"The shopping mall is as American as whaling on an apple pie with a baseball bat, so you probably wouldn't guess that its inventor was an Austrian socialist named Victor Gruen. Landing in New York in 1938 after Austria and Germany had gotten a bit too "Hitler" for his Jewish tastes, Gruen looked around and decided that he loved just about everything about his new home, except maybe for its suburbs, considering them butt-ugly wastelands with no community. The shopping mall was his plan to civilize that motherfucker. Gruen envisioned a giant building that would house a bunch of shops under one roof and also feature sculptures and music so people had somewhere nice to get out of their stupid cars for a while and actually talk to each other. And buy all the things, of course, or the project wouldn't get funded, but that was beside the point for Gruen. The mall he envisioned was the center of a whole "shopping town," a more sociable and European-like community with schools, parks, and theaters in all the right places. When his Southdale Mall opened in 1956 in Edina, Minnesota, it made the local suburbanites feel like goddamned pharaohs. Noooo! You Maniacs! So how did the mall go from Little Vienna on the prairie to somewhere zombie hordes congregate when they're feeling metaphorical? Mostly a change in tax laws. In the 1950s, the U.S. government finally acknowledged that stuff breaks down, allowing businesses to set aside some tax-free money for a rainy day. This meant that complex, money-eating projects like shopping malls suddenly became much safer investments. Soon, greedy ripoffs of Gruen's vision sprouted everywhere, and because of the lack of risk, they said "Screw you" to the man's financially sound and aesthetically pleasing socialist vision, instead wanting their shopping malls to be bigger, gaudier, and built on the cheapest land you could buy, way, way outside of town. North Dakota wasn't even a state until people built a mall there in 1958. America had Temple of Doom-ed the heart of downtown from the suburbs, leaving just a "gigantic shopping machine." Years later, Gruen distanced himself from the modern shopping malls, commenting on them bitterly: "I refuse to pay alimony for those bastard developments." Man, how do you think he felt when, after coming back to Vienna, he discovered that the city had just acquired a brand new shopping mall? That wasn't a joke." Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_2150...their-inventions-turn-evil.html#ixzz3B8hb44jD Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! So European!