Uniqueness of Place against Global Capitalism
I chose the Marshall Field Clock on State Street here in Chicago to illustrate Sameness and Global Capitalism. On September 6th Marshall Fields will be no more and Macy's of New York will do only what RH Macy dreamed of doing his name will sit upon Marshall Field's grand store.
This story of the end of a great Department Store may seem silly to illustrate what is happening around the world but I think that it is the best example of the virus of sameness and homogeneity that is making the world less interesting and more oppressive.
What makes living worthwhile is not easy money or free trade or free sex what makes life worth-while is difference. As this virus of sameness seeps across our world differences become less pronounced and it is this smoothing that threatens what makes us human. We are not all the same. Anyone who argues this is a fool. People love their differences.
What could be better than going to a place say Italy and eating local food, made in a local way by local hands?
The simple pleasure of difference is being destroyed. I don't want my Chicago accent to be the same as a New Yorker's accent. I don't want China to feel like Dallas, Texas and I don't want the drive thru to be the coin of the realm.
Difference is what makes life worthwhile. I like to be in places where I know where I am. I can feel that I am not somewhere else. Places have smells and tastes and feelings and when things are homogeneous people's souls are removed. So the fact that a store founded by a man, Marshall Field, who regularly threw out my ancestors from their stores because they were inferior - is another blow for sameness and the praise of the ordinary. You should not be able to get Chicago Pizza in New York or New York Bagels in Chicago or Texas Barbeque in Maine!
Chicago is the last of the great American cities because of the love of honest plunder-
Norman Mailer said this. But I see so many of Chicago's unique faces being boiled away like the fat from a hogs skin. Everytime I see a local tradition or way of life in another part of the world give way to a homogeneous world I see a small death.
So as I go out today into the world I will consciously look for the unique and will reject the mass the ordinary the standardized and revel in what makes places unique and I will vomit the homogeneous out of my mouth.