God Bless Consumerica
Homeless people are not the stars of this photo. Nope. Most homeless people do not have such clean blankets and, since this is not skid row, probably do not sleep so soundly with our police force that scoops them away from the view of "civilization".
This photo is just one example of what I saw yesterday as I ran errands around town during my lunch. Throngs of people were camped -- literally with tents and sleeping bags -- outside Best Buy and similar stores waiting for their once-in-a-lifetime chance to say they were one of the first purchasers of the new Playstation 3.
Immediate judgments regarding their intelligence and employment status cannot be avoided, but the issue is bigger than the numbnuts who camp on a sidewalk to buy a video game console. More important is the statement that these people make about the condition of our consumer society. It is a poignant reminder of the depths of indoctrination in this society to not just consume like voracious tazmanian devils, but to beg for the chance to do it. In communist Russia, people stood in line for necessities like bread and blankets. In consumerist America, people camp out for days to buy a product that will be available tomorrow at Wal-Mart.
A line from Talib Kweli, one of my all-time favorite musical artists, is apropos -
If it is any consolation, the mindless zombies in the picture at least get to brag that they were first in line for the chains.