Tuesday, October 18, 2005In the most recent issue of Spin, there's an interview with Ian Mackaye of the punk band Fugazi. Fugazi has been one of my favorite bands for the last several years, so I'm not surprised by Mackaye's left-wing politics; anti-war, hesitant of capitalism if not outright opposed and a radical environmentalism that goes beyond what I consider reasonable. Yet in reading the interview I was struck by how often I agreed with Mackaye's commentary.
Mackaye sang, not so long ago, that "there is no around the corner anymore." True, that. At least in most cities, where we've given up on everything local and unique in favor of Target and Home Depot. Because it's more convenient. What about beauty? What about being unique? Throughout much of his career, Mackaye has attacked commodification. I can't blame him at all but I'm not sure about the answers. I can't make someone open a coffee shop. I can't make someone in Tuscaloosa open a new bookstore that isn't run by a huge corporation. I have to buy clothes somewhere and it's a lot more expensive to shop with a small clothing line than it is to bite the bullet and head to J. Crew. I don't like crass commercialization and commodification but I don't know about the alternatives. The usual, I suppose. As often as possible, shop local, buy local.
A closing quote. Let us remember:
"The fact to which we have got to cling, as to a lifebelt, is that it is possible to be a normal decent person and yet be fully alive." - George Orwell