The snow didn’t happen. The rain was minor. Having received advice, I went to CB2 and bought some FLOR. The weather was raw. Now I realize that I don’t even like to walk down Canal Street any more. It’s devolved into a vaguely sinister souk, fueled by peoples desperate need for status. The elderly asian women who offer me dvd’s under their breaths remind me of the Times Square drug dealers of my highschool years, but what they’re trying to sell me is the chance to watch crappy first run movies in the privacy of my own home.
I used to love the way that the low rent knockoff market would generate weird hybrid commodities that just combined the desirable parts of a number of other items into some new monster. Everyone loves Franenstein’s creature. But now the goal is to look like you can afford some piece of Vuitton crap, and to head home with some story of how you braved the wilds of lower Manhattan to get it. It doesn’t matter if you are a smart shopper or a rube, because every one knows that what you’ve bought there is shit anyway. Herds of bovine suckers cluster in the middle of blocks, impossible to get around, while the sharps try to lure them into the warren-like storefronts, with an air of rapacious disdain. All of it is in service to a commodity ideal that has been drained of joy.
A few blocks up Broadway You can buy the “real thing”, from Vuitton, Prada, Kate Spade, etc., now that Soho has been completely converted into a cobbled luxury market. But there’s barely any difference. The notion of a ubiquitous standard of luxury is as odious as one of a ubiquitous standard of entertainment. People in Shanghai and Mumbai are being offered the same handheld video DVDs of Alvin and the Chipmonks as I am. I’m an advocate of dismantling corporate copyright, but even I don’t think that that’s progress.