The term Black Friday has become synonymous with a plunge in morality, on a day set aside for worship at the feet of the God of Consumerism. Human sacrifice is practiced by those fervent in their beliefs that the Bargain is above all else.
How does this fit in with the Occupy movement which originated in Wall Street, New York, and is now sweeping the globe? It seems the 99% have taken
a day the weekend off.
They say that all things eventually outlive their usefulness, well it seems to me that a number of religious and historical holidays have been hijacked by Commercialism and Consumerism, to such a degree, that the original sentiments behind them, although oft-repeated, ring hollow in a society obsessed with buying into a set idea of How Things Should Be. It’s all become a bit “do as I say, not as I do”. It’s now simply a flat, one-dimensional concept, a scene, that has been marketed to people incessantly, continuously creeping and seeping into homes through every form of media, propagated by businesses, schools, voluntary groups and unknowing, unseeing individuals. Everything has to be just so, we have to eat this and we have to do this – it matters not whether you enjoy it, it must be done because it is the thing to do. How many people who don’t like sprouts eat them on Christmas Day? How did we let it get this far?
I remember Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada this year. My family and I were in the supermarket, grocery shopping. I was scouring the shelves for polenta, having decided to make gnocchi, when I became aware of a low-level, angry hum, like a nest of hives. I looked up to see where the noise emanated from and, at the other end of the aisle, there was a woman, on her knees, peering at a lower shelf and agitatedly pulling packets off it, in a frantic search for something. A quick glance around confirmed that K and the kids were still in the neighbouring aisle, so I sidled closer (as you do) to try to make out what she was saying. What had started as furious, under-the-breath, exasperated swearing, grew in volume as she failed to find what she was searching for. Very soon, the floor surrounding her was littered with packets and the air was punctuated with a liberal peppering of increasingly loud “FUCK”s, in the course of her diatribe about the stupidity of the grocery chain in not ordering enough packets of gravy! GRAVY! That was what it was all about. If she hadn’t been so tightly wound I might have stepped in and given her a crash course on how easy it is to make the stuff from scratch with a little cornflour, but, coming from Britain, where intervention can be met with a number of anti-social outcomes, I decided to forget that idea. I left the hero role to a burly man who engaged with her gently and expressed his solidarity in an effort to calm her down.
How can the whole festivity thing be enjoyable if the pressure is so great that people crack over gravy, or Buzz Lightyears, or some other piece of crap?
It seems that in the case of Black Friday at least, the name has proved to be prophetic.
Happy Holidays Sheep!