the workers have nothing to lose but their chains? Alienation of labor is the concept that money is merely stored labor, and that the bourgeoisie unfairly take a portion, being the owners of the means of production. The tea party trusts the government less than corporations, but I feel the opposite.
This seems to be to be the root of DIY culture – let’s take back what we can, now. I wonder if the USA will ever regain a strike culture that western europe has?
First, also, trollin’
Who ever said that man was born free? Apart from Rousseau, of course. He is not a credible source.
The general complaint against chain stores strikes me as misguided. The criticism seems to suggest that if they didn’t exist, and if we didn’t shop there, that we would be able to attain some sort of heterogeneous, individualized, unchained existence. But in fact we have always existed as socialized beings, and “individualization” was simply a bourgeois myth foisted on lower classes to fragment them. Before chain stores existed, it might have been possible to delude ourselves into thinking that we lived in an unclassified society – but the classes were always there, with or without the physical chains. Therefore, chain stores provide us with a valuable service: at least now I can be honest about it, and admit that I am a member of the liberal-arts Starbucks class, and that my class interests are fundamentally opposed to those of the proletarian McDonald’s class. In the coming war, I know which side I will be on.
In any event, I like the wordplay in this one.
I know quite a few people who are suspicious of people who eat in restaurants which are not chains, and faux pretentious who make statements such as, “I avoid chains as much as possible.” Yet do not realize that the restaurant they are touting is a chain, albeit a smaller more exclusive one. When people ask me where I want to eat I say, “Home.” So far my apartment isn’t a chain, just a burden.
“Individualized” economies might be a myth, but local economies are not. If you’re eating at a chain which has corporate offices in your home town, those who derive the highest salaries from the chain’s success are likely to cause local real estate values to climb, which might or might not be according to your tastes. If you eat at home, you’re not making a substantial contribution to either your own town’s real estate values or those of the metropolises, AND you’re saving money, which is clearly cheating. If you eat at Starbuck’s you’re just a mark.
Who are these “bourgrois,” who are “foisting myths” and “taking portions”? The way people talk one would think there must be some dimly lit room with a large table where they all rub their hands together and cackle about how they’ve swindled society yet again.
While I appreciate the sentiment of this comic, my believe about chain stores has always been this: they exist because we, as a people, want them to exist. People eat at McDonald’s because it’s easy, cheap, and probably not the worst tasting thing you could put in your mouth. People drink Starbucks coffee because it’s good coffee. (Maybe. Coffee all tastes the same to me and I’ve only been there once.)
That’s not to say I don’t prefer a local bookstore or a small coffee shop, but my reasons are in part the same reasons people shop at the chain stores: mercenary. Those local shops are usually cheaper. It’s the same reason i buy t-shirts at Goodwill. There are other reasons, of course–more personal reasons–but none of them have to do with a wish to see chain stores disappear. I’ve long since stopped caring about such impossible things.
Consuming morally still reinforces the social importance of consumption. Most people buy processed agribusiness crap because that’s what they can afford.
Your ideals are a luxury.
Hm, I wonder who said that originally.
class or no, everyone needs to buy toilet paper.
It’s posible that you people take this cartoon too seriously. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that Cat and Girl, after delving deep into the complexities of contemporary urban life, usually ends in a punchline.
the comment re which restaurant you eat in signifying your class (as in working/bourgeouis/topdog) is telling. I (too?) was raised to never eat in restaurants. Last time I checked most of the world population has never used a telephone.
J-d, may I direct you to Moff’s Law: http://www.racialicious.com/2009/12/21/and-we-shall-call-this-moffs-law/
Cat and Girl is intrinsically meant to be taken seriously, otherwise it would be Garfield.
But in any case, I like the way that more “generic” chains (Target—is it written like “Tarot” on purpose?—and McDonalds) are mixed in with more “liberal/hipster” chains like Trader Joe’s and Ikea. Sure, they probably do have a better business ethos, but I still prefer indies above all in pretty much everything.
Proclaiming we live in the best of all possible worlds, and therefore that no change is necessary, absolves one of the guilt of standing idly by.
Everything is fine everywhere.
Funny, Jonathan Lethem had the same gag in Chronic City. “Man is born free but everywhere he is in chain stores.” Must be something in the water.
Elsa was born free. As free as the wind blows. man i really wish i could chase down a gazelle and kill it in one bite. 95% of my problems solved.
Good call, Phil. For anyone uncertain of the reference: http://catandgirl.com/?p=1094
Quoted that one in a final paper for my MA. Not that I’m supposed to admit to extended higher education, here…
“While I appreciate the sentiment of this comic, my believe about chain stores has always been this: they exist because we, as a people, want them to exist.”
My thoughts exactly. We (collectively) shop at chain stores because they provide a consistent product at a low price. What they’re not good at is selling small-batch or handmade goods, because they can’t be produced in large enough quantities to keep several hundred stores in stock. Independent bookstores and groceries have largely disappeared because books and canned tomatoes are fungible; independent restaurants and boutiques survive because they can compete on quality rather than price.
One is not inherently superior to the other; they just cater to different needs. Sure, some people like to bring class into it, but that’s just their attempt to mark the mainstream as Inferior.
I’d much rather hand my money to someone who cares about my community than someone who doesn’t. I don’t think that makes me pretentious. I sometimes pretend I can tell the difference. That probably does make me pretentious.
I assume most folks who read C&G have also see “Logorama”?
Let me be the first to say:
(Wish I’d thought of that one)
Oh god now I want in-n-out burger
I want an in-n-out culture.
“Your ideals are a luxury.
Hm, I wonder who said that originally.”
It is a joke if you take this seriously you are the fool
Y’know, I’m not sharing this comic with friends because the comments are soul-suckingly lame.
As good as ever — Dorothy, you engender such entertaining discussions… :-)
I’d link to Paul Burch’s “Down to the Blackmarket” for topicality but it’s not on YouTube, so I’ll link to “Life of a Fool” instead, since it’s got (what is almost certainly) the best pedal-steel guitar solo ever:
@Andrew: Of the four classes that one imagines or someone imagined (aristocratic, bourgious, peasant, and proletarian), I just think its hilarious that Americans are too ignorant to recognize that “The Noble (American) Experiment” was a sly self-reference to a new aristocracy. (And it’s always about Americans, right?)
Woo, New Karl City rules, apparently: The owners own everything. The bosses lease and manage it. People who “work for a living” are grimly determined to ignore their own privilege, since the alternative
is not only uncomfortable but actively dangerous (the fun fact of the day). And it would be “the people” who actually break non-elective sweats. Farm-workers. Police. “Real” drivers. Active
military. So the “borgie/bosses” thing really ignores the top of the delicious food tree. We must all bite it. Thank you… I think…
D. Dentity@: one might consider an internets time budget. Also, that sticking out like a sort of thumb among the other dactyls is more and less not self-elective, too, depending on the context… just a thought, really.
I say, “Live free, or buy my hair product!!!” Those “big boxes” look very attractive to me, actually. No cars. No people! And look! There’s a BagBurgers! But I heard that BagBurgers are people. Also.
I’ve read through to the current comic.
Ha, I like the pun.
Nobody’s born free, though. You’re born as a baby whose parents control every moment of your life, and you gradually get more freedom as you get older. Even if you end up working in a chain store under a micromanaging boss, you’ve got hella more freedom than you did when you couldn’t even crawl on your own. I agree with Richard Dalloway that Rousseau’s not a credible source.
This makes me want to go to Trader Joe’s.
I worked for Target Corp and they were a pretty good employer. I was quite surprised. That job followed a stint at a small indy machine shop where I was nearly set on fire, sliced in half and risked arrest, in one week. Target HR wouldn’t have stood for that.
Chains are the sym. the problem is much more pervasive.
I’ve owned a means of production. It’s highly overrated.
Also, Lenin’s revolution was basically a city slicker’s land grab to centrally control food production and place it in the hands of incompetents. The following murder of Ukrainians by starvation pretty much speaks for itself.