That Place: Mall of the World


So I’m back in the homeland again, and I have to say, it’s probably in the most sad state I’ve ever seen. Previously, I really took US culture and society to task about being insular, yet in this post-GFC world, the core of that insularity is coming to the forefront. That insularity has been masking the fact that it is quite frankly shit-scared about the future.

I’m typing this from New York City, my old home. Manhattan has been turned into a massive mall for ubiquitous chain stores from around the world, shilling products designed from all over, but pretty much all made in Bangladesh, China, and Vietnam, and trading in an ever decreasing-in-value US dollar.

It may seem strange to non-Americans (and some Americans), but what I think America is leaning towards becoming is a basically a trading post: a consumerist society which produces little on a mass scale, but believes that spending is a national duty. Reliant upon its prestigious past, America is pretty much up for sale, and countries and overseas companies are fully aware of it–even if the local populace isn’t. An example: China’s state run Xinhua News Agency has a prominent billboard in Times Square. Times Square itself means nothing to the locals, but a hell of a lot to non-New York Area residents.

We used to be encouraged to buy American, now, we’re just encouraged to buy…regardless. Many Americans wouldn’t find it ironic that Walmart is doing gangbusters with a line of “Sorry you lost your job” cards. However, I think that perfectly symbolises America in 2011.


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