Fail Log -- Benjamin

I thought I could take Walter Benjamin's unfinished "Arcades Project" and make a contemporary analogue using the notes he left behind. Arcades turned out to be too dense to sustain as a springboard of imagination. Lots of good stuff in there though. He was a digger, a finder of "emblems, ruins, things", undistinguished masses or piles that could later be set in series in order to unfold a trend or movement. Similar to Deleuze's ideas on "egyptology". below is the bit that i got written:

Trader Joe’s is really just a boutique store gone huge. A specialty store that feeds the bourgeoisie. And there is something religious about the way its shoppers venerate its market. My mom might have a fit if she didn’t make it to “TJ’s” every week. Is it the prices? The quality? The atmosphere? The customer service? Where did we start on the path that ended in TJ’s? The French arcades of the 1800’s? The “malls” of the U.S. 1980’s? One has to love the architecture of these stores. Take a warehouse with high ceilings, and fill it with aisles. Then, find similarly indispensible goods, and erect another warehouse to house that store. Then, take this big-box store model and replicate it in every town having more than 200,000 people. Suddenly, TJ’s becomes a destination within a mall that is really a parking lot. I think maybe this started with Costco/BJ’s wholesale stores, and continued with Wal-Mart, before others caught on. Stack it high and watch it fly. Now, Whole Foods is respectable enough for celebrities to shop at, even though it adheres to the same principles as Wal-Mart. And so we have mannequins, moms and dads with clothing from other big-box stores, pushing carts with a zeal not seen since since our parent’s generation. The parent has become the product, the mannequin that is being sold to itself, a self-inflicted case of cannabalism. Our meat and poultry is slaughtered and packaged in assembly line fashion, and we shop with the same sort of need for efficiency, clueless as to how the pigs, sheep, beef, and birds got to those refrigerators, in that packaging. So long as it says TJ’s on the front, our conscience is happy. Government is tied into this circular system of cannibalism. If the consumers don’t consume, the economy grinds to a halt. Two-thirds of all the tax receipts due the government originate in enterprises dedicated to bottom-feeder consumption. We have prettied this pig, the American consumer, beyond all lengths imaginable. There are only so many body parts that can be replaced, augmented, or enhanced, no? Or is there no end to the possibilities of graphic design imagining desires for us, talking oven mitts and giddy cereal leprechauns?

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