Thursday, December 06, 2007

Robert Hawkins And The Perils Of the Shopping Mall

The old fashioned "Main Street" was an open-ended public space. People did not congregate in any number, but spread out along the sidewalks, or were inside the multitude of small shops that comprised the commercial area. In part a desire for totalitarian control, the corporations that promoted and developed shopping malls eliminated public space and herded the onetime citizens, now consumers, under one roof. By corporatizing what was once public space, the developers sought complete control - no more undesirables - like buskers, pan handlers, street sellers, propagandists for this and that cause, or even people whose attire (protest tee shirts) was offensive to the authoritarian mentality. (1) A happy-face little white bread world now coming apart through the actions of a single deranged young man.

What surprises me, is not that someone went berserk with a gun in a mall, but that it didn't happen sooner. Herd masses of people together under one roof and they become sitting ducks for anyone with a real or imagined grievance against the world. The authoritarian need to centralize everything into vast agglomerations, instead of maintaining natural, human-scale, decentralized units, not only destroys community, but is also physically dangerous. Time to abandon the malls and go back to Main Street!

1. Not to mention that all business are now rent slaves and no one lives in/above their shop in a mall. The corporations have thus ratcheted up their control of small, independent business through the invention of the shopping mall.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Renegade Eye said...

There was a shooting once at the amusement park in the Mall of America.

At my blog you sparked a funny surrealism discussion.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Graeme said...

I have been to both the Mall of America and the big ass mall in Edmonton. In my defense, I was young during both visits.

Driving to work on "black friday" (any idea why it is called that?) was disgusting. People hauling around bag after bag of shit they don't need.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Venus Cassandra said...

Thanks for this post! Larry. It reminds why I lean more towards mutualism than anarcho-capitalism.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Zhu said...

I'm not a big fan of shopping mall... there are so cold, I'd rather freeze my butt for real walking downtown Ottawa in small shops.

Parking lots are like hell. I usually don't go any further.

7:38 PM  

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