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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shock Tunnel

Posted by on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM

From Austerlitz, a novel by an author I fell in love with this summer, W.G. Sebald (finishing Austerlitz, which happened this weekend, also meant finishing all of the books published during his life—he died in 2001):

Then we walked the rest of the way in silence, going on downstream from Wapping and Shadwell to the quiet basins which reflect the towering office blocks of the Docklands area, and so to the Foot Tunnel running under the bend in the river. Over on the other side we climbed up through Greenwich Park to the Royal Observatory, which had scarcely any visitors apart from us on this cold day not long before Christmas.
I walked through that tunnel in 1988. And the reason why I remember the experience so vividly is because it was there (somewhere in the middle) a white man begged me for money. At the time, I was very new to London and, because I had lived 8 years in Southern Africa, had completely forgotten that people who weren't black could also be desperately poor. When the white man asked me for money, I froze on the spot and looked at his skin, trying again and again to match it with the words coming out of his mouth. In a state of shock, I gave a coin, and this shock (which the white beggar failed to notice) was increased by the thanks he gave me for it. He wasn't joking! He really needed the money! He took money from a black man! A whole month was required for me to properly absorb the fact that in the West, white people could be as poor as black people.
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Comments (16) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
Tunnels are what define a city.

Provided you can afford them and don't mind that they quadruple your global warming emissions.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 28, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
I set my London A-Z down to tie my shoe in that tunnel and left it behind some decades ago. Still rankles.

The most interesting London tunnel, though, is a bit upstream from there -- the tube from Wapping to Rotherhithe (formerly part of the Underground, it's now part of the East London Line of the Overground, which I don't understand at all because it is in fact under the ground, and under the water as well). It was built between 1825 and 1843, and was the first tunnel ever dug under a river. The link light rail that is currently being built in Seattle (and the Highway 99 tunnel along the waterfront coming soon) are both constructed using the shield technology that was invented by Isambard Kingdom Brunel here. You can still see some of the preserved detail of the old construction from the train and at the stations. It is one of the great engineering shrines of the world.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Fnarf 3
Oh, and @1: you are still the biggest fucktard in the history of the universe. Your skull is soft like a turd in a plastic bag. The tunnel in the article is a PEDESTRIAN TUNNEL. Global warming emissions, for Christ's sake.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
Actually, pedestrian tunnels require earth moving and disposition.

And lighting, pumping (depending on water table), ventilation.

I stand by my Wake Up And Smell The Ecopolypse statement. Stick your head in the burning sands of the Oklahoma-centered Dust Bowl if you want, Fnarf.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
Sigh. It's like arguing with a cantaloupe.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 28, 2012 at 2:55 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
A cantaloupe you still haven't paid for.

That you bought on credit, and which will be eaten by hungry millionaires.

Look, everything is interconnected. I personally love tunnels, especially old coal train tunnels, but I know exactly what it takes to build them and what the actual costs are.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 28, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this
7
You two are performance art.
Posted by It's beautiful on November 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 8
Really Chuck?

"finishing Austerlitz, which happened this weekend, also meant finishing all of the books published during his life"

I assume you mean all of the books by Austerlitz published during his life, not all of the books published during his life.

You're actually just barely literate. Aren’t you?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on November 28, 2012 at 4:32 PM · Report this
Charles Mudede 9
@8, either that or you are so stupid to start reading a sentence or a post not at its beginning.
Posted by Charles Mudede on November 28, 2012 at 4:49 PM · Report this
fixo 10
Austerlitz is a great book. I believe it is time for me to read it yet again. Thanks, Charles.
Posted by fixo on November 28, 2012 at 5:18 PM · Report this
11
Charles, absorbing the fact that white people could be as poor as black people in the west was not difficult to absorb. However, there was not a proactive effort by institutional forces to prevent whites from improving their lot in life as there was for blacks, which should have very easily disabused you of your difficulty.
Posted by neo-realist on November 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM · Report this
12
@9: So #8 is "stupid" and you are "barely literate" (you did make a trivial mistake in your post). If you are going to practice pointless insults, please see #3 for style.
Posted by yuiop on November 29, 2012 at 1:25 AM · Report this
Karlheinz Arschbomber 13
England had rigid societal and economic systems in place to keep certain white groups oppressed for decades/centuries. Even when officially lifted, such systems have fallout for many generations. So the white beggar may have stunned the recently arrived African, but not anybody who was familiar with the history of the place. And I love that tunnel, as well as the far more Glam version (i.e., they keep it looking like new) here in Hamburg.
Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arschbombe on November 29, 2012 at 3:00 AM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 14
Chuck @9

Nope.

I read: “From Austerlitz, a novel by an author I fell in love with this summer, W.G. Sebald (finishing Austerlitz, which happened this weekend, also meant finishing all of the books published during his life—he died in 2001):”

And then I stopped reading because you had already wasted too much of my time.

Re reading your piss poor prose I see my error (other than reading you at all). Sebald, not Austerlitz, is the author who died in 2001. It is all books by all authors published during Sebald’s lifetime that you pretend to have read. Frankly you made me care so little about the author that he became less than irrelevant to me before I finished your first "sentence."

I have to assume that the failure to clearly communicate is yours. The overwhelming body of evidence that is your “work” supports that conclusion. Taken collectively it resembles the rambling fever deliriums of a syphilitic imbecile. Taken individually, one must assume a monkey got hold of a lap top and was pounding random keys aided and abetted by auto fill and spell correct.

In short, you are a moronic boob and a bloated gas bag. Your efforts are puss weeping boils on the face of this already pox marked whore of a publication.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on November 29, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Charles Mudede 15
@14, i rest my case.
Posted by Charles Mudede on November 29, 2012 at 6:01 PM · Report this
Charles Mudede 16
@12, it was not a mistake. i expected the reader to have the information to make sense of the twists in that sentence and preserve its style. it would only be a mistake, and seriously mean this, if i was misunderstood.
Posted by Charles Mudede on November 29, 2012 at 6:07 PM · Report this

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