Today I went out to the mall and browsed around for a few hours. I had a few random things to buy, and I spent most of my time browsing electronics sections and stores (games, cameras, etc.). Whenever I’m in malls, I’m struck by the feeling of “suburbia” and what I once remarked to Johnson as “the celebration of idolatry”.
Not that I think capitalism and being a consumer is necessarily idolatrous, but think about it – the mall strikes me as celebrating two things:
- Stuff as your hope for fulfillment and satisfaction.
- Beauty, glamour, sensuality & sex as your hope (for what I mentioned above).
#1 might be obvious, since most people are quick demonize consumerism and materialism in our culture. But I think #2 is slightly more subtle and overlooked. Some examples of how #2 gets played out:
- Guys & girls walking around the mall, displaying their affection publicly (e.g. holding hands, etc.)
- Girls of varying ages and types in all sorts of dress, ranging from trendy to sensual to intentionally provocative
- Stores, displays, and ad photography preaching the silent message that visual beauty and physical appeal is the only thing we all recognize as giving a person value
Some of the lies that are being told to us as a direct result are that “you won’t be happy unless you find a boy/girl-friend to meet your desires, too.” Or, “I won’t be happy (or worth it) unless a guy sees me as attractive, and so I’ve got to do what I can to make that happen and catch that guy’s eye.” Or, “you won’t be happy or be satisfied unless you find that perfect object of your desires – ‘perfect’, meaning flawless, flashy, and totally self-serving (for you).”
So yes, that’s what I think about some of the time when I’m walking around in the mall. I don’t believe those lies – but part of me wants to. Except, I don’t really.