Saturday, December 23, 2006

Inflation Is Up

I’ve been noticing strange things this season, apart from the West Coast-like climate (which is itself experiencing an Ontario-like December. Sends chills, but I digress.). Inflation is up. Everywhere. And it’s getting weird.

First, a house on my street has a roughly ten-foot snowman on it’s four-foot “lawn.” Ok, I think, cute, but obnoxious. Whatever. Then I’m walking to a party and encounter an inflated merry-go-round featuring Santa, a snowman, and Rudolf. Motorized. Not ok, not cute, and definitely obnoxious.

What the hell?

And it’s not just the east end or just Toronto. This damn scourge has spread across North America! Why? It’s not attractive or funny, and by definition not innovative or creative. And if everyone’s doing it, it’s not cool. So, what motivates someone to put an inflatable anything on their lawn or roof?

Perhaps the New York Times can provide a clue: “The magic of the Airblown is that you buy it, plug it in, and it’s ready to go,” said Sharlene Jenner, the marketing manager for Gemmy, a company that first made its mark six years ago with a wall-mounted singing fish known as Big Mouth Billy Bass, and began making Christmas floats soon after. “You’re going to make a big statement without 20 hours of work. It’s a lot of decoration for the dollar, in other words.”

Ah, it’s all about convenience and “making a statement.” Of course, that statement is the same damn one everyone and their frigging dog is making…but who wants to stand out from the crowd?

From the same Times article: “A grand tour of some of Long Island’s most ambitious Christmas displays suggests that the inflatable decorations are scarce in lower-income neighborhoods, but they are also rare in pricier places, where the culture of understatement seems to rule: white lights twined with fresh evergreen sprigs, etc.”

I would have to agree with the less-is-more school of thought on this one. I’ve seen the simple strings of light on nearby low-income apartments and I think they hold the same beauty as the simple strings of lights and evergreen on neighbouring high-income houses.

And a simple tug on the power cord will resolve the inflated issue for one night.

Now, about the mechanized carol-singing, hip-swinging snowman at the restaurant at the end of my street. Maybe a call to David Lynch is in order…

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