What Would It Take To Get People Shopping Again?

What would get people to go back into stores? Indeed, shoplifting is up nationwide.

Chronicling the end of the empire is fun.

16 thoughts on “What Would It Take To Get People Shopping Again?

  1. Chronicling the end of empires on Wikipedia is fun because I didn't have to live through it and because they take hundreds of years to die. To be honest, I'd probably only get a good laugh out of this one if I had two centuries to spend on this rock. Knowing that I only get to enjoy a tiny, shitty piece of history and then die before I see the climax is like an inflight movie starting with 45 minutes to landing.

    On the plus side, I may be part of the second-to-last generation to have adequate water supplies. Grandkids gon' be all MASTER BLASTER! and shit

  2. It took me awhile to get what was happening in the second frame, Ted, and without your explanation I might not have gotten it at all.

    On the 'chronicling the end of an empire' aspect and the timing of past empires, I think it's a little absurd to think of Pax Americana as its own thing, rather than an extension of Anglo superiority that was inherited from the European colonial system, and transformed into the neoliberal imperialism of multi-national corporatism.

    That system is not dying the way US domination is, it went transnational and will continue to be alive and well for awhile longer. If one stops obsessing over the differences between a nation-state and a multinational corporation (they are essentially both power structures that wield authority and manipulate societal relationships), they realize that the system of western domination of the economic hierarchy is far from dead. The United States of America is simply the latest in a line of stooges to this system, and others will follow us. We sell our history, cultural soul and livelihoods to capitalism and then act like it was ours to lose when capital flies somewhere more lucrative. Wahhhhhhh!

  3. There couldn't be more solid proof that Ted Rall hates America than his assertion that "Chronicling the end of the empire is fun".

    All those that have criticized Ted Rall as an America hater have been vindicated.

  4. Hey Phil,

    That's really interesting to read. Seeing as how I live in Michigan, I wouldn't mind getting in on some Canadian universal health care. While this guy sounds like an academic tool, he's got some fairly dignified ideas. The problem with predicting actual events is that history moves slower than we think it does. In hindsight, one may look back at the beginning of a war or revolution as a singular event, because history lessons condense it in our minds to a chapter in a book. Watching it occur in real time, it's longer.

    Robert Kaplan, who writes for the Atlantic Monthly and is by no means a Russophile, sees a valid argument in the North American continent breaking into six nations. I find this a much more reasonable and plausible theory for several reasons.

    I'm skeptical of any social theory that is limited to assessing what will happen within a specific state. Such arguments are the device of state level propaganda.

  5. Frank Miller's "Give Me Liberty" had a pretty good "break up" map of the USA. The story was cartoon-ish yet prescient. Tim Truman's "Scout" starts with an apocalyptic prediction of how America will fall. SPOILER… We wind up with an ex-wrestler as President. Dorme bene…

  6. Actually, to equate America and the empire and to say that Ted critiquing "the empire" proves he hates America means, objectively, that at least a segment of Ted's critics are equivalent to the worst sort of post-Republican decadent Romans and despicable Tories.

    The Founding Fathers would have imprisoned, exiled or hanged them during the Revolution, and they imagine themselves patriots.

  7. Living in Florida, near the Georgia border, I find the thought of the nation breaking up to be pretty terrifying. I DEFINITELY don't want to end up in some new Old South confederacy.

  8. I don't see why any reasonable person would not welcome the breakup of the US. Only those on the lunatic fringe, at the right ("Country first!") and at the left (they'd miss their favourite whipping boy) would resent it.

  9. I'd be more credulous if it weren't for Panarin's map. Seriously, anyone who thinks that the former United States will divide along those lines clearly doesn't know jack about this place.

    The entire Deep South under Texas? They may vote the same way in national elections, but I think most of that land would have to be taken the hard way. Utah under California? They'd die first. (I'd go on, but I don't have the map in front of me)

    There have been multiple, insightful examinations of this, or questions very similar to it. The "Nine Nations of North America," from twenty or thirty years back; that more recent demographic/political analysis that broke down the US into ten distinct regions; or, as Anonymous 9:52 pointed out, in the pages of a variety of fiction.

    Panarin sounds more like one of those lazy imperial overlords, casually drawing lines on maps of land they've never seen.

  10. Incitatus, I assume you're using hyperbole to make a point, but do you really think the break-up of the United States is something that reasonable people would take lightly? It seems to me that the only people who would celebrate it are the lunatic fringe. Forget the societal ramifications. The logistics would be a nightmare: Should the Union of Mid-Atlantic States include Maryland? The Mason/Dixon Line is at the PA/MD border, but how southern is Maryland? And where would Missouri fit in? I always thought it was a mid-western state, but apparently some consider it part of the south, an idea that my southern friends find highly amusing.

    Is NC southern enough to be associated with Alabama and Mississippi? I mean, we have Chapel Hill and Durham, both "hotbeds" of communism, you know? (Although the idea of CH being a hotbed of communism makes me laugh. It's more a tepid bath of mommy-state armchair liberalism.)Is NJ northern enough to be grouped in with NY and Connecticut? Maybe is should be split into two states. And PA is so big, a lot of PA residents already think of it as two states.

    I'm actually very confused by the suggestion that Obama could be the last President of the United States. Yes, things are awful and will probably get worse. But are we really ready to implode? Is it just more hyperbole? Ted? Someone? Help me out here.

  11. Maura, I'm definitely not with you: no USofA means no POTUS, no CIA, no Pentagon, no empire. Who could be against that? Hardly anybody, from where I stand.
    The world is not worse off because Colombia, Venezuela and Equador are not under the same caudillo anymore, I can hardly see why the same shouldn't be true of California, Georgia and New York. It's not like a split-up US incurs the risk of real deal Balkanization.

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