Went to an exhibition about the countryside that felt like walking into a Wikipedia entry written under the influence of heavy-duty stimulants. A robotic Josef Stalin meandered through the gallery, a reminder that nothing matters anymore. The paranoia of arch-conservatives mingled with snapshots of Slab City, Arcosanti, the Shakers, Buckminster Fuller’s utopian dreams, Black Bear Ranch, and the Garden of 1000 Buddhas. The walls said things meant to be taken seriously: Expensive minimalism cannot save authenticity. And: Rigidity enables frivolity. My favorite, written on the floor: Things? Space? Things in space?

Although it’s easy to dismiss this exhibit as the self-aggrandizing mood board of an architect in his twilight, this garbled portrait of rural life does capture the current mood: “The village is becoming the voice of reason.” Because what’s the alternative? Our cities have become homogenous, humiliating, and financially untenable—unless you can land a job that consists of writing emails, rearranging pixels, or trolling for clicks. Meanwhile, the New York Times is running articles about something called “cottagecore.” My fantasies about retiring in a double-wide somewhere in the Mojave are burning brighter than ever.