Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TGI (your choice)


This week, amid all the Thank Yous infusing everyone's thoughts and requests, saw a couple of mind numbing events. First, the overkill with the event known as "Black Friday." You'd think by the sound that this national day of consumerism was similar to the Black Monday that brought down the stock market some 80 plus years ago. But no. It's the orgy of conspicuous consumption that officially kicks off the holiday shopping season. It's the day after Thanksgiving. It's the worst in this culture all in a day.
Imagine the mindset that waits in a tent in the parking lot or sidewalk in front of some big box store that features a midnight start time to get a few bucks off something that was marked up 50% to begin with. Do these people have no life? Yup. But wait. There is now evidence that the prices on the same merchandise will actually be better as the big day nears on the 25th of December.
Would some folks trample over people to buy an electronic device that will be outdated before the season next year? Yup. Are they that ignorant? Yup. The great P.T. Barnum, master of illusion said himself, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." Maybe it's a sport? Maybe they really enjoy tearing apart all manner of consumer goods from the backstreets and by-ways of China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, and Thailand. Maybe they really feel good about themselves after eschewing sleep, nutrition, empathy, and fresh breath, to partake in a mass hog feed.
Who knows? The only thing worse than imagining this annual event is enduring the commercials for it. This year they went whole hog and even incorporated the insipid "It's Friday" song. Can I say something nice about this phenomena? Yes I can. To see "Black Friday" is to see this culture at it's very worst.
Which reminds me...New Gingrich is at it again. This time he's offered up the idea that American Public School kids should replace the janitors at their schools. He's for real, honestly. It's a budget cutting brainstorm, but it also insures that we have enough menial workers for the next century. He thinks the child labor laws need revision too. Could he be that disconnected? Fraid so. It certainly gives me pause. How about you? Is he that evil...that uninformed...that insensitive?
Let's see what happens when we try to give him the benefit of the doubt. Well, for one, some Japanese schools end the day with the student body cleaning up. Sounds pleasant doesn't it? And, it has the added benefit of instilling pride in their environment. I can get my head around that. But, unfortunately, that's not what he's saying. He's also suggesting that the #Occupy participants get a job and a haircut. Does he know how many have college degrees and no prospects? Is he that out of the loop. I'd like to know, but what will it take for someone to ask him directly? Aye, there's the rub, not with screened questions and pseudo debates on the Faux network. Maybe somebody will penetrate the illusion before he asks kids to shine his shoes too. You know, given it's the 19th century, Horatio Alger, kind of self-employed, up by your boot straps kind of thing, it's not all that far-fetched.

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