Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mayhem at the Mall / with Muzak

Discerning observers of American culture, or more accurately the bizarre mutation American culture is in the process of degenerating into, cannot but be aware of the recent surge in what the media calls "yet another shooting incident at the mall".  One a week, always at a different mall, seems to be the norm, and taking into account that there are like a billion malls in the U.S., this trend is likely to continue for quite some time - assuming the rules continue to apply, one attack per week, no mall can be hit more than once,  approximately 20, 000 000 years.

Meanwhile, who even knew there were rules about this? Is there perhaps an online handbook?
Procedures and Restrictions for Random Gun Violence at American Malls

At first glance it seems logical:  heavily armed psychopath with vague grudge and major Mommy/Daddy issues seeks large audience in confined space upon which to inflict his special brand of insanity. Except it's no longer particularly special. You might think that the would-be maniac murderer with even a smidgen of intelligence could figure out that the whole mall thing is already passe, that he is merely enabling at this point the perpetuation of a fairly blatant cliche.  Ho-hum.  Not much glamour in that.

Or is there perhaps more going on here....

Are Malls Natural Magnets For Monsters?

Malls burst onto the American landscape in the early 60's, at a time when, counterculture hijinks notwithstanding, Big Business was working out the details of what has been referred to as the 'commodification'  of the American psyche; basically turning all aspects of life into a product and reducing one's existential choices to the bare minimum: consume or be consumed.

"The real world - assuming such a thing ever existed - was subtly manipulated in a simulation of the real, in which all priorities were preordained, one's presumed needs could be readily met and the natural inclination to question was subsumed in a never-ending deluge of eye-catching gadgetry."

Of course, back in the good old days of blissful consumerism, the only monsters in malls were zombies, and then mostly in the movies. The modern descendants of these undead mall trawlers tend to be living, large and overweight, plodding through malls the size of small cities, with brain-cell-destroying music humming in their heads, eyes fixed on the next big, juicy sale. Instead of feeding on each other, they feast on fast food while buying all the useless (though apparently essential) junk they can carry.

Let's face it, even without lurking lunatic killers, malls are scary places.

And yet, despite the ongoing spate of 'shooting incidents' people continue flocking to the malls.

This can perhaps be explained as a function of the rapidly shrinking attention span of the general public, combined with a chronic deterioration of short and long-term memory.
  A young woman questioned outside a mall immediately after 'yet another incident' told her interviewer,    "Like I could never imagine nothing like this ever happening here."

(in case you're wondering, the interviewer did not point out the obvious no-no of the double negative)

Or it might be that people, sensing the slow-motion demise of their consumptive souls, actively seek out these danger sites, willing to risk death in a effort to feel ... something ... anything, really.

 And how long before the malls pick up on this trend, sniff out a new source of potential profit?

Today Only!
Between 10 A.M. and 12 Noon, Psycho Shooter on premises
Come early for a good hiding place
Survivors of the impending carnage entitled to a 5% discount on all subsequent purchases

Fortunately (or not) for the rest of us, the news media never tires of these events, managing each time to achieve unprecedented levels of near-hysterical fervor in their reporting. CNN apparently has a team of roving correspondents capable, in theory at least, of getting to any major mall within five minutes after the shooting starts.
At which point the interviewing begins.

CNN:  So you heard the shots.
Slightly Addled Eyewitness:  Uh, yeah, I guess.
CNN: What did you think?
S.A.E:  Like I thought it was you know like a joke. Like maybe kids playing with guns.

CNN: Is there a large law enforcement presence?
S.A.E. 2:  A what?
CNN:  How many police do you see?
S.A.E. 2:  Oh yeah, there's like a million cops. And a helicopter too, up in the air, like flying around. 

So what may be glean from all this?

1) People who frequent malls are generally not very bright.

2) More importantly, it turns out that the Mega-malls of the modern era are the near perfect venues for Americans to indulge in their two favorite pastimes:   Shopping & Shooting. 

Good morning, shoppers
Incidents of psycho-shooters terrorizing malls have reached near-epidemic proportions
Should you have to suffer the anxiety of wondering if you'll be the next random victim?
Why not purchase a handgun, shotgun or semi-automatic rifle today at one of our mall gun shops?
The first one hundred rounds are free!
You owe it to yourself and your family.
Gain some peace of mind.  Shop armed!