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by Lady Izumi
omlteaufromage-at-gmail.com

Driving home from getting ice cream at a farm one day in June, we were approaching a gargantuan mall not far from our home. As I looked at it, I thought about Wal-Mart, and why I hate it so. "Because it's cheap!" the little voice in the back of my head, was saying, but little did I know it would be the precursor to the most genius of my ideas.

My mind, in ingenious and mysterious ways, drifted to an image I saw in an Italian cooking magazine with a beautiful castle isolated in the Italian countryside. I thought, "Why doesn't that bother me, but Wal-Mart does? Come to think of it, why does nobody seem to be bothered by it? Where are all the anti-Leaning-Tower-of-Piza-ists?" And then it struck me: Wal-Marts are absolutely hideous.

One of the biggest complaints anti-globalists have against corporations is that it ruins the small-town atmosphere of their city. So why fight it? Why not go with the flow? Why jar it with your cringe-inducing, plain exterior? Why make it look like a cheap, fake aberration of the earth when you could try to give it a unique style (if the surrounding area has none) or keep it in style with the quaint atmosphere? I have to wonder what the practicality of homogeneity is if so many outraged citizens oppose it. If Wal-Mart is a symbol of American cultural tyranny to the French, well, then, make it look French. If people are bothered by the cultural domination that Wal-Mart represents, then make it an example of that culture rather than a huge, glaring (not to mention eye-sore-inducing) mutation of it.

Builders could benefit from this advice as well. I dislike the idea of every acre of land being used for a building or home, but if you made it an example of human achievement rather than ship-shod sloppiness, I wouldn't feel like it was being put to waste. Don't build any more of those bland, gigantic houses that have no distinct style from every other neighborhood. Put a Victorian! Or a cottage! Or something! But please, no more of these

or these

or these.

Which brings back the point of the Italian castle. People donít mind it, because itís beautiful. Were everything this pleasing to the eye, modern architecture would not emanate that plastic, pre-fabricated aura, and it would put the minds of the Mass-Produced Police at rest. Because, really, isnít that what this is about? Mass-produced goods tend to be of lesser quality and beauty to avoid costs, and that in turn makes ugly products that make the shopper feel like theyíre buying from Welfare Kidz.

So, that's my solution to anti-globalization and anti-corporativism: Make everything pretty. I mean, who would object to a castle being built in their back yard? Everybody likes nice things, and I seriously think, despite the humorous tone of the story, that people don't give enough credence to the effect of appearances. If everything were attractively packaged (including stores), people wouldn't feel like they were buying cheap plastic crap from the dollar store, and those rallying voices just might die away.