Friday, September 08, 2006

You Made Your Bed Now Lie in It (And Other Self-Serving, Useless Tropes)

The "elitist asshole" referenced here provides this rebuttal:

I grew up in your beloved heartland, watched my downtown die slowly, and I moved to San Franciso, the capitol of elitist assholery. now I've moved back, this time to Detroit. I would just say fuck you back and fuck your ignorant blatherings, but I can't help wanting to point out that you miss my point entirely. whether or not people "want" to shop at Wal-Mart is irrelevant so long as they prefer to shop there over the homegrown, locally owned businesses that make up most downtowns, the quirky, kuraltian places I sought out on my journey across the country. Those places were all boarded up. If they now have no real choices left, that's their fault and the result of their choices. What I was saying was that it wasn't my place to judge them for not eshewing Wal Mart for the alternatives you indicate aren't really feasible anyways.

Terrific. Well, let's just move on down the list:

1. It is not my "beloved" heartland.

2. If you're going to call my blatherings ignorant it would behoove you not to prove them so accurate.

3. Which, Dutch, you do right here: "you miss my point entirely. whether or not people "want" to shop at Wal-Mart is irrelevant so long as they prefer to shop there over the homegrown, locally owned businesses that make up most downtowns, the quirky, kuraltian places I sought out on my journey across the country."

4. If anyone's missed any points around here, it's you. Because I believe my ENTIRE point is that blaming the people economically dependent upon Wal-mart for being economically dependent upon Wal-mart is fucking idiotic. See also: Self-serving, useless.

5. It is also indicative of the attitude of someone who has either always enjoyed a cushy bank balance, or who, having escaped the wolf at the door, has ever since employed an "I got mine, you get yours" mentality towards those who still hear the howling.

6. In other words, it is not a matter of PREFERENCE. It is not a matter of WANTS. I believe I only said as much in my original post oh, 46 times or so.

7. Saying it IS a matter of want or preference lets you off the hook for doing anything about it, though, I'll grant you that. I mean, doing anything besides moving to a nice, coastal, progressive city and looking down your nose at those you left behind.

8. How very kind of you to tolerate their silly preferences and refrain from judging, by the way.

9. Besides, everyone knows that poverty is caused by poor people. Or: "If they now have no real choices left, that's their fault and the result of their choices." I am not exaggerating one bit when I say to you that I know fire-breathing Republicans who aren't this Darwinian about the issue.

So go back to your blog and bask in the praise you got for writing something so beautiful. Whatever you do, don't scratch your head and wonder if maybe there aren't some unaddressed class issues you need to examine here. Don't wonder anything. Just, next time you have the misfortune to be stuck in a McDonald's, make sure to weep bitter tears over the plight of the guy mopping the floor, because that will totally make everything okay again.

10 comments:

Darleen said...

Excellent points...but one quibble (you knew that "but" was there... I'm feeling a bit contrarian here because I believe both of you have legitimate points) ... Walmart did not get rich by catering to poor people. They are rich because the vast middle class that can afford to shop elsewheres decided they'd rather have three pairs of $15 jeans than one pair of $75.

ilyka said...

they'd rather have three pairs of $15 jeans than one pair of $75

If you mean that the markup's higher on items like that (and [cough] deep fryers, etc.) then, certainly. I don't know how much the lure of cheap clothing is canceled out in the middle class by the Wal-mart taint, though, i.e. "Eww, you buy your clothes at Wal-mart?"

ilyka said...

I don't mean to imply that the middle class NEVER shop at Wal-mart, though. It isn't as though the first time I was ever in one was when I went broke. It's just that, once you're broke, you kinda lose the option of having high-minded ideals about "kuraltian" downtown stores or whatever.

BTW if you turn Charles Kuralt's name into an adjective, which I would never advocate anyone do but IF, should you capitalize the resulting adjective? Does anyone know? I'm not trying to nitpick, just genuinely wondering because I'm a huge nerd like that.

Zendo Deb said...

I shopped at Wal-mart when I was in either the upper-middle or lower-upper economic class. I was certainly in the top few percent of wage earners...

Frugality isn't bad. If you read enough investment books sooner or later they get around to "save money." Why would you want to pay extra for toothpaste for example? Does Crest for Snooty-Designs-'R-Us taste better than Crest from Wal-mart? Or Sam's Club?

Cheap toothpaste... brand name. Cheap paper towels... brand name.
Cheap microwaves - unless you want a 400 dollar high-class under-cabinet mount, in which case the cheapest source is Home Depot, not Wal-mart. They don't carry Sub-Zero, or Viking, but you can get GE's top-of-the-line brand, Profile. And unless you are spending 150,000 or more on your kitchen, you really don't need Viking. And Stainless may look good in the magazine, but it is hard to live with, is very cold and institutional, and not really worth the extra expense.

Or you can go to Kuraltian boutique and get the exact same counter-top microwave for about 45% more money. Hell you will pay 15 or 20 percent more at just about any other store. If being economically stupid makes you feel superior, well then you are welcome to the feeling. Just don't expect me to concede that "stupid behavior" (like paying too much for staples) equates to "superior intellect."

I have said time and again, that most people who believe they are oh so smart, are mostly just faking it, especially when it comes to money. The glitterati all have 401-K's, but most would be wiped out if the company they worked for went belly-up like Enron, or Wang Labs, or Digital, or... any of the other companies for which taps have been blown. (Most don't know what the "Buy-Write" strategy is, can't articulate what the criterial for selling a stock in their portfoilo would be, can't read a balance sheet, statement of cash flows, or income statement, etc. etc. But they will still try to convince you they are oh such great investors.)

Though the dot-com crash took the wind out of most of their sails.

Sage said...

Okay, you just have to read, No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart by Tom Slee if you haven't already. I just finished it and think it's brilliant. It's given me some solid arguments to back up my from-the-gut opinions. See more here.

Darleen said...

sage, from your link

why individual choice fails to give us what we want, and why we need to rely on collective action rather than individual choice to take us to where we want to be.

I'm in awe of such an assinine premise! Tell me, is the rest of the book more of the "WE know better than you, just leave all your decisions to us" collectivist nonsense I've encountered from every socialist or anarchist paper I've ever read?

ilyka said...

It doesn't sound like a premise that would exactly warm the cockles of my heart, no, but then without having actually read it I can't say for certain. In any event, can we take the tone down a little? Sage only recommended a book; she didn't nationalize amazon.com in the name of The People.

Mark S. said...


BTW if you turn Charles Kuralt's name into an adjective, which I would never advocate anyone do but IF, should you capitalize the resulting adjective?


You should just not do it the first place. Here are some other adjectives that should never be coined: Brokowian, Steve Croftian, and Mark Russellesque.

ilyka said...

What about Charlie Roseaceous?

belledame222 said...

grannyvibe had a great post wrt right-on upper-middle urban types who sneer at Walmart and its shoppers and pat themselves on the back for it as well.

my own philosophy is: you do what you gotta do.

awareness is good, sure. you can't even begin to think about truly making choices until you're aware of let's say the bigger picture as well as your own place in it. (and your own inner baggage as well). i do believe that, more or less.

but while that may be necessary, it ain't sufficient.

and all your brownie points for 'awareness' kind of are cancelled out by "myopic smugness." sorry, d00d.

per deep fryer: best friend has been yearning for one for ages. his partner and i have been harshing his mellow a bit on this front, i must say. "no, _____! don't do it! you have so much to live for!..."

and he's all, yeah, like a DEEP FRYER and DEEP FRIED FOOD LIKE WHAT I EAT BACK HOME.

nannyism indeed...

well at least his partner has the excuse that he'd be eating it as well, no doubt.