And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was
sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he
hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought,
“doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas
perhaps means a little bit more!”—Dr. Seuss,
How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Across former meadows, rippling plumes of heat levitate above sticky carpets of black asphalt rolled out as patchwork in front of chain stores standing infinitely shoulder-to-shoulder. Their slightly faded Tupperware claddings are mediated by painted courses of concrete block and punctuated by glazed doors whose scarred hand-pulls open to a fluorescent parallel universe selling everything television has to offer. Inside, chrome and gold flicker like Christmas above a sea of manicured marble tiles that appear to nourish the roots of dubious ficus trees whose bark and leaves blur the boundary between life and a plasticized version of it. Fantasmatic arrays of street culture, sex, food, nature, sports, alcohol, and music are available for the commodified self where this season’s lifestyles are on sale, prepackaged and shrink-wrapped.