Friday, November 23, 2012
It is always disheartening when the season of giving becomes the season of seizing.
In many dystopian novels, the people are kept in check by a combination of two things. First, there is the threat of punishment, usually severe, for rebelling against the norm established by the State. This was seen in Soviet Russia, where paranoid reigned as any misstep was feared to send a person to the gulag.
But had the USSR included the second factor, perhaps it would still have survived today. And that is feeding the people their basest appetites. In Huxley's Brave New World, the citizenry can ingest soma that keeps them in a happy state; in Bradbury's Farenheit 451, the walls of apartments become giant television screens and people are kept entertained by soap operas and kept away from books.
When I look at the scene above, I am not convinced it is a love of material goods and the alleged pleasure they bring that are causing these people to act as they are doing. Rather, it is the game that retailers construct, the competition, of waiting in long lines against the elements and then fighting the person next to you for . . .
For what? An Iphone? A flat screen TV? Look below - these are thousands lined up for lingerie.
Black Friday is the Hunger Games of retail shopping. A person who would take on a gladiator's stance for a pair of undies is someone who is not going to stop and think about what their government may be doing, who is not going to stop and question whether the State is acting in their best interest. Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the masses. How very wrong he was - in fact, the present State fears religion and seeks to contain it, if not eradicate outright. Consumerism is the opiate of the masses. And even then, it is the consumerism of the impulse buy.
I read an article that reported may low income people do not know what benefits are available to them under Obamacare. The article missed a point - they don't care. It is not on their radar, not until one needs medical care, and even then it is demanded with no thought as to how it will be paid for or who will do that - because it is a "right." I am confident that when the iPhones or bras ran out at the stores above, there were many angry shoppers cursing the retailer for not stocking enough - "enough" being an adequate quantity for them to find their size and color, but beyond that, who cares - because they believe they have a right" to be able to purchase their goods and the evil corporations kept them in line all night.
Until the next sale.
For another great perspective, go see my buddy, Dave Oatney, at his blog.