Saturday, November 26, 2011

As Black Friday Goes...

Well, this looks like the annual Black Friday post.  The blog's look has changed, and not for the last time probably.

This year's Black Friday has been characterized by that great new product: pepper spray.  Justifiably famous for its use against Occupy protestors, especially at U.C. Davis (inspiring the Pepper Spraying Cop site and the image above, which is no longer satirical) it has been used today by cops against shoppers, and at least one shopper against all.

Most of the incidents--including tasering and shootings--happened at Wal-Marts or other low-end outlets, testifying both to the desperate straits many in the 99% are in, and to the residual power of consumerism, especially when TV commercials portray the appropriate Christmas gift for young couples as expensive cars. Check Wikipedia and see that this instance of Black Friday is the only one that isn't overtly (as opposed to ironically) a catastrophe. Our society's dependence on consumption is at least as dangerous as its dependence on fossil fuel, and of course the two are intimately related. Yet it is dependence in every sense of the word. And so this Black Friday is both different from the others and exactly the same.

Meanwhile back at the mall: 15,000 lined up at the Mall of America at midnight to raid bargains at 120 stores: "Mall operators estimated that it was the largest crowd ever at the mall, which is big enough to hold seven Yankee Stadiums."  Yet observers observed dolefully that there weren't a lot of bags being carried, so the amount of buying is in doubt.  Which once against provokes the question: is this an economy or is it an addiction?

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