Sunday, August 16, 2009

Site Review

I apologize for interrupting my philosophico-historico-politico-misanthropy about rurality and orality, but for once I'm going to write a blog entry like everyone else's blog entry. I'm going to write about something I did. I hope you'll all forgive me.

I ain't telling where I found that scene, because I ain't writing about that place. Instead, I want to offer a site review. Before we were all addicted to "microblogging" (as if blogging weren't already a miniaturized form of expression), people used to offer up reviews of websites. Before that, we used to write reviews of restaurants and stores and things -- reviews of places. That's what this is.

In NYC, a popular bit of graffiti was, "Pray for Pills." Well, let us take time to at least hope for Xanax. I went to Best Buy yesterday.

I went to Taulkinham, because I had me some things I needed to do. That's a 100 mi., 2 hr trip, but it's the nearest non-Wal*Mart shopping to me. While there, I visited Sabbath Lily, and Old Navy and Barnes Ignoble, as well as a mall-bounded Earth Bound Trading Company (where one can buy the religious objects of all sorts of exotic cultures and put your weed in them). When I left the behemoth mall, I thought that I would look at the world of appliances and noisy electrical gadgets at Best Buy. Like going to see a "Brokeback Mountain"/ "Time Traveler's Wife"/ "Julie and Julia" triple feature, I wish I hadn't gone. (Scenery is not a character. Trying to come up with ways to keep the man and woman apart so as to prevent having to explain romance's endurance is not interesting. Julia Child is fascinating; bloggers should do something half so interesting before they get to be part of the story.)

Best Buy has always been the place to find out what our corporate overlords want our future to be. They declare that they sell "what's hot," but, of course, they do no such thing. They, in fact,
participate very, very actively in creating demand. Ever since they went with an all-Windows/no OS/2 software policy, in order to get synergy with Microsoft, Best Buy has been a "synergy" kind of place.

Disney coined the term "imagineer." I have a new term: imaginerr. An imaginerr is a person who imagines a future that will generate maximum profit, and then shapes the consumer to fit the product. It is a person who designs people rather than entertainment. The Disney folks were evil for creating tinfoil simulacra and then saying, "This is American history." They Bowdlerized and forced narrative frames onto reality and sold the result as reality. That was and remains plenty bad, but in boardrooms of MBA's right now, marketeers (like mousketeers, but without the charm) are designing you.

Best Buy have been in bed with the imaginerrs of our future. They don't sell 3G phones before they're popular because 3G is hot: they sell them to make 3G ubiquitous and then to become the "the place for 3G." They have a long, long history of moving exclusively toward whatever product line or product type the major corporations are planning to shove us toward.

If you go to the Best Buy, be prepared to read the future. The subtext of their sales floor is what the goobers and yaboes of next year will be. They will show you tomorrow's yawning maw. When I went yesterday, the subtext was not below the line at all. It was bold, and it said: THE TELEVISION IS YOUR DEITY. Your television will eat your computer, your telephone, your games, your stereo, and everything else. You must serve your television, because your television will be the SOLE "entertainment module" in your home.

Everything, and I mean every damn thing, plugs into the television or the iPod. Their computer selection is off to the side, but those they have boast of their media server readiness. Their stereo equipment has ceased to exist, except in the form of A/V componentry that plugs into your television. Stereo speakers are ALL for your television, to provide the greatest Sens-o-round experience in Doubly 5.2 Direct X. Telephones are for video and send to your video server. Their DVD's are almost all Blu-ray now. Even small stereos were not to be found, as they were all extensions of iPods.

I looked for a CD player and some bookshelf speakers. Alas, fool that I am, I should have stayed in my cave. CD players are not good. Now, mp3 players rule. The irony that mp3, which was a compression method designed to allow us computer nerds to back up our higher fidelity .au files, has replaced the .au file because of the sheer gluttony of the idiocracy is only painful if you think. You see, the iPod/mp3 player is "better" than the CD player, because "you can get, like, thousands of songs on there." They sound like junk, but, when you listen on a 0.25" cell phone speaker, subtlety isn't your game to begin with. Speakers? Sure. Center channel, or satellite, or subwoofer? Is it for behind my television or beside my television?

The store was loud, extremely.

The blue golf shirts were following me around (they may have been people, but I'm not sure).

The customers, though, were that added element that made the soup's bilious toxins really pop. They were a mixture of extras from Axe body spray and Mountain Dew commercials, with some Ford Truck background extras woven between them, wallets extended like offerings to pagan gods. In the parking lot, these animated rag dolls were trying out the latest moves they'd learned on Grand Theft Auto or auditioning for MTV Rims, or whatever it's called.

Walking into the store was an insult. Looking at the merchandise was a confirmation that the corporations of the world want me to suffer needlessly for their amusement. Walking out was like surfacing after being held underwater by a bully.

So, do I want to go look at electronics again? The web is safer, closer, and, fortunately, devoid of people.

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