A man in the Mall of America showed up wearing a t-shirt that showed the popular “Co-Exist” slogan crossed out, and the phrases “Jesus Saves” and “Jesus is the only way” on it. He was ordered to remove it by mall security. He was eventually allowed to shop and leave, but Christians are planning to show up to the mall and test their dress code policy with their Christian shirts.
The Mall of America is apparently having a fashion sales event, and all of America is invited. The rest of the world can sit in the uncomfortable seating provided by the media, and eat their popcorn.
In the first showroom, we have racks and racks and racks of brown and grey clothing. No, not fashionable clothing, but sensible, work clothes. Racks as far as the eye can see, and bins where the items are heaped up in great piles. There are a few customers looking over the suits, and there are actually some who are scooping up great handfuls of the trousers and tops, trying to come to grips with what to do with all of them. As soon as someone touches one jacket, another few spring out of the ceiling and waft to the ground.
The designers are all household names – War, Disease, Hunger, Violence, Poverty, the Environment, Hate, Injustice, Greed…the whole heavy-hitting gang. The only problem is that their style is so ubiquitous, their shows so predictable, that the people have tired of their wares. Yes, yes, they have to hear about them all the time, the fashions are inescapable, but…wait…
Up ahead, in the next showroom, there is something happening. It’s SHINY! It’s SPARKLY! You think you need to have it. It’s…something else. Go closer. It’s something that feels dangerous, exciting. It brings up all the primitive feelings – fear of others, protection of my tribe, jealously, anger, fear, danger.
The models flit by in the clothes, and each dress has phrases on it that excite some of the buyers, and enrage the others. The media splash the images all over the walls and ceilings, with loud sounds and flashing strobe. The talking heads yell at you to pick one! Look at this one and how superior it is, look at that one and how terrible and scary it is! The new trendy designers are really not that new – they’ve been repackaging their ideas in shiny, fast fashion for years under the names Religion, Politics, Greedy Leaders and the best seller of all, FEAR.
The difference between the noise levels in the first showroom full of the work clothes of Poverty and Disease and the explosion in the rooms of Politics and Religion is shocking. The frenzy of the latter is so hypnotic and irresistible to all but a few. The clash of the customers, pushing and shoving to get a glimpse of the frock of the day is as endless as the textiles, fonts and weaves of the day. Furs enrage! Emblems of Jesus and Mohammed embracing bring frothing hate! Is Elmo tickling something? Have the gays gone and done it again?
Out of the frenzy steps a man daring to wear the garment with the latest outrage – an unpopular statement by The House of Religion. What? How dare he? Fetch the constables, feed the frothing front row, bring in The House of Religion dancers to back him up, all wearing the rest of the spring collection!
We are better than you! Scream! Frenzy! Hate! Shiny! Shiny! Oooooh!
Meanwhile, back in the first showroom, some reasonable and learned people sigh, and try on their grey work boots in silence. So many suits, so many trousers…