According to reports, a trendy Chicago suburb voted “the sexiest suburb in America” may be on the verge of banishing from its venues of commerce those not conforming to arbitrarily contrived body aesthetics.
Lane Bryant, a retailer known for marketing clothing to full-sized women, has been denied the opportunity to open a store in a development called “The Village Of Oak Park”.
Before the hypercapitalists decide to slit my throat as they are wont to do whenever anyone dares to question a decision made by big business, it must be noted that the decision to deny Lane Bryant the retail space was not made by a private sector firm or entrepreneur but rather by the committee managing the village, an entity quasigovernmental in nature.
The bureaucratic mouthpiece for the community association told the press that, “Lane Bryant is not the kind or quality of shop that is desire for development,” and, “We want a more broad based retailer benefiting the village, rather than a niche market.”
In other words, “Fat chicks, keep out.” For unless the Village --- a term as almost as nauseating as COMMUNITY as it is usually invoked by an insular elite out to micromangage the lives of those residing in a particular locality --- is planning to open a Wal-Mart or a Target (places these Communitarian types despise even more than the overweight), by definition the retailer would otherwise serve a niche market.
For example, does Oak Park Village plan to offer a men’s clothier? By default, such an establishment would be niche because of excluding women’s garments. Does the Village plan to have an electronics store? By definition, wouldn’t that be a niche retailer since it would not sell groceries?
The rich and snooty thinking it is their place to tell us poor working slobs how to live and how we are not quite as good as they are since the names slapped across our rearends didn’t cost quite as much as theirs will look down their elevated noses and claim that what I describe above has nothing to do with niche retailing. Rather a broad-based retailer would provide raiment for members of the retailer’s targeted genders.
Maybe so, but the person slightly above “average” in size can hardly ever find attrative clothes in these places catering to the malnourished and emaciated. One is often more likely to find the Holy Grail than a decent shoe above a size 12 in many of these places.
In a Chicago Tribune account of the dispute, it is claimed that Villagistas banished Lane Bryant because there was already a place reserved for a full size specialty store. So what?
Is it really the place of a municipal authority or even a residential association to make such economic decisions? Consumers should be the ones to decide whether the market can bear two merchants appealing to a similar demographic. If it cannot, one will eventually fold opening space for a new establishment; if it can, consumers will be all the better off as both venues will compete for customer dollars through either discounts or choices of selection.
All local authorities should do is to make sure the area surrounding the mall is crime free and to eagerly take in any tax revenue to accrue from otherwise free and unfettered commerce. However, it is this idea of consumer choice that the proponents of the “New Urbanism” cannot really stand as they use their cloak of diversity to impose a mandatory conformity.
Many advocating this perspective on public planning are appalled at the idea of the cinema multiplex where moviegoers have a selection of motion pictures to choose from. To the Communitarians, we are to have a limited media so that we are all exposed to the same thing and thus have community thrust upon us through a uniformity of thought. Seems choice is only to be allowed when promiscuous vixens decide to have their unborn children hacked to pieces.
Today, Oak Park Village conspires to retain its distinction as “sexiest suburb” by taking steps to ensure that all those fat people the anti-obesity racket has labeled “unsightly and unattractive” use these facilities at a minimum. What is to prevent them from banning such people all together?
Don’t laugh. Shu Bartholomew hosts an informative webcast called “On The Commons Radio” that catalogs episode after episode the abuses of power and unbelievable petty bylaws endemic to the system of homeowner associations sweeping across the United States like a plague of locusts devouring all the liberties stranded in their path.
On her guest appearance on Freedom 21 Santa Cruz, another eye opening broadcast warning of the dangers of contemporary community planning and the like, Shu detailed the plight of one homeowner that had to have the family dog weighed periodically to ensure that the canine did not go a few ounces over the weight stipulated for pets in the residential association regulations.
What is to stop a similar law or regulation from being promulgated that people over a certain size are not permitted to live in a particular housing development? Ridiculous, those of limited perspective might snap.
But is it? Already various community development authorities are manipulating the rules of the game to attract the kinds of people they want to allow into their own little versions of utopia.
For example, in Hyattsville, Maryland, subsidized housing is being set aside for so-called “struggling-artists” even though hardly anyone else either can afford the dilapidated housing ranging from $300,000 to $500,000 with tax bills over $3000 a year (as Dolly Parton use to quip regarding her own appearance, it sure costs a lot to look so cheap). Another program paid for at public expense around the country gives preferential mortgages to teachers.
Neither artists nor teachers make that much less than us common folks and are often found on the more shiftless end of the labor spectrum. If anything, the members of these respective occupational classes given over to the radicalism infecting much of the intelligentsia have done the most to subvert this great nation over the past few decades.
Those favoring the malnourished look wouldn’t really need to be all that openly hostile initially in their campaign to banish the portly from these oases of optimal nutrition and fitness. In the name of health, municipalities and residential associations could enact rules demanding those living in a certain area participate in COMMUNITY exercise programs and those caught snacking on certain foods or weighing over a certain amount could be forced to pay a fine (or as such assessments are called in the Owellian lexicon) an additional fee.
Already the White House is conspiring to measure the urinary byproducts of dope in various sewer systems around the nation. I am sure some clever chemist could devise some kind of test to determine what kinds of snack foods are being excreted by the eating public.
Once Americans have been conditioned to accept increased dietary oversight, additional measures could eventually be introduced. For example, those refusing to comply with the promulgated standards of body aesthetics in reference to weight despite incurring the established financial disincentives could be relocated to cellulite liquidation centers where, of course, they would never be heard from again.
Some might laugh and say that in America such action would never be taken against those failing to abide by such arbitrary standards. At one time, the very same people said a government agency would never tell a property manager what retailer might set up shop in a private facility or seize a beloved home that’s been in a family for generations just to placate the influential as evident in the threat posed be eminent domain.
By Frederick Meekins
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