Conspicuous Consumption

Working in a mall store has caused the scales to be removed from my eyes. The state of civilization in America has deteriorated to degrees I never imagined in my safe little ivory tower of public, not-for-profit service.
Item the first:

The posture of American youth is appalling. I have never been exposed to such slouching and round shoulders, ever. I spend my days wanting to shout "Stand up straight!" at ten minute intervals. These teen-aged girls have dowager's humps and they have barely hit puberty. They hold their necks extended, leading with their chins, and their shoulders curve around as if to meet in the center of their clavicles. It's just not healthy, but then

Item the second:

Neither is their weight. And let me tell you, I can see every ounce of extra fat rolling over their low-slung jeans, extruding out from under their cropped tops, and oozing out of their decolletage. In my day (which is to say, the sixties) not a one of those girls would ever have gotten laid, or even let out of the house with so much fat showing. And, as in primitive societies where fat is counted as a display of wealth, so it seems to me in America. These girls are blissfully unaware that a pouchy stomach, or a pair of love handles are not attractive. They parade this avoirdupois with pride. Or at least as much pride as their slumped shoulders and pigeon necks can portray.

Item the third:

Money is no object in appeasing our children. I sell, among other things, the best toy in the world: i-pods. I say they are toys because the majority of purchasers are mothers of young, nay, very young, children, and they are not buying them for their own use. They are buying $200 electronic devices for their eight-year-olds. I suggest to them that a shuffle, with no moving parts, half the cost and a storage capacity of 120 songs might be sufficient for the little darlings, but no. These mothers and grandmothers want the real deal. Just a question, but wouldn't you be better off spending that money on, say, summer camp, where the children would be out of doors, learning to oh, ride horses, or play soccer, or any other activity requiring physical movement and interaction with other children?

And why does every little monster who comes in have a cell phone clutched in their sticky little mitt? What about personal supervision in person? Not that that seems to matter because we have

Item the fourth:

A small boy, with his mother at the local grocery store. He is wearing a full Darth Vader helmet. It contains electronics to make his voice sound like the filtered basso profundo of James Earl Jones. Not to dwell on the price of such an object, or the appropriateness of letting your child wear such a thing in public, um.... if you are going to encourage your child's imagination in emulating a movie character, shouldn't you be guiding him (or her) towards the HERO? and not the slayer of innocents? Darth Vader, in case you've been living under a rock for the past thirty years, is the Bad Guy. The Very Bad Guy. Just because he repents in the third act, and kills the Emperor, he's still had a long run of being the most evil creation in the whole Star Wars saga. So, here's the question: Why would you want your six-year-old to pretend to be him? And not just pretend with a stick and a pillow case, but with very expensive, electronic toys that you had to purchase to enable him?


We are a nation of instantly gratified swine. We don't teach our young manners, clothing sense, correct posture, or the value of money. Our youth are indolent, arrogant and spoiled. And then we wonder why.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/02 at 01:08 PM in As I See It Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/02 at 01:08 PM in What the Fuck is Wrong With You People

(3) Comments
#1. Posted by MM on June 03, 2005

Well you’re on it now aren’t ‘cha girlfriend. Sad isn’t it? And to think, our mothers said similar things I’ll bet. The examples they used to teach us seem to have proliferated vigorously don’t cha think.

#2. Posted by George of Tennessee on June 07, 2005

The sample you’ve taken is hardly random, y’know. Back in the day, it took me most of an hour to get to the MALL, down in West Palm, and I saw the ‘60s and ‘70s versions of mall rats then.

Don’t despair! There are more kids NOT in the mall than in it! Get a job as a guide on the Loxahatchee and you’ll see a different sample.

But that Darth Vader thing, yeah. They should all wear Yoda hats. -G

#3. Posted by Jodi on June 12, 2005

I haven’t been reading any “blogs” at ALL lately, with the exception of one or two of people with whom I am “real life” friends.  On a whim, I visited Reecie’s today, which of course led me to you.  (For some reason, I always think of you two in tandem.)  And oh, how happy I am to be here.  This post alone makes me realize how much I’ve missed reading your stuff.  And now I will be adding you to the VERY SHORT LIST of “blogs” I still read.

I could go on and on about the stuff you wrote about here, but you said it all so very very well!  No need for my “two cents” or $200 or whatever.

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