Criticism. Essay. Fiction. Science. Weather.
Remember those coins
that were being issued to commemorate the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center? Remember being disgusted by the egregious exploitation of tragedy? Well, that was child's play, a meek attempt to capitalize on the emotions of gullible home-shoppers who believed their investment in history would appreciate. With the natural procession of time, child's play has grown into the war games of men. Whereas once melted metal from the stores of bullion beneath the Twin Towers was cast into commemorative coins, now the steel from the structures' girders is being used to create a war ship
. What's more, journalists have eagerly championed the site
of this ship's construction -- on the banks of the Mississippi, an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina -- as fitting, due to its own now reverenced history of calamity.
And thus profiteering has given way to propagandizing
What should disturb anyone who hears of this project are the unquestioning accolades bestowed upon it, and the naïve conflation of two entirely unrelated events. This vehicle of violence has been likened to the resurrected phoenix
of myth, a positive symbol of life rising from the ashes of death. But is a war ship really representative of life? I should hardly think so. Instead, it is an emblem of bellicosity, explicitly sanctioning a combative response to disaster, both natural and man made. Forget the natural resources and energy wasted in transporting this metal to Mississippi when there's plenty of local steel to go around. What should offend us the most is the message conveyed by this warship, that destruction can only be rectified by further destruction
, that the value of lives lost can be gained through hunting down more lives.
But, hey, it'd just be ridiculous to use that metal in constructing a hurricane relief center, wouldn't it?
The main problem with our society is that new ideas are greeted with much the same enthusiasm as finding a cat turd in a plate of spaghetti; unless the concept involves wearing the bra on the outside of the shirt or jumping off of a bridge while attached to a giant rubber band
. Of course, the inherent value of those two ideas is obvious; however, it would behoove the public to take a second look at unusual solutions to important problems.
Take air pollution, for example. I'd been working on the problem for quite some time when it occurred to me that I was going about it backwards. When ten thousand people go to a mall
every day, it is not feasible to put them all on a bus, train, or fuel-efficient cars. The opinion of the general public is that losers ride the bus, commuters ride the train, and hippies/unwed mothers drive fuel-efficient cars. Unlike most popular opinion, this is pretty much accurate. And, because people resist change, we must think outside
What if the mall came to the people? There are already bookmobiles and ice cream wagons. We'd simply have to think on a grander scale. We have the technology to build a vehicle capable of transporting a Saturn V rocket
; we certainly
have the technology to create a vehicle capable of carrying fifty or more stores and a Ruby Tuesdays (required by law, apparently). Imagine a twenty-four hour mall that slowly rumbles into your neighborhood one day a week. It would be like the old fruit vendors or fish mongers, only these mobile structures would not sell fruit or unprocessed fish; moreover, they would be the size of three football fields.
How would this abomination find a place to park? That is the beauty of it: It would never stop moving. At two or three miles an hour, one could simply jump onto the mall, shop, and jump off again only a mile or so from where you originally boarded. If you decide to sit down and eat, the extra walking that would entail would work off the calories that you've ingested. If you want to see a movie... you might want to take a bus, train, or a fuel-efficient car...
This idea has been rejected by practically everyone that has expressed an opinion on it... probably due to the high startup costs involved or to the fact that I usually describe the idea while waving a makeshift swastika made out of dead puppies.
Or, could it be that people aren't as capitalistic as they claim. It's one thing to be a proponent of laissez faire capitalism
, but it's a true
capitalist who advocates letting the financial institutions roam the country freely
, come to your very neighborhood, block your driveway and run over your pets and loved ones. We, as a country, need to open our minds to a new concept... a synthesis of economics and environmentalism: