brass Company – if you’re lucky. Grades and good writing skills, learning skills and acquired knowledge didn’t guarantee access to a post-high school education. That was bound and chained to class and family income. Some of that has changed. Not because of willing participation by any government in Washington, DC or, for that matter, Hartford, Connecticut. What change there has been has flowed from battles won by ordinary families fighting for education and access.

4 thoughts on “Making the case for a civilization in decline

  1. Steve Ruis says:

    Re “What change there has been has flowed from battles won by ordinary families fighting for education and access.” Right on! Much of the progress is being eroded right now by wealthy donors who have bought the gears of government and are using them to grind our progress into dust for us to choke on.

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