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Friday, June 10, 2005

idolatry at Mathis Brothers

Does anyone besides me remember the book Motel of the Mysteries? It was written by David Macaulay back in the late 70s or early 80s, making fun of the discovery of the King Tut tomb and of contemporary American culture. In the book America is drowned by junk mail. Centuries later, archaeologists stumble onto a residence--in reality a standard side of the road motel.

The thing that kept coming back to my mind as the DH and I wrestled with needing to organize our audio/video equipment and wandering with this project in mind through OKC's bizarrely huge furniture store, Mathis Brothers (it's as huge as an IKEA, only with high-pressure car salesmen following you around) was a moment in Macaulay's book where the archaeologists find a skeleton in a bed in a room. The skeleton is facing a television, clutching a remote control. The archaeologist's interpretation is surely this is a moment of profound worship. The person at prayer is facing a representation of a god of the culture. The centrality of the television, the location in the room, all lead him to this conclusion.

I can only imagine what archaeologists of the future are going to conclude from the entertainment centers on display in 2005. Every single one we saw would take up the entire room of our townhouse. Grand carving,, which I can only describe as faux Tuscan, often completed the design.

Of course Mathis Brothers is not alone in carrying the oversized, overstuffed furniture that seems to be our only option at standard furniture stores these days.

(DH and I ended up at the Danish furniture store up the street where we brought an appropriate size set of shelves that meets our needs without creating a temple like quality to our living room. It's so sad that one has to pay more for less, as it were).

5 Comments:

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

I can sing the jingle from the Mathis Brothers TV ads, and thanks to those same ads I might recognize the brothers if I ever saw them in person. Yet based on your and others' comments I don't think we'll ever set foot in the store. Yikes. I'm much more interested in that Danish furniture store "up the street"...

Good luck with the Computer Adjustment Phase. A Windows-XP(-or-whatever) for Dummies book might be helpful?

 
At 3:47 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Well, it's always important to have local cultural experiences like Mathis Brothers, but I think the Danish store is more my speed, too.

Computer seems to be working fine and I've even managed to get photos taken, moved over to my computer and uploaded to Yahoo. Now how to get them in the blog. . .

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger Dawgdays said...

Motel of the Mysteries, what a hoot that was!

I loved the collar and band.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Emily said...

I remember that, too. I can't go into a motel bathroom without thinking about it. . .

 
At 5:53 PM, Blogger Abigail said...

I have a copy of the book! I use it the first week of my world history class to teach the students about bringing bias into our historical investigations. It's hilarious and the kids love it.

 

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