How Charles Bronson Is Like Robert Moses

There’s a nice piece over at Design Observer comparing Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson’s character in the 1974 vigilante revenge classic Death Wish) with the controversial American urban planner Robert Moses (who single-handedly reshaped New York, and who is arguably responsible for the car-centric ideology endemic to contemporary American urban planning).

“His methods are visceral and harsh, yet his violence is surgical and ultimately aimed, he imagines, at healing both himself and his city: in order for the larger urban organism to survive, the parasites destroying it must be exterminated. In this Paul is less like [renowned urban theorist] Jane Jacobs and much more like another New York builder, another man of action and practical violence: Robert Moses.”

Besides a formal comparison of these two (in)famous chaps, author Keith Eggener makes some direct connections between architecture and violence, and modern culture’s hunger for quick fixes to complex problems. It’s a good read, and it’s really made me want to rewatch Death Wish.

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