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    "The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts" ~ George Orwell





    "An effective way to deal with predators is to taste terrible." ~ Unknown

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    Saturday, October 02, 2004

    Fertilizing the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots, tyrants and...consumers?


    This story made me think that the Middle East is a tad anxious for Westernization.

    It made me think of the great consumer stampedes I have taken part in. There was the the Great Cabbage Patch Rush of 1984. I raced 30 or so parents to aisle 15 (15, 16-whatever it takes) at Children's Palace while (I think) my mom cherry picked at the checkout line, waiting smugly for our plan to work. And it did. There were moments that put fear in to me though. Every step was a direct challenge to the adults around me to prioritize their children's Christmas over my personal safety. I had no ego to worry about though, and so by aisle 6 was full-striding way out in front of the pack. There was intensity and focus in this bunch, but they were restrained...like a kid at a breakneck walk along the side of a pool - told enough times not to run and trying not to, but still somewhat a slave to the urge. That was the parents. Their pride was a little lifeguard in their head sternly admonishing them: "Waaaaaaaalk!" Not me; I had been told to run.

    I remember racing more kids during the Nintendo Shortages in '85. That seemed a little less dangerous in some ways, but the competition was a lot more fierce. The Running of the Bullies. To be honest, the memories I have of this are pretty washed out. I was not there to observe social behavior of mobs. I was there to get my stuff. Come to think of it, if there had been anyone trampled I sure wouldn't have known.

    And probably the most dangerous was a concert I went to. I was there at the front of the gates before they opened. A big chain link fence gate. And not just 50 or so people behind me, ready to be let in all at once for a free-for-all race to open seating. Several thousand. And not just nerdy 11 year-olds and suburban parents. Drunk and drugged up metalheads who really identified with album titles like "Apetite for Destruction" and "Kill 'em All". These were seasoned stampeders, toughened by mosh pits and fights with their parents, who were not there to remind them to "Waaaaaaaalk". I survived and took third row center. Again, I have no idea if anyone was killed. There were moments when I was pinned so tightly against the chain link fence though, that I thought I might not just be killed but also squished through it like Play-doh through a Play-doh Pasta Factory.

    So I can relate a little to the excitement that boiled over in Saudi Arabia over Swedish home fashion. I understand. When more people want x than there are x to be had, competition for x increases. It is just as strange to have x be "a doll that can be adopted" as it is to set the value of x to "stylish funiture" or "dishes in lively colors". But I fear what will happen if mosh pits catch on over there. That's all I'm sayin.


    posted by M@ at 5:29 PM   0 comments links to this post

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