Yes my friends it is that most holy of occasions in American life, the annual celebration of Black Friday where others sane an rational people allow themselves to unleash their animal passions on the floors of our greatest retailers and on the internet. We have observed the high holy day of Black Friday where Americans of all races and religious persuasions observe a day of sacrifice to the God of consumerism often spending days in preparation carefully hoarding their treasures in hopes of scoring the best deals at the nation’s leading retailers.
Last night just for fun after going to watch the new Muppet Movie Judy and I decided to just to a drive by a few retail establishments to check on the goings on. We drove by the local Best Buy to see what liked like an Occupy Wall Street demonstration only to realize that the tents and sleeping bags contained those most hearty of shoppers huddled in the cold waiting for the doors of the store to open. Deployed near them was a news van with its antenna up and I imagine with one of our stellar local news babes or dudes out interviewing these stalwart individuals. There were a few places open the most surprising on which I thought was the craft store Michael’s. I could not believe that they were open nor could I ever imagine the vast number of cars in their parking lot. Since I have a panic attack anytime I have to go in that store I cannot imagine why anyone would elect to break the peace of Thanksgiving a day early for that. But then that is part of the mystic of this most holy day of American capitalism and consumerism gone wild.
According to our local news no one has yet been shot, knifed or trampled to death in any of our local retailers though I would image that customer number 201 in line for the 200 available the $199 HDTVs at Best Buy or other retailers with a limited numbers of Black Friday “Door buster” specials are feeling homicidal or suicidal or possibly both about now.
But I hear that in some places the holiday has been celebrated with much more aplomb than our sleepy city. I have read about shootings inside and outside of different retailers, incidents where shoppers had to be tasered by police, pepper sprayed by store security officers or even better pepper strayed each other. I can only image how fun that was for them as they wrestled for all of those really “hot” deals.
I do think that this celebration says something about us now, while many people around the world would be willing to die for a decent meal or freedom of speech we are willing to harm our neighbors because they might be the fist to get the latest gadget for a few dollars less than us. It seems perverted don’t you think? I can’t imagine Jesus or Thomas Jefferson approving such behavior but it is part and parcel of the culture that we are very much a part of and participate in and that means Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street types and everyone in between because whether we like to admit it we like our stuff and we want it for the best possible price, not that there is anything wrong with that…especially if you are a follower of Ayn Rand’s banal philosophy.
But when we let the urges for stuff overcome our common sense and any sense of decency, decorum or love of our neighbor then maybe we have lost our way.
I guess the fact that after Iraq I am claustrophobic and get panicky in big crowds in enclosed areas now makes me less inclined even to try to go to a major retailer today. Maybe that makes it easy for me to say these things with relative impunity since the thought of going out in such crowds petrifies me. I certainly am not trying to be judgmental but when I see people doing harm to each other to obtain things that are more than luxuries for most of the world I think that we need to just step back and look at ourselves.
Look at it we have massive long term unemployment, our country is financially and politically broke and we have people fighting each other and some people actually doing physical harm to others for gadgets made in China or Third World countries by what amounts to slave labor. Not only that we have people in all levels of government and corporate America that promote this culture and make their living off of the people that are committing crimes to get a deal. I think that says something about us and that troubles me. But then I guess I don’t have enough faith in the God of Black Friday.