Morgan Spurlock, he of Super Size Me fame, has a new project. He's asking you, Internet user, to help him assemble a panoramic photo of Times Square . . . but with all the advertising scrubbed away. Because that's the first thing most of us think when we visit Times Square. Golly, if only this place looked more like Pyongyang!
I'm also not sure what point he's trying to prove. Wait. I mean I very much know the point he's trying to prove. It's just absurd. The aim of the project is to appreciate the glory of Times Square without those crass accouterments of commerce . . . that made the glory of Times Square possible. (Spurlock seems to have gotten the idea from Sao Paulo, Brazil, which banned outdoor advertising in 2007.)
If you think I'm exaggerating Spurlock's commie sympathies, here's a fun passage from his 2005 book, Don't Eat This Book:
Right now, I'm planning a trip to Cuba. I want to experience the country and its people before that Pandora's box is opened there. Because you know after the day Fidel dies, the shipments of American consumer crap will come flooding in.
Maybe that's what this project is all about. It's so that when the damnable day comes that the Cuban people are finally afforded personal, political, and economic freedom, Morgan Spurlock will still be able to visit a magical place where the buildings are bare, the nights aren't littered with neon, and everyone suffers quietly—but equally—in poverty. If only, sigh, on his computer.
My 2006 Reason piece explaining why Morgan Spurlock and values crusader Ben Shapiro are the same person here.
BONUS: A reader sends this fascinating article from the Wall Street Journal about zoning laws in Times Square. The garishness is actually mandatory.