Playing The Devil’s Advocate: In Re Black Friday

(Via J.W.S.)

These days it is trendy to sneer at Black Friday and mock those determined shoppers who risk life and limb in search of Christmas bargains. The day is widely held to be the epitome of crass consumerism. And that’s probably true.

But crass consumerism is an affliction of the prosperous. We are fortunate enough to be living in a time and place that is so wealthy that our people stand in line to by crap they don’t need. We live in a nation that has a standard of living that is not only above average in comparison to the rest of the world but to the rest of human history.

In the United States our poor people suffer from obesity and diabetes while starvation is a problem associated with a mental disorder most commonly found in middle and upper-class girls.

Sure, we’re in the middle of an economic downturn. But that’s my point. During the worst economic times most of us have ever experienced, the stores are packed with Christmas shoppers. People have lost their homes, but they aren’t homeless.

So what if we aren’t as prosperous as we were a few years ago? We’re still a lot better off than we could be. I’m not saying you should risk your life by going shopping on Black Friday or engage in crass consumerism. I’m just saying we should all be thankful to live in a country where “remembering the true meaning of Christmas” is even an issue.

There are only 31 shopping days left until Christmas.

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67 Responses to Playing The Devil’s Advocate: In Re Black Friday

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Arthur Silber is at it again:

    Warning: Meanness Ahead

    Let me give you my bottom line right here at the beginning. If you’re a person who writes or speaks regularly about politics at this particular moment in the lamentable history of the lamentable United States, and if you are not “mad, bad and dangerous to know,” you aren’t worth shit. All you are is another prop holding up a constantly expanding, ever worsening system of colossal brutality, oppression, dehumanization and murder.

    • Mary says:

      Chris Hayes’ statement that OFA people “toiled in the trenches of democracy”—- and then, Silber’s statement –yeah, to elect a President with a Kill list.

      Speaks volumes, I think. But we’re stuck with it, and with their voices, for 4 more years.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    And then there is this guy I never heard of before:

    That’s all fine, but there’s a catch, which Freddie DeBoer beautifully described in a New Inquiry review of Twilight:

    Hayes looks out at a burning house and with true moral conviction and unsparing vision, describes it. He then proposes solutions that amount to washing the windows while the building is engulfed in flames…his prescriptions for solving the massive problems he identifies in the book are the typical incrementalism that has constrained the American left for over 30 years.

    Regular readers of this blog will know instantly that what DeBoer is describing here is what I call ‘heat vampire’ liberalism. Rather than quote myself again on what that is, I’ll borrow a nicely concise phrase DeBoer uses for Hayes: “all Karl Marx in description, all Tom Daschle in prescription.”

    • gxm17 says:

      …I don’t think Chomsky gets how Chomsky applies to Chomsky either.

      Fucking brilliant. I need to make a t-shirt with this phrase on it.

  3. It looks as though Obama may too be joining in on the “Crass Consumerism” of America today.

    When years ago, football games went from being called quaint names such as the Rose Bowl, the Gator Bowl or the Sugar Bowl to being named for their corporate sponsors, we should have realized it was only a matter of time before we all sat and watched “The 2012 Bank of America Presidential Inauguration.”

  4. Ugh, sorry for the double links. If you’re more awake than I Klown, please edit. Sorry to ask you to work so early….

  5. fernschild says:

    Every once in awhile, the Klown reminds us that the beer/Country music/cute beer-drinking Country music singer commentary is just part of the draw here. Even politics. There’s a lot to think about in what you wrote, It’s the kind of thing Nana here will use to educate her grandkids, only I would not have said it so well.

  6. Pips says:

    OT. The traditional, socalled ‘Family portrait’ following the recent (failed!) budget talks between EU leaders.

    Notice – apart from the appalingly small number of women! – what’s missing? No one is waving.

    Because, you know, that’s not what the likes of these people normally do, when they get together. Except when some attention seeking ‘celebrity figure’ joins them and instructs them to. :harrumph:

  7. wyntre says:

    (Comment removed by author)

  8. Going to venture out here shortly and shop local small businesses. I won’t get all the gifts- but will get some. My contribution to the local economy lol.

  9. DeniseVB says:

    First review I’ve seen of the Les Miz movie. Can’t wait to see it, even if I suspect the reviewer was paid a great amount to write such a glowing review 😀

  10. yttik says:

    Something else that marks black friday, there are young girls on the street prepared to storm down the doors! This doesn’t seem odd in America, but in much of the world women are so oppressed, it’s actually dangerous for them to gather on the street in a large group. You don’t see many photos of women leading a crowd or doing something frivolous on a public street, except in America.

    Not that women and girls are completely safe in the US, but we do have a legal system and prosecutions that help to deter mindless violence against them. It’s hard to believe, but in much of the rest of the world, women and girls don’t have the freedom to gather in public, mostly because if something happens to them there will be no accountability at all.

  11. DeniseVB says:

    So the Obamas can have a “Christmas” tree, but the rest of us will have “Holiday” trees ? Waiting for fauxrage from the left, heh.

    Whew, glad the “Empress” gave the thumbs-up signal 😉

    • yttik says:

      I’ve started putting up Christmas decorations and American flags. We’re going to be having a very patriotic Christmas this year. Why? Mostly because my Obama loving neighbors hate both Christmas lights and displays of patriotism. I would have just rolled my eyes and let it go, but they actually approached the city in an attempt to ban Christmas lights (a waste of electricity and bad for the environment) and patriotic displays. This weak attempt at authoritarianism triggered my rebellion 🙂 I’m now hoping to save up for some huge inflatables that play music.

  12. elliesmom says:

    My daughter who now has one child in school and one in diapers reminded me the other day of a long ago Black Friday. She was in kindergarten, and the only thing on her Christmas list was a Cabbage Patch Doll. My BFF, who also had a kindergartener, and I had gone from store to store searching for the elusive dolls, which always seemed to have just sold out. One of the stores advertised they would have 200 dolls the day after Thanksgiving so the BFF and I got up and lined up to get in two hours before the store opened. It was a more civilized time, and the store manager went down the line with coupons for the “hot items” people were waiting in line to buy. If you didn’t get a coupon, you could go home and come back later because that day what you wanted wasn’t going to be there. Neither of us got a coupon.

    So we put our heads together and came up with another idea. If you remember the Cabbage Patch Doll didn’t start out as a hunk of plastic. They were handmade. The designer sold the rights to the dolls, which were then “plasticized”. We secured a pattern for the original doll and got together and lovingly made our daughters dolls for Christmas, sewing each strand of yarn by hand to make the hair and embroidering the little faces. Both little girls were delighted – until a little snot in their class had a “Cabbage Patch Doll Tea Party” and told them they couldn’t come because their dolls weren’t “real”. My daughter got over the hurt, but not the memory. She still has her “fake” Cabbage Patch Doll, which she may or may not give to her daughter. It is “hers” she tells me. I think she hopes I will remember how to make another one. But she says one of the best Christmas gifts she ever got was because her mother was a “Black Friday failed shopper”.

    • HELENK says:

      what a wonderful memory you made for your daughter. Every Christmas she can think about HER doll

      • carol haka says:

        By best friend when Ryan was 3, Barabara, was very wealthy. She married a man that was 20 years older than us. He had been a land broker for multiple restaurant chains and then decided to buy up for himself 5the ajoining land next to future malls and build strip shoppings centers on it. That year they had 2 rolls and a huge beautiful house in the neighborhood with Ross P. Their daughter Laura had multiple Cabbage Patch Dolls. My task for I. Laura’s Christmas present was to find the dolls “mink” coat. I did. Years later they lost most of their money when the strip centers become vacant during another recession. Charles was an extremely good man – he died in 1999

        • elliesmom says:

          The latest doll craze, “The American Girl” has a higher buy in cost than the Patchies. The BFF from that long ago Christmas is still the BFF. She and I did a “grandmother tour” of the local American Girl Store. Most of the women in the store the day we were there were definitely in the grandmother demographic. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mink coat there. There’s a hair salon to bring your doll in to get her hair done. It costs more than I pay to have my gray hair cut at Fantastic Sam’s. So far neither of our granddaughters has asked for one of the dolls, but my granddaughter is only 15 months old.

  13. HELENK says:

    judge’s husband was one of the victims. shouldn’t she recuse herself

    • myiq2xu says:

      It is not clear whether he was a victim or not. He was a customer of a company that was hacked and had customer credit card numbers stolen. But that doesn’t mean his was one of the numbers that was stolen. It is also unclear if the judge was even aware of this issue.

  14. HELENK says:

    Several years a go I made memory books for my kids. I go notebooks with pretty covers and wrote stories about each of them when they were kids. I left a lot of pages for them to add stories.
    I also wrote receipe books for them.

    they loved them

    • elliesmom says:

      My father-in-law was the last of the grandparents to still be alive, and he and I made memory books for my kids from all of the boxes and boxes of photographs he had. While the kids love their books, I think I got the best gift that year. All those hours with him and all those stories which would have been lost forever. I wish I had done it with my dad as well, although none of the pictures would have had people with the tops of their heads in them.

    • carol haka says:

      Love it. I am starting to scan all photos next week for Ryan to make his own video with. I will have stories for the voice overs.

    • elliesmom says:

      I seldom shop at WalMart, but that’s mostly because there are other discount stores closer to me. I was there one day when I also needed to grab some stuff for dinner, and the store had recently expanded to include groceries so I picked some stuff up. I was impressed. The meat was nicely trimmed and attractively priced, the tomatoes I bought were the best supermarket tomatoes I have ever purchased, and the bread from their bakery was very fresh. I confess to being something of a grocery store snob, and I’d shop there more often if it were closer. I don’t buy a lot of canned stuff so I don’t know how the prices compare to the other grocery stores around here and that’s where I would guess the volume they can buy in would yield the best deals. But the fresh vegetables were definitely local, which has to be good for the local farmers.

  15. myiq2xu says:

  16. myiq2xu says:

    Unless somebody else has something or there is some breaking news posting will be really light today and probably tomorrow.

    I literally slept all day yesterday. I enjoyed it so much I’m gonna try it again today.

  17. votermom says:

    We went shopping yesterday – nothing big, left around 10am to see what Target and Walmart had. We got some clothes for kid gifts at Target (buy $50 worth of clothes or home stuff and get $10 back before noon) and the kid got a bday gift for her friend at Walmart. The stores were not empty but there were no crowds in our section of the burbs – I guess either we were late enough to miss them or the retailers are in big trouble this year.

  18. swanspirit says:

    Chris Hayes makes my blood brain barrier hurt . He is one of those academics that only ever comments on things he has never done .
    For some of my nursing career , I worked on a fast paced acute care pediatric unit . One of those hit the floor running, and run the entire shift units.
    Once a year for about a week , the head of the nursing department at the local university used to come and “work” on our unit. Yes she had a Doctorate in Nursing and all kinds of qualifications, and letters behind her name .
    When she “worked” she did everything excruciatingly by the book , looking it up as she went excruciatingly slowly step by step.She never got the big picture , and that you had to prioritize and organize for the entire unit. The regular staff used to beg and cry not to have her on their shift . One year i got stuck with her , and at the time I had an 8 month old baby with diabetes going bad on me . I had to recruit two respiratory therapists that just happened to be wandering thru the unit to help me move the baby and the two IV’s to the Critical Care Unit., because MS doctorate never called the supervisor . never called the CCU with report , etc etc . I actually got in trouble for not calling report , but I didn’t care because the baby was ok . I got written up .
    Ms Doctorate got a fellowship to go to Israel for 3 months . She is probably a Palestinian sympathizer.
    Chris Hayes makes my blood brain barrier hurt .

  19. tommy says:

    The Klown is getting lazy, just cos its political-off season. Klown, Jeb Bush is thinking of 2016. What you think of that?

    • angienc says:


      And now we have confirmation that the GOP tanked election day on purpose when they realized that Romney was going to pull it off. Jeb thinks a 2016 ticket of him with Rubio is going to get him into the POTUS seat.

      Good luck with that!

    • myiq2xu says:

      I think I’ll think about that in 2015.

    • 49erDweet says:

      Slush! It’s only laziness if it’s a workday. Let him doze. Think of all the times he’s up before 0 dawn thirty to kickstart the TCH day.

    • gxm17 says:

      My latest Jebphobia obsession is that he’ll run in 2016, be reelected in 2020… and we’ll be stuck with 24 freakin’ Bush years total!

      • elliesmom says:

        If it makes you feel better, if Jeb is elected and re-elected, it would only be 20 Bush years. Bush the Elder only served four. Hope that helps a little anyway. lol

        • DandyTiger says:

          24 years of Bush II, Bush III (O’bush), and Bush III. 🙂 Then if you count Bush I, it’s actually 28 years. But only 24 in a row.

        • angienc says:

          Bush the elder wasn’t *that* bad, IMO. He served his country honorably during WW2, at least and if it hadn’t been for Ross Perot snagging almost 20% of the vote, I think he would have been easily re-elected.

          BTW — have you heard the new stupidity from the Obots? Obama is the first Dem to win 2 terms since FDR getting the *majority* of the popular vote *both* times. Fucking asshats — the Dem party is dead & it isn’t coming back.

        • Angie– and don’t forget, Obama is Lincoln. He’s faced with the same opportunity to heal the nation. That is what that new movie proves I’ve been told.

        • gxm17 says:

          I don’t count Papa Bush cuz I agree with Angie that he wasn’t that bad. (Actually, though far from my ideology, he was a relief after Reagan, IMO.) I do, however, count Obama as Bush Jr. Jr. 😀

    • DeniseVB says:

      Let the Bensmithing begin 😀 Read a good piece that the left is rolling out dozens of potential GOP primary candidates and it’s just a dog whistle to the journOlisters to start marginalizing all of them now for those money quotes for 2016. (Re: Romney’s “47%”).

      It’s never political off-season for the craptastic media hacks 😉

  20. HELENK says:

    $11.2 billion spend in Thanksgiving and blac friday sales.
    down from last year

  21. idebenone says:

    The Celtic Tiger period not only cultivated a world-weary critical attitude, but it was driven by it. The rip-off culture was based on cynicism and the absence of trust. Consumerism itself is propelled by the exposure of the ‘crass’ consumerism of others. All existing traditions and institutions were viewed with scepticism and jettisoned. Neo-liberal capitalism itself is based on the critique of regulation and limitation as an impediment to freedom.

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