Written eons ago for a grad class..The assignment…go to the mall..observe…write on the “Malling of America”
As I stand observing the myriad of mannequins robotically moving through the mall I can see the “Malling of America,” according to Kowinski, being choreographed. The mesmerizing mosaic visions and Mall-binding merchandising of science fiction mention in the article are paraphernalia are animated in my mind. The Mall mesmerizes me. I can see how we all as consumers are consumed, as Kowinski argues, by the ‘fortress of entertainment that is the mall.”
How can I take a critical step back from the theatre of consumerism? Is it really possible? .Starbucks is calling me and look, Gap is having a sale, and wait I really need a new handbag.. Kowinski explains that the mall has everything and from what I can tell it does. How can I escape from everything and write from an academic perspective without being consumed?
It seems though that humankind has been searching for everything forever and so if the mall gives to us zombie shoppers a sense of “everything” then maybe the mall does becomes the second opinion of the masses or the second garden of Eden. How can I critically escape from Paradise without being lost or taking a bite of the forbidden fruit, or at least purchasing those sweet Jimmy Choo shoes.
I have no doubt that I can be consumed by consuming as I watch the night of the living dead play out before me. As I watch the unfolding chaos I find a comforting hypnotic way of being and the bewitching power of consumerism casts its spell over me. I struggle to focus and become again a critical observer. Maybe the mall is a form of escapism.
Rothstein seems to argue that escape from anywhere is not possible as we have nothing to escape from because in a post modern environment we are connected to nothing. Rothstein argues that our trends come and go so fast that there is nothing we can stick to and that there is nothing traditional to shape or guide our lives. In this sense as a consumer I am become just a random shape shifter that does not remember what it was, what I was last consumed by or what it will be that consumes me next.
As I stand back and observe I can’t help but feel that as consumers we are consumed, simultaneously, by our history and by our future and mall illuminates every dimension of whom we were and who we are. The mall identifies to the critical observer that we are constantly consumed by change; changes from both the past and the presence. The Zeitgeist consumes us as we consume the Zeitgeist T S Elliot’s presence of the past is perpetually swirling around our minds as we are consumed within the fortress of entertainment.
“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present”