Shopping as a Solution to the War on Terror

September 12th, 2007 / 3 Comments

I was visiting the site of the World Trade Center with some friends recently and name across a striking illustration from one of my favorite Stanley Hauerwas articles.

Along the southwestern edge of the site there is a covered walkway that takes visitors to the shops at 1 World Financial Center. This walkway includes several large floor to ceiling windows that look out over the footprint of the WTC. However, covering two–thirds of these windows were huge advertisements for some of the stores in 1 WFC. One add in particular features an idealized, smiling, well-to-do couple and the word “shop”.

So, being who I am I took a picture (actually two as it‘s hard to take a picture of something inside and outside at the same time) and assembled it into what you see below

window overlooking WTC

If you can’t make it out, the quote is as follows:

I think the misery of the American public and the world in which we live can be seen nowhere better than in the suggestion…that we must take up our
responsibilities as citizens and respond to the attacks by shopping.
Stanley Hauerwas, September 11: A Pacifist Response

Comments (3)

  1. Don / October 24, 2007

    How awesome– Christianity and consumerism all in one someday… too bad that in real time that is already a reality. Name it, claim it… prosperity gospel… how awesome to have it all, get all the treasures that make me happy and go to heaven. I am so grateful that I can go get everything I want to fill my emptiness, feel good about myself because I have better and more stuff than those loosers that don’t know Christ– and then at the end of it all– go and hang out in heaven where the streets are gold…. Or am I missing something?

  2. I don’t know how they expect us to feel safe enough to go to a mall to shop when threats like this exist out there….

    Of course, by threat, I am referring of course to Mr. Tancredo. Interestingly, the only thing holding this country together is large scale shopping which props up our facade of a strong economy while we dig an economic grave with shovels bought on credit. This add that you took a photo of Scott perfectly exemplifies the orwellian thought process we are expected to absorb. The couple in the picture is calm, beautiful, smiling, well dressed and utterly confident of their happiness and safety. Meanwhile reconstruction of the buildings destroyed by the worst terrorist attack on this country’s soil goes on in the background. We are made to believe that happiness, safety, confidence will come to us if only we will shop; if only we spend and smile and dress well and not care about anything else, we can achieve the sefl actualization of humanity, and the good ‘ol US of A.

    The jury is still out on whether it is safe to go into a mall or not. Certainly the FBI wants you to be afraid, but shopping mall owners don’t. Its bad for business.

    Malls are safe, but dangerous
    Malls are not safe, but there really isn’t much of a threat
    Malls are unsafe every Christmas, but please, continue to shop normally

  3. Scott Lenger / December 6, 2007 /

    Isaac, I’m not sure whether malls are physically safe, but I think spiritually they’re quite dangerous…almost as dangerous as that Tancredo video.

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Hi, my name is Scott and I design websites. You can see some of them by visiting my portfolio. When I have the time (which is seldom these days) I like to blog about Christianity, especially theology/ethics. If you want to know more you can read my about page or follow me on Twitter.


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