August 12, 2004

Cultural imperialism defeated

The interstate highways have a culture all their own.

For instance, the blue signs informing drivers of what culinary amenities are available at the next exit display a marked cultural preference for the greasy and lowbrow over the overpriced and foofy. The signs will always tell you whether there's a Denny's, a Dairy Queen, or a McDonald's at the next exit, but not whether there's any trendy bistros or organic-foods supermarkets. I suppose these foofy places don't expect much business from hurried cross-country drivers. After all, if you're reduced to driving, you're clearly not foofy enough. Everyone knows that the foofy fly, and that the interstates are filled with pot-bellied truckers from Arkansas named Clint who equate "food" with "deep-fried meat."

The United Airlines terminal at O'Hare in Chicago seems to sport at least 25 different Starbucks locations, but you can drive from Detroit to Denver on the interstates and never see a single one. The signs won't tell you which exits lead to Starbucks, so finding one on a cross-country drive requires courage, initiative, perseverence, and luck. These days, it's the essence of the archetypal American experience. Finding a Starbucks from the interstate.

My own personal quest turned out to be a fruitful one. Nearly four miles away from the exit off of I-80 passing through Des Moines, Iowa, we finally broke free from the interstate's cultural imperialism.

Posted by Carey at August 12, 2004 02:18 PM
Comments

Since when is finding a Starbucks breaking free of cultural imperialism? It's more like being "liberated" from the English imperialists by the French conquerors.

Not that Starbucks is French, of course.

Posted by: Heidi at August 12, 2004 02:21 PM

Or, you could have a handy little navigation system in your car that when you enter in "Starbucks" it plots the nearest ones to your location. :) Of course, the car that I had that did that, didn't have room for sleeping bags.
http://journals.aol.com/umlawgirl07/MusingsofLifeLawandGender/entries/278

Posted by: Denise at August 12, 2004 04:56 PM

Starbucks is cultural imperialism defined.

Posted by: Larry at August 13, 2004 03:20 PM

Starbucks (which finally opened its first cafe in my town) isn't very interstate-friendly. No drive-through, not a lot of food, and tends to close earlier than, say 11 PM.

But you could be right, and they could be trying to cheat themselves out of customers and thus maintain a foofy brand image. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

Posted by: Nick at August 16, 2004 01:36 AM

Starbucks (which finally opened its first cafe in my town) isn't very interstate-friendly. No drive-through, not a lot of food, and tends to close earlier than, say 11 PM.

But you could be right, and they could be trying to cheat themselves out of customers and thus maintain a foofy brand image. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

Posted by: Nick G at August 16, 2004 01:36 AM

What do you think about elections?

Posted by: James Lekheto at October 2, 2004 04:42 AM

http://www.artofresistance.org/bush_mosaic/ - fine thing :)

Posted by: Maminov Onopko at October 3, 2004 04:05 PM