“No history, no respect for this great little motor lodge” by mattsteinglass
May 24, 2009, 1:28 pm
Filed under: Asia, China, Development, Europe, United States

This is a pretty powerful video interview with a graphic designer named Aaron Draplin. Draplin laments the destruction of a vintage 1960s motel billboard and its replacement with a nondescript computer-generated piece of junk. “This is why America is f***ed,” Draplin says.

I think about this stuff every day — probably every hour — in Hanoi. About two years ago I started to get the feeling that there simply isn’t anywhere in the world apart from Europe and a few scattered sections of the US that does historical preservation right, or thinks it valuable. It’s a European cultural trait, an inheritance of Romanticism. In Vietnam and China, in all likelihood, there’ll be nothing left of the historical country in a couple of decades; most of it will be indistinguishable from a mediocre shopping mall in Singapore, at best.

Weirdly, though, Japan seems to be great at historical preservation. Perhaps because they industrialized earlier and slower, and had more time to think these issues through?


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