Tysons Corner v. Paris

Leesburg Pike isn’t really wider than the Champs-Élysées at any point, I don’t think. Why is it that everyone walks the latter but not the former?

First, look at the name of the thing. Leesburg Pike? You could sound a bit less brutal than a pointy weapon.

More seriously, though, sometimes it’s really just the way it looks that encourages people to act one way or another. This is where I disagree a little with anti-Apple ‘zealots’ like Tim (at least with the degree to which extends their distaste for all things Apple), though I agree with his dislike of irrational consumerism: we want a vision in which the highest truth is Beauty and the greatest beauty is Truth.

This is the only way we can tell the difference between sinful waste and godly abundance. I wrote last year about the idea of need in King Lear. If you’ve read Antony and Cleopatra, you see that themes of need continue in force: Shakespeare’s Egypt and old Rome consist respectively of plenty and scarcity, of generosity and parsimony, and then ultimately of prodigality and meanness. Having looked that way, look again at Mary and her pouring out of spikenard. She has done a beautiful thing to me.

Need is measured (dare I even say measured?) by beauty, not by numbers. We need because we, our race, were conceived out of love. And our cities, perhaps, can begin to look that way again, and the cry of desire and yearning will take the shape of Du Bellay’s words: plus que le marbre dur me plaît l’ardoise fine (‘more than hard marble doth fine slate please me’, Les Regrets). Reason not the need.


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