In my hometown of Toledo, OH, a great independent bookstore -- Thackeray's -- is on it's last day. Local columnist, Roberta deBoer, sums up the prevailing feelings about the loss. The shopping center she mentions has also lost Toledo's best independent record store and will probably soon lose other treasures of the Glass Capital as it continues to slowly die while a giant mall grows and grows a mile away.
It's disheartening to think about the homogenization of our culture and landscapes. With a few exceptions, cities in America look and feel pretty much the same wherever you go nowadays. And, I think it affects hometown pride and tends to make people feel less rooted. I'm sure that someone could correlate the rise of chains and an increase in intranational migration to show a positive relationship.
And, I can feel that as well. The loss of Thackeray's is the loss of one more thing that was part of my Toledo.
I wish there was an alternative to the chainization of America. It leads me to believe that Americans value uniformity or individuality more than our rhetoric might suggest. Maybe Applebee's might just be the quintessential American place. Each Applebee's is more or less the same with a few local touches added. Unless you're interested in them, you'd never even know they're there though.
Or, maybe chains are like a new religion in that they offer a stable known entity in an ever changing world.
Whatever, it's depressing to think about the blahness that America has become.
I wonder... Did previous empires go through similar patterns of homogenization in their declines? Seems like this could be similar to something I vaguely remember form the decline of the Roman Empire.
Well, I guess this is an SOC posting.