Now that the masses have solved the problem of Pleasure, they present the elite elsewhere on the island with the problem of the Masses.
Between the comparatively salubrious islands of Steeplechase and Luna Park is an ever-deteriorating community.
The beach itself has become a last resort for the most hopeless victims of metropolitan life, who buy tickets to Coney with their last few cents and huddle together with the wreckage of their families to wait for the end…staring out over the impassive ocean to the sound of waves crashing on the sand.
The gay battlefield of the Reality Shortage, the entertainment generated in Steeplechase, Luna and Dreamland, inspires loathing. Machines going through the motions of the Tango, a lighthouse that lures innocent ships, the masses racing on steel tracks in the moonlight, electric, phantom cities more beautiful than anything seen before on earth, all seem to announce the imminent usurpation of a civilization that has taken thousands of years to mature.
They are the symptoms of revolution.
The east panics and becomes the headquarters of a belated campaign to rescue the rest of the island, a last-ditch effort at preservation that intensifies in direct proportion to the success of the Parks.
The issues, tactics and proposed solutions anticipate—in naked form —the tortured misunderstandings between official and popular culture, between elitist taste and popular imagination, that are to agonize the coming century. The debate is a dress rehearsal of the arguments respectable culture will mobilize to denigrate its probable replacement: the potentially sublime is criticized for being cheap and unreal.