Friday, July 24, 2009
it's the real thing
i guess this makes me a little sad. when ann & i were in india we saw lots of these places. right down the dirt road from the japanese monastery we stayed at was a row of these coke houses that sold bottled water & trinkets &, if you had the balls to eat from a place like this, small freshly fried snacks. one of our companions, a beautiful german man, did have the balls & spent most of the trip near death in his room.
i guess the sadness would come from this symbol of america being ubiquitous in a third world country, tho i'm not sure that's it. i mean, who doesn't know that american capitalist imperialism has made inroads to the most obscure, isolated places in the world today? i wouldn't be gobsmacked if there were stuctures like this deep in the amazon rain forest, rusting away. no, i think it's less about the exploitation & more about the inescapable quality of our myriad images of america. there at the place of the Buddha's enlightenment, at a place that was totally lost to history as late as the late 19th century, the full monty of signification registers w/each & every western visitor. travel as far as you want, inwardly or outwardly, & you'll still come face to face w/the world's temptations represented by american products. i guess that IS the real thing except rust never sleeps & what's real today is gone tomorrow. so it goes.