Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What This Country Needs is an Awesome Depression

Running in the March issue of 303 Magazine

I think the time is ripe for an Even Greater Depression. It seems like every week economic data bear even worse news. Three years ago if you heard, “credit crunch” odds are it was a candy bar or exercise. Now, it provokes a looming sense of uncertain dread everyone has thus far only associated with terrorists.

Imagine life two years ago – the weather was always sunny, everyone busied themselves with self-indulgent internet posts and it seemed like every zip code had its own glamour and lifestyle magazine. My friend actually thought he could sell homemade t-shirts that proclaimed “Fuck War” for $45 a pop. He used to give sushi to homeless guys too, and is now unemployed.

An Awesome Depression would put the Great Depression to shame. It would be more severe, yes, but also more full of character-building struggle and their attendant anecdotes. A Depression with less comfort than any other Depression would teach everyone thriftiness and resourcefulness. Suddenly disposable anything seems pretty silly. Why throw away what you can reuse and recycle? Why not wash out that plastic container for lunchmeat and store other food in it? What about changing your old bottles into decorative candle-holders or cups for that homemade beer you’ve begun brewing.

We’ll have all kinds of stories like my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Wilson used to tell us. She made dresses out of shoes and ate the leftovers for dinner. She saved everything and could fix anything and could have survived the apocalypse had it occurred in 1952.

In an Awesome Depression people will be more careful with how they spend their entertainment dollars. Luxury boxes always have been dumb, but when unemployment starts bumping into double digits it’s going to take more than glass to protect the champagne swilling, over-paid douches who somehow created a caste system of their own for sports.

After years of bling and brand names being forced down everyone’s throats it’s nice to know that advertising is on the run for a change. And imagine how much better at math our children are going to be when they all stop getting allowances because pennies are more valuable than wishes again.

An Awesome Depression would toughen everybody up. Why do you think we’re having trouble fighting the Taliban? They sleep in snow and live in caves! They herd goats on mountains and build houses out of mud and rocks. Meanwhile, our kids are raised on video games and central heating and air. Wimps!

People are going to have to learn real jobs and no longer pass themselves off as insufferable “producers” or “graphic designers” when everyone knows that their parents are merely supporting them. And what in the fuck are rappers going to rap about if no one can afford to “make it rain”? Although, it will be fun to see hobos resurface– even though they will probably have to invent new, even poorer ways to get wasted.

An Awesome Depression is going to knock the wind out of pretentious hipster fashion and emphasize well-made, long-lasting clothes (and cars for that matter). Our children are going to look back at 10 years of Club Rap and SUVs and think we were retarded. Then they’ll be glad that we learned how to snare squirrels using twine and our own ingenuity in order to survive the Food Scarcity Crisis of 2011.

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