The Fall of America
The Mall of America is incredibly symbolic in its position as a tourist attraction and as a symbol of our society today. Looming above the city of Bloomington, Minnesota, the Mall of America is a sign of industrialism. Ever since the industrialization of America and the move from out to up, we have been going higher and getting bigger. The mall is the epitome of this change. In Ian Frazier’s article he describes how the mall stops time itself, it encourages visitors to live in the present. It is easy to see how the Mall achieves this status. With over 500 venues, the Mall is the second largest shopping place in the world.
In Frazier’s article, he talks of the Mall and the history it encompasses. He claims that history becomes feeble. Being in the Mall is like watching television. It is hard to remember anything other than what you’re seeing at the moment. Things come and go regularly, and it is not uncommon for stores to be moving in and out, sometimes in under a month. He talks of book tours at the Mall and how each time he goes there things have changed. One of the more recent changes is to the amusement park, Camp Snoopy’s transformation to Nickelodeon Universe is the most obvious mark of change in the Mall’s atmosphere. When inside the Mall, one can’t help but be taken aback by the atmosphere inside. It really is its own little world, and how it all works is largely psychological. Every day the Mall caters to those who can’t hold on to their wallets without throwing down some cash to buy the latest styles or trends. It seems as though the goal of the Mall and its hundreds of shops is indeed to create a shopping craze throughout the population.
Frazier talks about how the mall of America actually does incorporate history, though without trying. In a deep corner of Nickelodeon Universe, there is a plate in the shape of home where home plate lay when the old Metropolitan Stadium occupied that area. This history takes the imagination away if one lets it, it creates somewhat of a parallel universe where one can feel the energy, the hundred thousand eyes focusing on the plate. I think that it is interesting to consider this. The Mall is a place of the present, the psychology behind shopping is not often talked about, but indefinitely still existent. However, at the same time there is so much history encompassed in its being.
Halfway through the article Frazier mentions the mall as a terrorist target. Being the largest shopping mall in the country, with more than 45 million annual visitors, it’s something that cannot be denied. There are so many people at the mall on a daily basis, especially the weekends, that the mall is easily at the top of the list for possible strike zones. After the attack on September 11th, sales were down. The flow of visitors was visibly squenched, and talk of the possible effects on the Mall’s business numbers was pessimistic. But in reality, who could deny a visit to the Mall? After a period of time, of course visitors will come back. It’s the largest mall in America. A consumer giant of that scale couldn’t possibly go under. The talk of terrorism brings up an interesting point in Frazier’s article. He mentions the USA America Pride store, and how business there was incredibly steady. People were buying American paraphernalia and other goods that showed the United States stars and stripes or anything that one could proudly hold and claim they supported their country. However, upon looking at the labels on all of these items, Frazier could not find a single one that was made in the United States. Isn’t it ironic that people buying these “American” goods and symbols of USA pride are really supporting other countries? Things in the world of economics are never what they seem. Frazier’s article shows us insight into exactly what the Mall of America is, and even how its name may be miscommunicated. It is obvious that the Mall isn’t exactly innocent in its behavior, nor does it promote a positive message when it comes right down to the bones.
Frazier, Ian Frazier. "The Mall of America." Online posting. Aug. 2002. 12 Mar.
Kinzer, Stephen. "A Nation Challenged." New York Times 20 Oct. 2001. 12 Mar.