I’ve just finished reading Phil Caputo’s travel book “The Longest Road” for a future review in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and TwoAmericanRoadTrips.com, our web site that will debut soon.
Caputo, typically, had to make his token complaints against “sprawl.” He noted Miami’s “ghastly sprawl” and worried later — despite seeing the vast open spaces of middle America — that his grandchildren were going to inherit a country of sprawling metropolises with nothing in between.
Sprawl — urban or suburban — is one of America’s great evils, at least according to our elite writers and thinkers and worriers. Steinbeck whined about it way back in 1960, when he saw Seattle’s post-WWII growth spurt mowing down trees to build houses for suburban pioneers.
Sprawl is a mythical evil, a bogey man of American life probably invented by the New Yorker magazine that you’re not supposed to think about, just hate.
Here’s my sardonic definition of what sprawl really is, urban or suburban. It’ll be the first entry of my new Politically Incorrect Devil’s Dictionary:
“Sprawl: The unnecessary, cancerous growth of your city’s boundaries created by greedy people you don’t like who had the nerve to build their ugly new neighborhoods, roads and shopping districts on empty farmland after you did.”