The Rise Of The Creative Class Revisited, by Richard Florida
Given that I was not a big fan of the original version of this book, was the revised and updated version of it any better? I’m not sure, the revised book is longer, with more statistics (which are still as skewed and tautological as the previous edition’s ones), and it offers more of the author’s open but not good agenda, but I must admit I found myself enjoying this book more than the original. What makes this book a little more enjoyable is that not only does the author double down on some of his insights (and less than insightful thoughts) but that he also tries to address some of his haters (of whom I suppose I count myself one) and generally epically misses the point of their frequently just criticisms. The thin-skinned nature of the author is truly something that must be read to be believed, even if one has a low tolerance for the sort of advertising of the author’s other books that he engages in in an effort to view himself as some sort of expert in the subject of the supposed creative classes while simultaneously defending the creativity of everyone.
This book is more than 400 pages in length and is divided into five parts and eighteen chapters along with other material. The volume includes two prefaces, the original one as well as the author’s new preface where he pats himself on the back for being so smart before. The author then introduces the supposed transformation of everyday life by creative professions (1) and talks about the creative economy (2) and creative class (3) as harbingers of a creative age. There are three chapters that look at work through discussing the hair salon and the machine shop (4), the brave new workplace (5) and white collar professions (6). After that there are discussions of contemporary (7) experiential (8) life among the author’s hipster audience (9). After this the author discusses various aspects of hipster community, including the geography of place (10), class (11), the three t’s of economic development (12), aspects of global reach (13), quality of place (14), and the building of the creative community (15). Finally, the author examines some contradictions in the geography of inequality (16), and the increasing significance of class in the contemporary world (17), gives a conclusion on every human being being creative (18), and providing an appendix with a lot of charts, notes, acknowledgments, and an index as well.
There is no question that the author has an agenda and that it is not a secret. There is also no secret that the author has a strong degree of support for the sort of protest politics that are on the far left that has become increasingly important on the fringes (and even the mainstream) of the Democratic party. The author’s open partisan support of gay and bohemian culture and his political support of leftist causes in general is enough to openly despise this author’s way of thinking. Even so, there are at least two areas that the author has not really fully examined here that are worth pondering by at least more critical readers, and that is the close connection that exists between this author’s conception of the creative classes and the view of other contemporary leftists and anarchists of bulls*** jobs, as there is a high degree of overlap here. Beyond that, though, the author and many others of his ilk find themselves in a strange place where they praise the tolerance of leftist technology companies based mostly in the more leftist parts of the United States–college towns, government centers, cultural centers–even as this tolerance increasingly does not include tolerance for godly beliefs and religious practices. In other words, like so many other people who fancy themselves to be tolerant, the author speaks with a forked tongue and has failed to see the crisis of the intolerant tech left that threatens to delegitimize the whole creative culture that the author wishes to promote so strongly.