Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thrift Shops: Sex And Conspiracies

Back in December, I did a post [Egyptian Queen, Grace Slick, Beyond Apollo] about how nothing is good any more in pop culture. Nothing.

Monday afternoon I had a talk with a middle-age guy from Poland who told me a conspiracy theory about thrift shops. I’ll get to the conspiracy theory in a few paragraphs. But talking about thrift shops reminded me that a few decades ago Andy Warhol pointed out—in typical Andy Warhol fashion!—that there are things which are worse than nothing:

With everything changing so fast, you don’t have a chance of finding your fantasy image intact by the time you’re ready for it. What about all the little boys who used to have fantasies about girls in beautiful lace bras and silk slips? They don’t have a chance of finding what they’d always looked forward to, unless the girl had just made a trip to the local thrift shop, and that’s worse than nothing.


So Monday afternoon I was talking to a guy from Poland who’s been living in the suburbs here south of Chicago for a few years. He’s very well-connected, very in-touch. I told him I was emptying out my house and I had a lot of my parent’s Catholic memorabilia—mostly old rosaries and crucifixes—that I was trying to donate to an appropriate charity. I asked him if he knew of any. (I think of myself as a gung-ho Evangelical, but the Oliver Cromwell inside my deepest secret soul isn’t Cromwellian enough to just throw away rosaries and crucifixes.) He suggested I talk to a local priest.

But, then he glanced around and stepped closer to me. “You know,” he said, whispering now, “that you shouldn’t take stuff like that to a thrift shop, right?”

I’ve donated clothing to a thrift shop but nothing else. I’d never heard anything bad about thrift shops, however. I said, “Umm, no, I didn’t know that. Why not?”

Thrift shops just throw out Catholic stuff,” the guy said. “The people that own those stores have gotten together and decided that since they have so many Muslims shopping there now they don’t want any trouble so they just throw away Catholic stuff like rosaries.

As a general rule I don’t get into conspiracy chats with people in real life, so I just nodded and wrapped up the discussion.

I’ve looked around the internet and I don’t see any posted conspiracies about thrift shops being anti-Catholic. Maybe this is just a local rumor. Or maybe it’s the start of a new conspiracy theory that will spread. Time will tell.

So, that’s my thrift shop post. I like the Warhol bit best.

1 comment:

Angeline said...

That is a plausible theory, but I have seen Christian items in thrift stores.

At the Salvation Army by you, 75% or more of their employees and customers are Hispanic. It feels as if I'm in a different country in there sometimes.

Do you really think that Mexican Catholics could bear to send a crucifix and decets and decets of Hail Marys out to the trash with the broken ARIZONA and WORLD'S GREATEST AUNT mugs?