Saturday, November 24, 2012

America's Black Friday Monsters and A Holiday Diminished

Thanksgiving is typically a time for friends and family to come together and share in a feast. They express their thankfulness for the good in their lives and for each other. It's usually a positive and passive event. Unfortunately corporate greed has found a way to ruin this holiday by playing to the greediest, basest side of humanity.

The day after Thanksgiving, "Black Friday" as it's known, and the weekend which follows up to "Cyber Monday," another consumer day of shame, have become more important to Americans than their holiday of gratefulness. No longer do the people of this country seem to have a respect for acknowledging the good in life. Instead they constantly play at grabbing each other's wallets through the guise of one-time sales and "Must have" items. The people abandon their families (or worse, they drag their children along) to run out into the cold night to wait in store lines, like religious zealots running to temple to light the offering pyres. This year they've gone shopping on the holiday itself. They disregard a time of reflection upon the finer points of existence with the people they care about the most to rush about assaulting their fellow citizens for the last item of tremendous pseudo-rarity. One might say that Americans have sullied the word "holiday" like they've sullied the word "patriotism."

What many of them don't seem to understand, or horrifically, what they understand but manage to ignore, is that they're surrendering themselves and forsaking what one would hope is truly important to them to bow to the whip crack of their corporate masters. Corporations prepare all year for their chance to convince the impressionable populace that they're offering them rare discounts on items they've hyped to the point that Americans believe those things will give their lives greater meaning or value. People are admitting their stupidity by flying out to the local (insert name here)-Mart to buy things they might never use just because the sale has been inflated in importance to seem irresistible.

This corporately advertised rarity is, of course, false. It's akin to the comic publishers of the 1990s who would release several versions of a book and spread the word that the limited print versions would one day be worth enough to pay college tuitions. Those promises didn't pan out, naturally, and the comic industry suffered greatly. Granted, their tactics happened within a small community where many were in a position to see the damaging nature of such fake value. Corporations who plaster the email inboxes and mailboxes of the people of America are no different than Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 90s. Except their tactics are better veiled and employed in such a way, on products which have been hyped by playing on consumer insecurities, that people are for the most part incapable of detecting any foul play. When will a great attention be called to this? When will people wake up? When will the floor fall out from beneath these corrupt, money-hungry corporations?

If you're reading this and you don't completely agree, or outright disagree, then please try this. Watch a "Black Friday" commercial. Let's use the Best Buy commercial below. It completely employs the tactics I've mentioned above, and it goes as far as to insult the average person, assuming that person has considered the cons of "Black Friday," by pointing out their hypocrisy and impressionability. How can you not be insulted by this commercial? Why would you give this company your money? Why would you, if you have considered the horrible nature of such a period of corporate greed in the first place, not look at other companies and assume the same?

It's time to think, America. Don't act. Think. Why do you let this happen to yourselves?

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