Sunday, January 25, 2009

Corporate cannibalism

I was recently asked to share the 4th picture from the 4th folder in which I keep photographs in. I wasn't all that impressed with the photo, as it is not a particularly good picture:

However, after spending a few minutes with it, I appreciate the symbolism. Here you have one of Coney Island landmarks, the parachute jump, which has been standing in Brooklyn since 1941. The photograph was taken in a moving vehicle, and the parachute jump is about to go "off screen." Meanwhile, you have a large billboard prominently placed in the middle of the picture, advertising Starbucks and Linens N Things. It is representative, in a way, of the current redevelopment of Coney Island that will not be completed until at least 2011, and will basically make Coney Island an outdoor mall.

Manhattan is already losing its charm and personality to mega-stores and chain retailers, so it's no surprise that it's spread to Brooklyn. Bensonhurt's historic buildings are being torn down and replaced with the kind of bland apartment buildings that show the mentality of real estate developers everywhere - replace individuality with efficiency.

Eliminating individuality is the hallmark of all corporations and business interests. Convince people that they can fulfill their desires and interests with the same spinach dip appetizer or the same pair of jeans or the same SUV and every man, woman and child from Nebraska to New York, Kentucky to California, Georgia to Texas will gladly fork over their dollars for the same generic crap sold in identical buildings from sea to shining sea. This takes away the need to cater to specific tastes, to customize for each unique person, to modify based on personal preference. Your personal preference is what is offered to you, end of story. You don't like that, you're shit out of luck.

There is always the illusion of choice, which makes you think you are in control. You can get that purse in three different colors, or buy that jacket with suede instead of fur. You can refashion any part of your new construction house, as long as its offered in the catalog. Want a leather interior in your new car? No sweat, it's available in tan and black. Want red leather? I'm sorry, sir, that's not available with this model, but won't you try our free subscription to Sirius-XM radio? It offers you unlimited choices for radio, presuming you like the options available to you.


Anonymous said...
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Gorilla Bananas said...

I believe you can buy custom made goods, even in the USA, but it costs a lot more of course. Ms Redhead's husband makes handmade furniture.

ChrisV82 said...

Sweet Cheeks, the parachute jump represents when you have to climb out the window before the other person's parents get home!

Of course, I think we're all a little old for that, but we can be nostalgic.

GB - It's worth it to pay the extra money for quality. It'll last longer, and you know it wasn't made by some toddler in a sweat shop.

Although I do enjoy child labor...