Tonight, I drove out past Dulles airport, because we had some time to kill before meeting my girlfriend's friend who was flying in.

Something about the whole area out there didn't feel right. Strip malls and developments abounded, of course. Just plopped down randomly in places just because. Giant overpasses and confusing messes of roads. And Dulles Town Center, this giant fancy mall, was the same.

Part of it might have been the hour. It was late, and not very many people were around. But part of it was design. The mall was designed not for people, but for crowds. So without the crowds, it felt empty. Pieces of it were designed to remind you of things like old train stations, or temples, or something I guess, but none of it was designed to live in. It was just built as a temple to consumerism, or a castle, surrounded by a moat of steaming asphalt.

It, like the rest of everything else out there, wasn't designed for people. It was designed for cars. Everything is scaled to cars, not humans. I think that's part of it.

And part of it might be it all feels like a rotting mask, because it's not sustainable. I don't mean it in some kind of new-agey sense, I mean it in the literal sense of this can't go on. And what can't go on, won't. But it'll hang on a lot longer than you think it will.

Maybe the desperation was what I felt. THe retail stores, desperately waving their hole card of Christmas, trying to spur people into spending still more money they don't have. All the overpriced stuff we don't need, that marketers spend their days trying to convince us we can't do without. The baby trees and the old fashioned wooden benches scattered amidst parking lots, desperately trying to pretend to be a park...

Or maybe it's none of those. Maybe it's just me being tired, and being elitist or something. Or maybe the overwhelming attempts to make things seem fancy kicked in my latent anarchist feelings.

I don't know. This is why I probably shouldn't blog at 2 in the morning.
There's a problem with working at a bookstore. It means, every so often, you have to sell somebody something that you know is bad, lame, and utterly irredeemable. Sometimes I can tell people this, other times, I can't really because I know they won't care. So I sell them their horrible book of lies and poor writing, and feel a dirty because I helped support people churning out more of this trash.

The case in point, this time, was Left Behind, the horribly written series of books and movies that are basically the apocalyptic fringes of the Religious Right gloating over how everybody's going to die in the end of the world except them. Thew books are based around their weirdly "literal" interpretation of Revelations, which involves a lot of reading into things that aren't literally never mentioned in the entire Bible, the whole "Rapture" idea first among them. If you want more explanation of the problems with these books, clink the link above, which leads to Slacktivist's page by page dissection of the first book. But the ultimate scary thing about these books? They're written by and for people who think the end of the world will be a good thing, and look forward to it, and try and hurry that day through politics and begging their idea of God. That's the kind of things the bad guys in D&D or Buffy or something do.

And this came up, because yesterday a lady came in, and bought all three of the Left Behind movies, plus most of the series. For her children. I'm sorry, kids. I'm really really sorry. Not just for the years of therapy they'll have to go through if they escape the millenialist cult, but also because they'll have to sit through the books. And the thing is, there's nothing I could have done. Refuse to sell them to her? They'd send another person to run the register. And if that failed, the lady'd just go over to Borders or the religious bookstore or somewhere else and still inflict them on the kids. I could have tried to convince her, but that was hardly the place, and I'm 95% sure nothing I would have said would have made a difference to her, anyway.

But I still feel dirty inside.
Christmas special time. I'm a sucker for bunch of different Christmas TV specials, especially Nightmare Before Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Dr. Seuss, Boris Karloff, and Chuck Jones as a team. Dude.), but a bunch of them leave me cold, too. Not just the cheesy smarmy "And a bunch of plucky kids save Christmas and learn Important Lessons about Sharing and Caring and Blah Blah Blah. No, some of the favorite ones just leave me cold. Like I mentioned last year, a Christmas Story just feels mean, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation isn't all that funny, either. There's some funny bits, but most of the funny bits are the kind that are funnier in memory, or when quoting, then when actually watching the movie.

I don't know what it is about these two in particular that leaves me cold, especially since they're two of my dad's favorite movies. So, I dunno. But they just don't work for me.



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