By Dora Apel
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Extra info for Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline
In a reference to Newman’s 1948 article “The Sublime Is Now”), he argues that the continual appearance of the sublime in contemporary art is a kind of haunting that speaks to an overarching modernist trauma defined by imperial instability and precariousness — captured in Marx’s phrase “all that is solid melts into air” — as well as the limits to human power and progress imposed by environmental catastrophe. ”21 Shark horror has been a constant theme in contemporary culture, figuring in the flow of colonialist slave-trading capital in works such as John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark and stories such as Hergé’s Tintin and the 20 • Beautiful Terrible Ruins Red Sea Sharks about smuggling enslaved Africans while on the pilgrimage to Mecca.
7 percent increase on water prices, pushing household bills to almost twice the national average. The abrupt service shutoffs disproportionately affect African Americans in a city with a long history of racial discrimination, and, as activist groups assert, the exorbitant water rates place the burden of the city’s fleeing tax base on the shoulders of its poorest citizens. In the rush to enforce austerity, no payment assistance programs were put in place and publicized before the shutoffs began, and a hastily established program set criteria for assistance Fear and Longing in Detroit • 33 that is difficult for many poor families to meet.
At the same time, the practices of neoliberal capitalism support financial elites on the grounds that banks are “too big to fail” and that the duty of state power is to protect financial institutions at all costs and provide a good business climate. “Only now,” writes social theorist David Harvey, “as the state steps in to bail out the financiers, has it become clear to all that the state and capital are more tightly intertwined than ever, both institutionally and personally. ”4 The effects of neoliberal practices, especially state support of corporations over the poor and working population, are all too evident in Detroit, now the largest municipality in the country to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy (on June 18, 2013).