23 January 2015

NFL Religion & Stadia

It's probably a good thing the Vikings stadium will emerge on the edge of downtown.

While a family of four has to shell out a newborn king's ransom to attend an NFL service, imagine the cross to bear if they had to schlepp their hybrid to a soul-crushing suburb like Arden Hills.

I have come to accept that the new stadium will rise from the Metrodome rubble, but why in the name of shady real estate moguls did the Wilfs sign off on an HKS design that looks like a suburban mega-church?

This migratory-bird-killing glass clad pimple is already an oozing carbuncle on the cheek of Minneapolis.
"What is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend."
Prince Charles on a 1984 planned extension to the National Gallery.
But I suppose its fitting that NFL stadia are designed in the image of hideous mega-churches.

It seems the NFL is the new religion. Indeed the NFL is the rebound religion for those floundering flocks repelled and disgusted by some other reality-suspending paradigm they've outgrown.

Scandal-ridden as they are, the beloved Vikings are incrementally less scandalous than the morally bankrupt, financially challenged Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
We shall build our monument of faith and ye shall come. Thus spoketh the brethren of the Vikings front office.
In fall 2016 well-heeled Minnesotans will turn to the helmeted gods of the NFL to suspend reality for a few hours each Sunday and to worship a prolate spheroid pigskin even if its not inflated to the full 12.5 to 13.5 psi.

03 January 2015

Paper is the New Vinyl

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Highland Park, Saint Paul
Closed December 2015
English poet Lord Byron wrote, "A drop of ink may make a million think", which has held true since the 15th century Gutenberg Press.
Johannes Gutenberg was the first European to use movable type printing circa 1439.
The written word thrives, but the form has changed. Mass production of paper books is in steep decline.

The decline of the paper book, the independent bookseller, and the big box bookseller parallels most of my adult life.

Independent Booksellers

Independent booksellers endured a protracted decline. Those that remain seem comforting but anachronistic. The decline was prompted by hyper-competitive big box booksellers, but prolonged by the missionary zeal of ownership and the fierce loyalty of customers.
The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.
Nancy Byrd Turner
My favorite independent, Hungry Mind, operated on Grand Avenue from 1970-2000. Hungry Mind sold the rights to their name in 1999 for a cash infusion. By the following April, it assumed the new name Ruminator Bookstore. Four years hence the Ruminator space was emptied out and replaced with a local branch of the upscale clothier Patagonia.

Big Box Booksellers

Bricks and mortar, big box bookstores are disappearing too. Barnes & Noble in Highland Park closed this past December. The decline of big box booksellers was prompted by better e-commerce tools, better e-readers and by the growing mass-produced and independently-produced digital markets.

Bookish Future

Alan Watts said, "The menu is not the meal" which neatly dovetails with the consumption of the written word. The written word is increasingly consumed in some form of digital text or audio. Collectors of finely crafted traditional paper books will drive a small but burgeoning market of limited edition, hand-printed, hand-bound books.

Ink is disappearing. The digital form thrives. And for collectors and traditionalists,
Paper is the new vinyl.