Monday, September 15, 2008
Sewage treatment, 2008.
When I was a kid growing up there was a hardware store in my neighborhood that had just about everything. Barrels of different kinds of nails, screw, bolts, sprays, filters, lumber, tools of every description and some you probably could never describe. It was staffed by about a dozen men, some who had been there for ages, some who were relatively new, who knew where everything was and what everything was used for.
There was also a drug store in my neighborhood that had the same basic zeitgeist. Anything you needed, they pretty much had. And they knew where to find it. And they would help you. And they were friendly.
Now stores like those are essentially gone. Replaced by bland megaliths that seldom have the things you need (unless your needs run to bland and megalithic) and where the staff knows nothing--not the whereabouts of what you're looking for or what those things do or how they can help you. Simply put, they don't care and they don't serve you. What's more they follow a strict corporate orthodoxy that insists they repel every request that is not one of the four or so they know how to handle.
I thought about this last night as I was thinking about the people running for the highest offices in America. Utility, experience, knowledge, character (ok, along with some moldiness) have been replaced by fluorescent beige.
The label on one candidate essentially reads: "Now with 20% more war hero." On another, there's a starburst that screams "With the Fresh Scent of Vision!" On yet another candidate there's a blurb that reads "recommended by the AEA--American Evangelical Association. 100% Evolution free!" And on another there's an ingredients box that delineates his many attributes, the recommended daily allowance of: "grey hair, outside the beltway insiderness, and wizened wiseness."
These people, pure and simple, are products like cheese whiz, wonder bread and (in the case of Palin) hot pockets. Tasteless, nutritionally void concoctions designed to appeal to, in Mencken's epithet, the Boobocracy. They require no effort on the consumers' part. They are pre-processed, supposedly easy to digest, and slippery enough so that they pass through your system and into a sewage treatment plant in a poor neighborhood for more processing where they become the non-biodegradable effluvia that cancers our world.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 8:31 AM