Saturday, November 29, 2008

This Shit Has Got To Stop


Did you read about the shopper that was trampled to death by the crowds breaking through the Wal-Mart door in New York. Evidently there was a crush (literally) of people trying to get $300 laptops.

It reminds me more of a shark feeding frenzy than a human activity. Or should I say what a civilized human activity should be like. Capitalism has created monsters and I am so happy I was swimming yesterday in a small eddy at a holiday market in Angel Fire.

Christmas as celebrated in the United States is a creation of department stores to increase sales during a normal slow time in their economic cycle. It certainly worked. Now shrines to capitalism like Wal-Mart make the lion's share of their yearly sales between Black Friday (very appropriate color given the shopper's death) and Boxing Day or the day after Christmas when large crowds descend for the 50% off holiday merchandise and returns of unwanted gifts.

Evidently not everyone upon realization of the recession we are in re-evaluated what was important about the holidays. No, this is not one of those religious blogs, and if it were it definitely would not be a Fundamentalist Christian blog. But a great many world religions do have a major "holy day" around this time of year going back beyond Stone Henge no doubt. And before the United States department stores capitalized on it this time of year was seen as a time for spiritual renewal, bonding with those closest to you, examining of our lives and dedication to better ourselves, and standing in awe that after the shortest day of the year when the sun seemed to stand still the daylight increased. None of that translates into whether you get one of the limited availability $300 laptops - or die trying.

You do know that sharks often die in feeding frenzies? Once they all gather and devour the original batch of food they often go for one of their own accidentally or on purpose. Sharks are survivors but they have not developed an elevating culture that we have been able to discern. I have my doubts right now about Americans. And quite frankly I think we need a depression to re-think our values.

In the 60's when I was into shaking off my parents' conspicuous consumption I hadn't a clue what capitalism would get to be about. I would like to apologize to them now, wherever they are. A new car every two years because the ash trays were dirty sounds oh, so reasoned in lite of dying for a Game Boy.

The local weekly paper has a question of the week feature and yesterday it was my turn to be asked I guess in the great rotation of things. The question was, "What are you looking forward to most this holiday season?" My answer was being with my sister, her husband, and my best friend down in Cedar Crest for a few stolen days. Simple joys.