Walking to downtown Silver Spring today I see the entire public area in front of the Civic Center taken over by some goddamn Cars 2 event sponsored by State Farm in which hundreds of parents are standing in line with their kids to get a glimpse of those "adorable" cars from Cars, or something like that. Anyway, I start thinking about how everything goes to hell, just like Tom Waits said. I mean, here I am, in Silver Spring, a great city, diverse, progressive, open, cultured... well, maybe we should scratch that last one. Maybe it isn't very cultured anymore, or maybe it never was. I can't really say.
I love the AFI Silver Theatre and the films it gives this community a chance to see but the downtown area is turning into some kind of fucking corporate variation of a Disney universe, just like Time Square in New York. Seriously, I'm walking downtown with my wife for a drink and I get bombarded with some candy-coated bullshit paraded into town by Pixar, the studio where imagination and creativity go to die. But this isn't about the dreaded Pixar so much as how utterly soulless downtown Silver Spring is becoming (hmmm, maybe it is about Pixar).
Noodles and Company. Ben and Jerry's. Red Lobster. Macaroni Grill. And they're packed! Actually, I'm happy about that because that's good for business. I mean, hell, I like a thriving community and the central Downtown section of Silver Spring is thriving. They turned it around and now the city has a nice robust economy.
But can we just stop there? Do we have to keep going? Do we have to let greed consume all?!
Silver Spring keeps buying up the next street, and the next and the next like a Zardoz god-head with an ever increasing appetite for grain. Every street with any kind of local flavor gets bought up and ousted so a new high rise can take its place. Now they've bought up Bonifant Street, a great and diversified street that has everything from a used bookstore and tattoo parlor to an Ethiopian cafe and a gun shop! Wow, I can hardly wait until those shops get replaced by a high rise with a TCBY Yogurt in the lobby. Hey, Silver Spring, FUCK YOU!
I don't even want to think about the desperately limited imaginations of the white bread wonders in charge of making these screamingly beige decisions. The same folks, I would assume, who believe that Avatar and Up are the apex of art cinema.
It's okay, I guess. I've got Wheaton and the People's Republic of Takoma Park just around the corner and that's where I'm spending my time these days anyway. It's just too bad that people can't accept a thriving downtown and say, "This is good. We've done it and now we're finished." They have to keep going and going until it all looks like every other goddamn whitewashed city in every other goddamn state in America. It's too bad. I guess everything really does go to hell.