And Yet Another Black Friday

It’s time for my annual “Black Friday” rant. If only those with ears could hear!!

I have posted this piece before, but in light of the fact that we now have a mega-holiday that a character in one of the comics I enjoy calls “Hallothanksmas,” and given also that advertisers are now calling November “Black Friday Month,” it seems especially appropriate since we are about to see the ugly face of commodified Christmas close-up once again. The more things change the more they stay the same! I have added a few pithy comments to this version.

The headline read “Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers.” In an effort to have a better chance to get at the cheap electronics Walmart was using as a lure to get shoppers into their stores this holiday season, a woman pepper sprayed about 20 customers who were in her way. Except for the talking heads on Fox News who think this is perfectly acceptable behavior, everyone is in a dither — but for many of the wrong reasons. Out-of-control shoppers are a worry, but the whole marketing ploy that begins before Thanksgiving [Halloween?] is the larger problem.

We do live in a commodified culture, as Robert Heilbroner told us many years ago, but our values are clearly out of kilter when money and the things that money can buy become the main focus of an entire nation at a time when the theme should be “peace On Earth.” If we take a commodified culture preoccupied with possession of things, combine it with an immense advertising machine that works buyers into a frenzy prior to Thanksgiving, it is no wonder that things like this happen. We shouldn’t be surprised; clearly things are out of focus when money becomes the center of one’s life. Citizens who bother to go to the voting booth any more are there to turn around a weak economy, tighten the purse strings. That has been the rule for some time now: vote out the bastards who are taking money out of my pocket; when you retire move somewhere where the taxes are lower. The real issues, like the spread of nuclear weapons (25,000 world-wide at last count) and the damage we are doing to the environment in our determination to raise our already obscenely high standard of living, are largely ignored.

Christmas should, of course, be a time for reflection and thought about others. In this country, and other “developed” countries around the world, it has become a time to get that 30% of the yearly profits that keep the engines of commerce running. It is understandable, since business has become the cornerstone of our culture. But is it necessary to point out that the ideals of business are antithetical to the ideals of the one whose birth we presumably celebrate next month? The fact that a woman in California would pepper-spray her way to the cheap electronics in Walmart is simply a sign of the times and a clear indication that we need to rethink our priorities. But we won’t.


12 thoughts on “And Yet Another Black Friday

  1. Sigh … where to start? I fully agree with your ‘Black Friday Rant’, and I am disgusted by the whole thing. For the record, I have never once in my 68 years gone shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. In part, that is because I am exhausted on that day, having usually spent 8-10 hours in the kitchen the day before. In part, it is because I truly cannot cope with crowds of people pushing & shoving, many wearing scents that set my asthma off on a tangent. And in part, it is because I resist, to the extent it is possible, putting more dollars into the hands of the greedy capitalists who own our government. I like to buy online, from crafters and small companies that actually appreciate my business. When I read of the woman pepper-spraying her way to the over-priced item she ‘simply must have’, I am reminded why I am coming back next time as a wolf. Some days I don’t much like people. Good post, Hugh … and very timely! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Our friend Hugh sums up my own feelings about the ‘Black Friday Mania’ that for many defines the day after Thanksgiving, when some people I know stay up all night and actually spend hours in the cold waiting outside the doors of a store, simply to be the first to get that “whatchamacallit” that’s on sale (though the retailer and manufacturer are still making money from it). Thanks, Hugh, for this timely piece!

  3. Last Paragraph noting.

    Which is what happens when a Civilization substitutes the movement of the Moon and Seasons, Motion of the Solar System through the Constellations as observed, and the great History of our Human Race. We become Sleep Walkers on a plane of existence hardly worth noticing, not noticing IT ourselves, and not a whit set-apart from every impulse we can know or indulge as being flotsam on the current of Time.

    And so it goes, an Ever Return of Life.

  4. ERL…it’s an Ontological theory for Consciousness based on the Physics of Time (there being only one, which amounts to none as WE perceive IT). Based on Einstein’s “Breadcrumbs,” or Letters among associates in the Experiment that is Human History in the round.

  5. Hugh, while you will not find this body in a store on Black Friday, we should remind ourselves only the leas tolerant will make the news. I like to believe the significant majority of folks don’t show their hind end like the newsmakers. Keith

  6. Dr. Curtler,

    Your anti-Black Friday post is worth sharing EVERY year.

    My wife and I avoid the Black Friday nightmare, not simply because it is crowded and chaotic, but because it is soul-draining. Commodity fetishism on display.

    Instead, we stay at home making soup and sandwiches from the Thanksgiving leftovers. Then we share them with the family members who stop in over the weekend.

    Warm regards and best wishes to all.

    Jerry Stark

    • We avoid the confusion as well. This year we will celebrate Thanksgiving a day late. But restfulness is the key in any event. I hope you and yours have a restful and peaceful Holiday season.

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