Who profits from violence in Oakland? Who bears the cost? (or: Oakland–the vomitorium of the American Empire)
My favorite game to play these days is “spot the end of the empire.”
At the end of the Roman Empire (although the practice pre-dates that, according to one of my Greco-Roman scholar friends), wealthy Romans would eat until they were full, then throw up so they could continue to eat. The term for where they did this was, seriously, the vomitorium. At least that’s what my scholar friend told me.
So, inspired by an episode of This American Life (where the host wondered if the trend of people eating things they knew they were allergic to and then taking vaccines so they wouldn’t die was the modern day equivalent), I started looking for parallel signs of the end of the American Empire. Most of them are fluffy—dog salons and dog bakeries, for example, or maybe that motel made completely out of ice. (more…)