The Awl begins this piece with two assertions whose confidence is matched only by their incomprehensibility:


Big box stores are the lowest-hanging science fiction prompt in any given town. Big box nostalgia is weak, so thinking about these stores clearly is easier. What, you wonder as you drive by, will happen to the big old Circuit City at Crossroads Plaza or Windermere Village or whatever? The building that used to be a Borders that became a Gap that became a vacant hole? The Walmart on the edge of town that was closed for “plumbing problems?” All those doomed malls, and the big multi-story anchor stores at the end of their long pedestrian halls?

Nothing more about sci-fi prompts follows, except for some conclusions about using the roofs for drone pads. Hardly sci-fi. As for Circuit City, it went out of business six years ago, and perhaps they split up the store into a Trader Joe’s and Total Wine? Sounds crazy, I know, but it could happen.

Another cavil: big boxes aren’t in the same category as malls - which are not dying, by the way. Daily Beast notes that their demise has been oversold, and finds a reason why there’s been gleeful stories about the End of the Mall:

Maybe it’s that reporters don’t like malls. After all they tend to be young, highly urban, single, and highly educated, not the key demographic at your local Macy’s, much less H&M. But for years now, the conventional wisdom in the media is that the mall—particularly in the suburbs—is doomed. Here a typical sample from The Guardian: “Once-proud visions of suburban utopia are left to rot as online shopping and the resurgence of city centers make malls increasingly irrelevant to young people.”

It would be interesting to see if the author of the piece applied the “reporters don’t like” attribute to other things. If a pre-existing set of ideas could influence their reporting, why, who knows where that might lead? Anyway, the story shows how all demos prefer shopping in stores to online-only, possibly because it’s social. In the old sense of the word, as in, being around actual people, not digital simulacrums.

Of course, old malls in crappy neighborhoods will close. And then someone will take pictures to show how everything is bad and getting worse. Over at Giz, the people who say things “I love me some ruin porn,” or would if it was 2011 and people were riding high on the hillbilly-l33t freshness of “I love me some,” were no doubt drawn to this collection of abandoned amusement parks. They’re so FRAUGHT with MEANING.

. . . the photographs taken by Lawless tell this larger story in a uniquely poignant way. His work is not just about gawking at individual sites of decaying buildings but rather striving to encapsulate the larger story of America’s rise and fall. That’s why he didn’t just visit one abandoned amusement park for his latest book Bizarro. In the artist’s own words, “This project showcases America’s economic decline that rips into heart and soul of our country.”

There’s a roller coaster in Kansas that’s not running anymore. It’s OVER, America. The same photographer managed to find Deep Meaning in dead malls, and gets busted in the comments for being a poseur, self-promoter, and a serial filter abuser, so he’s probably not the Walker Evans of our dreadful times.

One of the commenters noted that the first Phoenix mall had reinvented itself nicely, to which someone responded “pix or it didn’t happen.” Translation: I’ll just sit here and cast doubt for no reason. Or: I’ll use an internet cliche as a way of asking for elaboration. The commenter responded with pix, and lots of them. For some reason I clicked on the profile of the “pix or didn’t happen” guy. He wrote the piece about the dead malls. What else has he penned?

STOP GOING ON CRUISES. Filed under “BOSSY.” Opening:

Cruise ships are even worse than you think. ProPublica recently published a very alarming and downright dark interactive feature about health and safety on cruises. I’ll come right out and say it: Stop going on cruises. Don’t cruise. Don’t do it.

If you’re not canceling your trip because of a downright dark interactive feature, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! (Did I do that right, Internet?) See, there’s disease. A doctor called for all cruises to be banned, because there might be disease. I’ve been on a dozen or so cruises. Not one outbreak. But there’s also crime! This is an argument for demolishing every city - or, for that matter, all human habitation. But he has an alternative.

So maybe save up for a nice tropical vacation and live life as a landlubber. Go to an all inclusive resort, if that’s your thing. It’ll be just like a cruise, except you won’t be floating around in a potential disease- and pollution-factory that may harbor criminals. Crime might happen. I can attest to that first hand. However, odds are in your favor, if you decide not to cruise.

In the comments, someone says they’re looking forward to a two-week Balkan cruise: “I’d never end up visiting some of the cities the boat pulls into, even if only for a day, I’m considering it a win.” To which the author replies with a mocking Seinfeld image macro that isn’t even an animated GIF.

Apparently the author is making a name for himself out of writing articles for the Gawker network that tell you not to do things. And so:



And that concludes my morning on the Internet. This is why I don’t get online until 10:30.