The City, Through Open Eyes

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Walking down the streets of this great city, one is bound to stroll by the occasional tourist trap or monument to consumerism- it is inevitable. Entire districts dedicated to the rise and fall of stocks, bonds, and the almighty dollar. Communities built out of our necessity for caffeine and non-filtered reds and greens, the demand for grilled meats and exotic tiki drinks. We look onward in awe over the vast hills and valleys scatter bombed with convenient stores and liquor marts. And while we walk past each forgotten soul, dodge and parry every outstretched hand, and avoid all pools of what we can only hope to be garbage water or urine… we pat each other on the back and congratulate ourselves for living in the best city in the world- as if our desire for artisanal coffee, tight jeans, or an uncanny ability to recall Amazing Spiderman quotations had anything to do with what makes our society great.

People listen to NPR because they feel it adds depth to their personal profile, not because they give a shit about oil prices or the tyranny in the Middle East (they ride a fixed gear). People go to the zoo, the museum, the beach- not to experience the day or take in the beauty, but to post, update, upload, refresh, retweet, browse, bookmark, and blog. We don’t stand behind philosophical rhetoric or realistic values on morality, no, we choose to remain divided: Edward or Jake, PBR or Stella, Kirk or Picard, Apple or Android, American Spirits or Marlboro Reds, HBO or Showtime. More people seem to be knowledgeable about a Kardashian’s bra size and thread count than the current political climate of Iraq, England, or any other nation that isn’t our own.

A housemate will flat out refuse to pay an extra $10 for a monthly heat bill, laugh at the notion of giving someone spare change, or fail to pay their student loans on time- but lord knows there would be hell to pay if they didn’t get their daily double-shot-extra-hot-half-calf-macchiato and local-sea-salt-organic-blueberry-gluten-free-twice-baked-scone bullshit. People know more about their favorite reality television star’s upcoming movie deal than their own grandmother’s fight with cancer. People can speak more to the mouth feel and malt build of their favorite craft beer than their own feelings on war, poverty, or love. Kids know more about methamphetamines and marijuana than notions of bedtime stories and family meals. Young ones focused more on bare breasts or man loving bears, no memory of Care Bears, Smokey the Bear, or even fucking Snuggles.  

It’s nothing new that bling and ice are desired more than world peace, but when will it change? Was George Bailey full of shit? Did anyone buy into Baz’s sunscreen advice? Didn’t all the hippies and activists fed up with how the world was run grow up to rule the world? Haven’t the racist plantation owning tobacco leaf fuckers died by now? Or is our governing body just like gum products- same shit in a new package? So many questions to ponder while stepping over soiled and discarded underwear on the sidewalk.

… but enough about Los Angeles.