Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Something else I noticed

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:07 AM Permalink

Being out of the country, even though it was only Canada, upon my return, I was struck by a few things.

First, when we got to the border, the border guard was very stern and cold. "What do you do for a living? And you? Where do you live? Where were you born? Did you buy anything while in Canada? Open your trunk. Open your glove compartment."

He treated us like suspects! Rifled through our stuff, looked at us in an accusatory way. It was demoralizing and demeaning.

Which I suppose is the point. Whether your flying or driving, they want you to feel the pressure of the police state. (Next time, I vow to load up the trunk, then place our dirty underwear everywhere.)

Second thing I noticed was all of the consumerism. (Yes yes. Brace yourself for one of my anti-consumerism tirades.) Canada is not THAT much different than the US, but it is a notch down in intensity. (Though, there was this bit of Montreal that was deplorable. It's an underground shopping mall. It's horrible. It's acres upon acres and you can get lost down there and it's nothing but stores and food courts. Ugh. We couldn't believe that something with the potential to be so cool was so wrecked and useless. But at least the consumer frenzy was hidden. Other than the above-ground Rue St. Catherine, the overwhelming shopping thing wasn't such a big deal.)

So anyway, yesterday, Mr. Vidiot and I had to go into the city for a few things and we're walking around and EVERYONE we saw (and we saw a lot of people, I mean, after the veritable emptiness of Canada, it was a little jarring) was carrying a bag of something they had bought. Some were lugging multiple bags and could barely walk.

Not only that, I never really noticed all the stores and the window designs and the various ways the stores attempt to lure you into them. Visually, it was a mish mosh and the noise, wow. The final straw was when we walked in the mall at Herald Square. Why we did such thing I have no idea, but we literally walked in there, looked around, freaked out at all the shopping and the people and walked out. I couldn't take spending a single minute in there. Then, Mr. Vidiot got the bright idea to walk into the GAP across the street and that's when I started pitching a fit. I couldn't understand how the store was laid out, it was so confusing. On top of that, the men's and women's clothes looked identical to me. I had to leave. Finally, we went down to the subway and we found that all of the gates had been chained closed leaving only two revolving gates. There was a long line to get in and a long line on the other side of people trying to get out. It was a constant battle to see who could grab control of the gate.

AND NOBODY UTTERED A WORD! I mean, people were just going through, battling it out, but quietly, like, whatever, just get through this, get on with my day. Sheep!

I, on the other hand -- already over stimulated by the consumer mayhem -- just lost it. I started to yell at people, I was saying "This is bullshit! What the f-ck! Are they trying to yank our chains? Are they following Orwell's playbook?" I walked off to look for another way in and found none. We would've had to go up the stairs, cross the street, and enter from the other side. I'm sure people thought I was quite mad and Mr. Vidiot was doing his best to calm me, but I'd really had it. Between the shopping drones, the visual and aural over stimulation due to advertising, I was not about to stand for being herded like sheep through a chute. (Oh, and meanwhile, there were two fat cops just standing there, not doing a thing. They could've made themselves useful and directed the people trying to get out to an alternate exit-only turnstyle just a few feet away.)

Yes, I overreact to things. I admit I'm a bit of a drama queen, but sometimes I feel like I have to overcompensate for the LACK of reaction from everybody else.



It's sad and maddening, all at the same time.

Consumerism is a lethal disease alright:
Excerpt: 'Fascism. Communism. Democracy. Religion. But only one has achieved total supremacy. Its compulsive attractions rob its followers of reason and good sense. It has created unsustainable inequalities and threatened to tear apart the very fabric of our society. More powerful than any cause or even religion, it has reached into every corner of the globe. It is consumerism.'
But I'd say it's not only lethal for the planet, but for the human soul as well.

(Go to the bottom of that article for list of resources and ideas on how to get unbitten from the buying bug.)

Alright, sorry. That's my rant for the day.


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