No review today. Today, I want to discuss something far more prevalent that I have noticed occurring. We are losing a vital part of the American landscape. I speak of the death of the CD and Video store. Not just the independent ones. All of them.
I am not sickness started. I know that Tower Records was liquidated and then the Virgin Megastore in Times Square was shut down. I had only visited it once myself. It was a giant labyrinth filled with every single possible item ever put on a disc or any other electronic media format. It was, in short, a paradise for the certain man. There was even a display of Criterion discs-all of them, I believe.
Of course I am happy that I was able to see it. But I do not live in New York City-its death was of little consequence to my daily life. Yet the death of anything in Times Square will eventually affect everything. It is akin to Guillotine’s invention-sure, it was designed to be painless but we all know what the end result will be.
I tried today to go to some of the ones I had missed during my trip to Europe. Europe was quite different-there was one on every street practically. Plus, the one they left opened in Amsterdam was as close to the defunct Virgin Megastore. I went there as often as I could, just to breathe in the atmosphere and remind myself what I was missing back in the U.S.
Well, apparently I should have stayed right where I was for a variety of reasons. But the U.S. does not appear to show the same respect to the electronic media that others do. For example, I went to go to a favorite shop near my home. It had closed during my time away. Considering the economy, it would have been foolish not to expect such an occurrence. So I tried to go to a mall near my home. There was an FYE there-it has been closed to make way for a woman’s Foot Locker.
I then drove to a nearby mall-not for the FYE that was there, but to replace and object that had been broken on my European trip. The FYE was a bonus-but it was having a going out of business sale. I did manage to get a box set I had been searching for for a very good price. But that does not eliminate the implication of what is happening.
What we are seeing is, on one level, the world of Marshall McLuhan coming true. If the medium is the message, then the message is that we can no longer pay attention to the world around us. We shape our reality instantly-anything that takes longer is unacceptable. Music, film-all are becoming commodities. David Lynch once expressed disgust that people may watch 2001 on a cell phone and claimed to have “seen” the film. I agree with this-films are not something that you can experience on a tiny screen in a pocket. They are works of art. Does carrying a postage stamp that is emblazoned with the Mona Lisa the equivalent of seeing the real thing in the Louvre?
I do not want to appear like a Luddite. It is obvious why people are making the change. I myself own an e-book reader and wonder what I was doing without it. But I still recognize the value of the physical media. Without it, we become a nation with no attention span. Correction-we exacerbate a problem that we need not. Let us all let the healing begin.