I admit it – I am a big fan of having the last word. I fight with words, not fists, and I can be very tenacious in an argument.
My role model and narrative voice in my head when I’m in a fighting mood is Julia Sugarbaker from “Designing Women”. Julia never screamed or swore or went Jerry Springer on her targets. She would just lower her voice, and her glasses…..and then scorch the earth around her and tell her victim to go to hell in such a way that they would whimper, nod and start digging the hole to get there.
There’s been a lot to make me furiously angry this week. And it’s hard to walk away when you’re angry, isn’t it?
In Chicago, there’s been a big fuss over the Macy’s department stores. Macy’s took over several regional department stores in 2006, and most of those transitions seemed to be accepted by the communities they were in.
Except, of course, for Chicago. Here, we have people still protesting the name change from Marshall Field’s nearly two years after the change. And for years, I’ve been shaking my head at them. How silly can they be? What a bunch of losers! It’s done! Fields is dead!Why don’t they just walk away????
But it struck me this week that the reasons behind that controversy have some strong parallels to what I write and talk about here.
Few of us that write about soaps have had a great deal of positive things to say lately. And there’s the General Hospital paradox. I don’t think you’d find a show that is so vociferously hated, berated, and inundated with criticism from its fans as GH. (And I can’t blame them – the show is a nearly unwatchable mess.)
My question is, if we hate these shows (or what they have become) so much, why the HELL are we still watching?
The answer, I suspect, is the same as the Macy’s protestors.
For them, there’s an emotional connection to Marshall Field’s, and it’s one they want to keep alive. Never mind that department stores are a dying breed (sound familiar?) or that unless they change, they can’t be anywhere as profitable as they once were (ditto).
Never mind that some people think that a department store is outdated as a concept, or too expensive, or only for middle-aged housewives. (Deja vu yet?)
They remember a time before mergers and changes in owners, where going there was an experience, where the sights and smells and the textures of what you saw and felt would stay with you for days. When quality automatically generated quantity, and cheap, tacky fixes were unheard of.
I understand now that they want those days back. Just like those of us who love soaps, remember what they were, and know what they still can be want those halycon days back, too.