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November 16, 2002

Wal-Mart and the End of Death

obviously, i have yet to master the short form of blogging. but who knows, maybe the essay is a more enduring form.

i arrive on this lovely saturday morning in my abercrombie shaggy-end shorts as my gracious host brings a tourist through his castle. naturally, my knees were as ashy as all get out and i get ragged for watching cartoons. i suppose there is something to say for those who don't distinguish between feature length anime and fox kids saturday, but i can't tell you what it is. on the other hand, blogging... perhaps there will be an iowa writers workshop on it someday and i'll say "i told you so", in the meantime, i'm just pleased that i was right about the internet. take that, cornel west.

back to globalism, observe the various people at wal-mart. they are shopping. the mexican man peels off a one hundred dollar bill. the jamaican woman counts out exact change with a surfeit of pennies. the trailer-folk in camo and t-shirts use their providian credit card. i use my paypal debit card. everybody spends, everybody walks out satisfied. this is as good as it gets.

orange juice in winter in the ghetto is easy to get. you should remember this anytime someone suggests to you that america doesn't work. consider the supply chain. they come from south florida or central california, these oranges. they are picked by people A, brokered by people B and graded by people C. at some point, they are trucked across the nation by gruff men with sweaty collars and colorful belt buckles. i've shared a spot in line at the roadside multipurpose facility with these gents on many recent occasions. since i have myself been hauling furniture and other personal goods between los angeles, houston and atlanta this year, i have grown to further appreciate the american highway system. as citified as i tend to be, i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in any benighted hovel in this nation, there is at least one convenience store, where orange juice is always available thanks to roads, trucks, logistics and schedules beyond belief.

the grand world-dominating master of this business of getting all manner of goods to everybody 24/7 is, of course, wal-mart. they are, at the beginning of the 21st century, what sears & roebuck were at their beginning. a cornerstone of civilization. and despite the bourgie proclivities i was born into and had to beat back with a healthy dose of audre lorde, i have finally come to recognize the style and power that is wal-mart. even though i have been aware for several years as a computer professional that wal-mart's data management capabilities are legendary and that their supply chain techniques are the envy even of ups and the marine corps, there was a little stylish pimp inside my head that said NORDSTROM! now thanks to gw and osama, i am no longer able to afford nordstrom and must acknowledge that even i can be reduced to wearing camo and t-shirts. this is humility in action.

so if the world can be reshaped and humbled into going incognegro, and the imperial capacity of the united states of america vis a vis walmart can bring together mexicans, jamaicans and millions of others into a socio-economic flatland, 'always', who am i to say 'let them all kill each other'?

i am your not so humble blogger, stay tuned.

Posted by mbowen at November 16, 2002 11:35 AM

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