Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Fast Food Philosophy: When one thinks of the American fast food industry, he or she probably envisions hamburgers, french fries, and soda. Yet there is a great deal more to the multi-billion dollar industry that seeks to maximize sales and minimize costs. Just as Henry Ford developed the assembly line to boost efficiency at the Ford Motor Company in the 1910s, Ray Kroc merely adapted that concept for McDonald's in the 1950s. The ability to mass produce a combination of meat, potatoes, and carbonated soft drinks brought McDonald's to the forefront of corporate America. Nevertheless, it was the booming car culture of the American West, particularly in California, that cemented the idea of "fast food" in connection with "magic motorways." Post-World War II American culture demanded convenience, as people sought to exit the city's core in favor of suburban tract housing along the city's edge. Commuting to work on freeways in one's car became the newest and most convenient form of transportation. And as Aldous Huxley wrote in his Brave New World (1932), "Speed is the only truly modern sensation." Ultimately, the combination of speed, convenience, and efficiency helped solidify the American fast food industry as a consumer staple by the late twentieth century.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Our Best Days: Some might say our best days lie in front of us. But do they truly understand what lies behind us? The best days of Western civilization have passed. When sailors enjoyed limitless views from the tops of ships' masts. Call me nostalgic! Call me sentimental! Call me what you will! At least I will not be medicating my unfulfilled hopes with a green and white pill. It's practical to be realistic and reasonable to be pessimistic. For idealism, in the long run, only makes you caustic. Disenchantment and disillusionment are patently creative forces. Just look at how most existential philosophers choose to frame their discourses! Yet there is serious peril looming on the horizon. And it's not something you can fix with a phone call on Verizon. There will be days of grief and days of strife. The kind of utter confusion which makes you question the general purpose of life. But if we face our future with cautiously optimistic outlooks, then we might as well refocus our collective attention on those grand old Bible books. Because the stakes are too high and we have too much to lose. Unless, of course, you're one of those who fails to choose...