I have to say that it would make a difference to me whether he took the job after careful consideration of the implications or in what seems like wilful naivety. It’s a complex topic, and I can see a lot of arguments in favour of doing something like this, but rejecting the notion that a critical view of the concept might also be valid, especially when you end with the notion of a staged Nicolodeon show as a magical childhood experience, makes me rather more cautious about this whole thing.
All art is political, after all.
And with this, I’ll use the opportunity to close with a poem that is, amongst other things, about shopping malls.
Joyce Carol Oates: Dreaming America (1975)
When the two-lane highway was widened the animals retreated.
Skunks, raccoons, rabbits - even their small corpses
disappeared from the road-
transformed into rags
then into designs
then into stains
When the highway was linked to another
then to another
six lanes then nine then twelve rose
sweeping to the horizon
along measured white lines.
The polled Herefords were sold.
When the cornfields were bulldozed
the farmhouses at their edges turned into shanties;
the outbuildings fell.
When the fields were paved over
Frisch’s Big Boy rose seventy-five feet in the air.
The Sunoco and Texaco and Gulf signs competed
on hundred-foot stilts
like eyeballs on stalks
Illuminated at night.
Where the useless stretch of trees lay
an orange sphere like a golf ball
announces the Shopping Mall, open
for Thursday evening shopping.
There, tonight, droves of teenagers hunt
one another, alert on the memorized pavement.
Where did the country go? - cry the travelers, soaring past.
Where did the country go? - ask the strangers.
The teenagers never ask.
Where horses grazed in a dream that had no history,
tonight a thirteen-year-old girl stands dreaming
into the window of Levitz’s Record Shop.
We drive past, in a hurry.