Thursday, May 10, 2007


Once upon a time this was a vast and diverse country. The houses in one region looked distinctly different from the houses in another region. The language was different, the food was different, the culture was different from state to state, and even county to county or city to city.

And then came television. And with television came advertising. With advertising came giant corporations with huge economies of scale. And suddenly we began to see a homogenuity to this nation take hold.

When I go to Chicago I want a fantastic deep dish pizza, not dominos. But if you look for Dominos or Pizza Hut in Chicago, there are tons of them. A friend of mine told me of how he was in Baltimore on a business trip and he wanted crab cakes. When he and the client went to lunch, the client took him TO MCDONALDS for crab cakes. They didn't have them, so they ended up just eating big macs.

Big housing companies are building the same house in every state. Local flavor is being replaced by ubiquitous subdivisions that all look the same. You could probably move from state to state and always buy the exact same house if you looked hard enough.

Local shops that carry local goods have been replaced by Wal-Mart. The small company that produces a niche good has all but been priced out of the marketplace by large distributors hawking cheap stuff from china. Innovation has been reduced to copying the designs of a few and mass producing it as cheaply as possible.

Artwork is now a commodity. You can buy a Thomas Kincaid in fifteen different varieties at various price points. Forget the art school graduate who lives in your neighborhood, rush to get the latest copy of mass produced artwork! Swap Meets and Flea Markets now sell mass produced hand painted copies of well-known paintings. Originality and expression of the artist have given way to looking at a picture and copying it as fast as possible.

There are still local differences, but they are like a grape in front of the ever growing steamroller we call Generica, threatening to turn this country into one big fat mass of sameness.

I can't do it anymore. I am all done with Generica. I am seeking out original artwork for my office and home. I am fortunate to live in a custom home that is very likely one of a kind. I make every effort to eat exclusively at restaurants that are not national chains. I drink coffee that I roast myself, not mass blasted starbucks or anything that comes in a can. I drink only California wine where I can visit the winery, talk to the people, and taste it before I buy it. Anywhere I can choose the small over the big, the unique over the same, the local over the national, I will do it.

Down with Generica. Viva America!


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