Leave Black Friday Alone

November 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm Leave a comment

Credit: flickr/tshein

Credit: flickr/tshein

It’s Thanksgiving, and the Internet is aflame with virtue. I’m not talking about the obligatory litanies of gratitude, written by people who are going to cut me off on the highway later today as I’m driving to my parents’ house.

I’m talking about the people showing off their astounding capacity to not “consume” for one day and the even more sanctimonious people telling me to keep it (“it” being my wallet) in my pants tomorrow. “Don’t buy anything on Black Friday,” they say, their most acidic reserves of bile aimed at anyone who would consider patronizing a store that dares to open before midnight.

Talk about slacktivism. All you need to do is not do anything. And then go and do it all the other 364 days of the year.

Why are Thanksgiving and the day after so sacred? It’s perfectly fine to spend Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Presidents Day sizing up deals on washing machines. And what’s wrong with thrift? Wasn’t it the siren song of easy credit that slung some of us—and our entire economy—upon the rocks?

Is it the Black Friday crowds that turn everyone’s stomachs? Are they any worse than the traffic they’ll sit in today, burning the fossil fuels they bought earlier in the week?

Is it the degrading of Christmas, the elevation of the market above the pulpit? In this culture? That snickering sound you hear is Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny laughing at Jesus…and you.

I’m not asking you to hustle out and buy crap on Black Friday. I guess I am asking whether, when you do go out and buy crap on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, you’ll be as interested in the treatment of the workers who manufacture and retail your crap as you were in keeping people from buying it in the first place.

P.S. Could we at least call it White Friday? Have you seen pictures of the CEOs of Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and all the retailers who will be raking in the dough?

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NEWS
- A much prettier website with my journalistic highlights is at lawrencelanahan.com.
- Disappearing Ink released its first album, "There Is No Time and Nothing's Been," in December 2014. It's available on iTunes.
- After almost five years at WYPR, I'm back to freelancing. Editors can reach me at llanahan@gmail.com.
- The Art of Social Critique: Painting Mirrors of Social Life includes my chapter "New Possibilities and Old Limitations of Political Art in The Wire."
- You can still buy my 2004 self-titled EP.

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