It’s painfully obvious that we here at Metropolis live in a parallel universe. There’s the designed world of fuel-efficient Smart cars, prefab houses (made of recycled materials), and Slow Foods—and then there’s America, home of gas-guzzling SUVs, hideous McMansions, and 64-ounce “Double Gulps” from 7-Eleven. None of this is particularly new: America has always been about big cars, big dreams, big buildings, even big ideals.
Now we’re not necessarily opposed to all things big. During the long hours of magazine production we’ve been known to succumb to the temptations of an occasional Big Mac. We live in a big city. We tackle the occasional big book. We’re suckers for the newest Big Ideas. So our beef here isn’t with the notion of bulk per se but with the recent introduction of scary new dimensions to the concept. Because today there is big, and then there is ginormous: already big objects made—through sheer force of marketing chutzpah or ideological hubris—even bigger. But as the American waistline expands faster than the national debt and gas exceeds $3 per gallon, we wonder if this continuing obsession with size isn’t some sort of national psychosis. Take a look at the objects shown on these two pages…and think small thoughts.