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Entries in wal mart (4)

Monday
Jan122009

Boycott Progress

If memory serves me correctly, it has been 20 years now since I intentionally patronized a McDonald's food-selling establishment. I forgot the date but I remember it was sometime in January 1989 when I last went. Since then, the only times I have eaten their stuff has been the handful of times that I was doing gigs and someone would be going out for the food and that was all that was on offer for the day. Or there were similar times when I would be on a roadtrip or tour and the truck was only going to make one stop for 300 miles. Aside from that, my record has been impeccable and I have withheld my presence from their establishments.

ed flipping the bird to a wal mart truck on the freewayI have stayed out of WalMart for many years too. The last time I bought something there was in early 2002 when I needed to get a pack of video tape. And prior to that, there were hardly any trips to the Evil Empire. The time before that comes to mind was in late 1996 when I was on tour with Mike Keneally and the band had to stop in Joliet, Illinois for some soap or something. And that was my entire Wal Mart shopping experience.

Tuesday
Jul272004

Signs, Signs...

In San Diego, we have this battle that has been going on for a decade and a half. It concerns the rather large cross placed on the most prominant hill in the city. It has been there in a few forms since the 20s, which in SD is a long time—long enough to have achieved landmark status. Some athiest dude decided it was offensive and blurred the line between church and state. Fine. It is a cross on public display. So the city tried a few ways to offload it. I believe they sold it to the same organization that already had put it there, but went ahead and made it into a Korean War vets memorial. Then some went on to claim that that was corrupt too. Not because of the memorial, but because the city profitted on a sale that ultimately allowed the thing to remain standing, which of course, made it seem like even more unfair. So, now there is yet another round of battles going on. Some still want it taken down, some say that as a Christian symbol, it doesn't represent the non-Christians in the Korean War.

But what the fuck? It is a San Diego LANDMARK. San Diego is here only because the Catholics set up camp here hundreds of years ago, soon doing the usual program of making the natives conform to their way of life, their religion—all of which relegated the natives to second class citizenship. The name "San Diego" is a church related name, as is any of a number of place names all over California. But there is not a popular movement to change that. Or maybe there are other Christian structures that steal too much thunder from the athiests. Should we remove the Presidio monument from Old Town? Or the San Diego Mission? I don't believe those are too representative of the Jews and Muslims and athiests. I don't see why we can't just leave well enough alone. There are other hills here. If someone wants to erect a Star of David or a Crescent, well, why the hell not? I guess the Jews and Muslims didn't kill enough people to warrant a symbol of their choosing on the local peaks. So should we just err on the safe side and erase anything about our past so that all could feel equal in today's world?

We have already done that.

What people are missing altogether is that there is obscenity and unfairness and divisiveness all up and down every major boulevard and freeway in this town, and every other town in the nation. There are signs and symbols of another religion that I personally object to, and I think maybe I am right to pursue legal action to force change. It would be a miserably failed campaign though.

No one ever talks about the billboards and advertisements that grace benches, bus stops, bus sides, murals, and all the other places that can serve as host for an advertisement. No, the religion of capitalism is alive and well, and the symbols are all around me. Not just perched prominantly on a hill for all to see if one looks in the general direction. Not that at all. No, in every direction I turn, at far more places both high and low, there is the eyesore that is the advertisement for a good or service I don't need or want, all promising a better way of life if I just get on my knees and pray (or open up my wallet and scan my credit card). We are literally pummeled with advertisements hundreds of times a day from the time we wake till bedtime. But there's no outrage at that. In fact, capitalism is the only religion we all practice, like it or not.

I am outraged at the sight of the golden arches, the happy star, the swoosh, the shell & chevron, the bullseye, the "K" (both mart and circle), the ram, the wave, and the colonel. Who do I sue to get that shit off public land, or out of the public eye? Do I need to be a card carrying member of an anti-capitalist organization to carry any weight in this argument? What politician do I vote out of office for letting this happen? If the cross is offensive, and it represents a righteous man who has been dead for two millenia, well, can someone please acknowledge my disgust at the symbols of the new religion that isn't content with one well-placed location for their symbols? There are only three hilltop crosses in the San Diego area. But how many McDogfood's and WalMarts are there? How many ARCOs or Jack In The Boxes? Within about one mile in my home turf of Clairemont, there are two Jack In The Boxes. Within a few steps of each, there are corresponding taco stands named "El Cotixan." I won't knock Cotixan because I dig their chow, and they are only a small chain of five or so in SD only, but you see where I am on this? JIB and El Cotixan, happening twice within about a mile of each other? The JIBs were built in the same summer of 1992. It was not an accidental occurrance. My friend (and drummer on my CD Receiving), Mike Bedard, was a laborer on those crews.

So how does this happen? His people can be real assholes sometimes, but the cross is a symbol of peace and unity and self sacrifice for the greater good (I know, there has been some question about that, but its in the original account. Remember, Jesus wasn't a Christian, nor was he a patriot). So now we, a place that sometimes likes to (errantly) think of itself as a Christian country (bullshit, never was), want to banish a symbol that really only has the power that people let it have over their lives. But on the flip side, we just let corporate interests (who have the REAL power to turn our world into true HELL) march all over us, with their signs and posters, billboards and icons filling every inch in our field of vision day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. No one is here to protest that! On the contrary, we celebrate it and call it "progress" and the sign that everythingisworkingjustfinethankyouverymuch.

Sunday
May162004

Braintoast

English 205 classical argument essay. I have written about eight drafts of this stinking thing, all displaying various aspects of my genius and intellect, but none really nailing it on the head, considering the assignment. It has been quite upsetting to look at all I have done, look at the calendar and see there are only four days left, and then think of nothing but the ongoing computer configurations have been going on for one reason or another (lots to do with a lost password on my new machine).

So my brain is toast. I have lost all objectivity for this paper. I look at it and don't know what I am looking at. Kelli took a stab at it and told me a few things, so I am trying to work some of that in. I have a stack of books here, a mess of newspapers and printouts from collegiate databases, but it all turns to mush when it comes time to incorporate it. I really have written this essay a few times with hardly a need to refer to anything, but the assignment is to have at least 15 references. The topic is energizing enough that I could write the thing in my sleep but I have to conform to this assignment. I think of about two things—this assignment and computer configuring.

Oh, I get dibs on coining the term "Wal-fare" to denote the fact Walmart offers what is basically a welfare wage without the abiding concern and compassion offered by the government. We are becoming a Walfare state.

Monday
May102004

The Joy of Essay Writing

Okay, I have a 3500 word essay due in a week and a half. I sat myself down and started doing it in earnest today, but it is hard as hell to do that when the computer is in a state of change (with me taking hours upon hours to configure it, and this isn't even the new one! Nope this is the older one that just got the OS X treatment and a nice complement of my favorite programs. Yup, I still have the new machine to configure. Part of it is just the task of learning some things about OS X, but certainly pillaging Limewire for all it's worth is time consuming!

But I digress. I meant to tell you about my essay.

I sort of already wrote chunks of it in blogs that you will never see because of some errant finger on a mouse button. The topic is one about America not being too ideal a model for globalization/free trade. I have about 30 articles and books sitting here with tales of corporate corruption, labor abuses, short sighted business aims, and dinosaur-like institutions that do just about everything for us except make us happy citizens. Fast food, record companies, big energy, Wal-Mart... it's all bad news. I mean, bad. And I haven't even mentioned the government's part in things, which primarily is to stand back and call it good, but dressing it all in happy language, calling it "free trade" and "open markets" and shit. Yup, right. Wal-mart is free. Free to exploit, free to plunder, free to utterly destroy communities. Yeah, truth, freedom, justice and the fucking American Way.

Oh, then we have a mad cow out there, but no one can find it, because it and 5000 others are all mixed up at the meat plant so we can eat burgers at McDogfoods. Instead of killing one herd, the whole fucking nation and world needs to get in on the hype and hysteria because one cow ate bad food. Now it will be harder to sell beef or a lot of other products to foreign markets. We've abandoned tried and true practices in agriculture, entertainment, commerce, ethics, family life, politics, and the arts. When our fallacy of greatness is dispelled, we will be more fucked than a Siamese whore.

We are great because of oil. One day we will have to fight for it tooth and nail. Not a lot of our tanks and ships will run without the stuff. Our cars don't seem to be able to yet. All our jet fighters won't fly without the old dinosaur juice. We only really have total air superiority over nations. We certainly don't have what it takes to fight some militia fighters in a desert town. I've heard we have less infantrymen in our army than the NYC police department has officers. Now that Dipshit in the White House went and messed stuff up for us beyond belief, no one trusts us. So where are we gonna put our air forces so we can keep fighting our wars for oil? Turkey didn't want us. A lot of Europe is growing impatient, South Korea isn't too hip on having us. If anything, we will need a lot more oil to fight for oil.

I see idiots in big cars. SUVs are a subset of "big cars." I see joyriders, I see people using cars senselessly. Doesn't anyone realize what a foul thing that is? Owning a car and driving it is one thing, but getting absurdly bad mileage, and driving needlessly (like to the corner store) is just stupid. I mean, what other word applies here? My roommate and my neighbor both get into their trucks to go to a liquor store that is only three blocks away. I just don't have the heart to call them idiots.