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Screw Black Friday and everything about it

Much of modern Christian ethics are oriented towards convincing that your middle-class life that is a life of privilege to most of the rest of the world and is completely unsustainable long-term is actually a reasonable, rational, responsible, humble lifestyle that God has given you.

Our economy is very much structured around the Christmas shopping season. A good season means the stock market goes up. A bad one means the market craters. Getting the right products on the shelf makes the difference between your store surviving to the next Christmas season and bankruptcy. And the right expensive toys substitute for familial love. Even if you 'have everything,' this just means that the people giving you gifts need to figure out how to get you something special.

I'm also a bit bitter because more than once, there was a layoff conveniently scheduled right around the Christmas season, such that I had to postpone my shopping until it finally hit. I've got some negative associations building up over the year. Especially the one where my boss was supposed to subtly let me know that I wasn't on the list because they really needed me to stay... but confessed much later that he kinda forgot. I won't forget that one for a long long time.

And, honestly, I've got a lot of material goods. Too many. I need less. And the things I do want are all fairly expensive and/or specialized. Which means that I'm actually pretty annoying to buy presents for and every year I have to think long and hard about what should be on my Christmas list.

And the unobserved Buy Nothing Day, otherwise called Black Friday, is hell. Everybody drives to the mall to buy the latest things. Given the modern art of manipulating the mass media, this means giant sales where the large stores try to screw over customers without them realizing it by offering a limited number of whatever the hot item is at a low price and then otherwise selling a bunch of worthless crap at discount prices. I realized very quickly that it's unlikely that I'll get something I really want as a screaming deal on Black Friday.

Also, it's OK to kill people if they are in the way between you and a perceived screaming deal. Or pepper spray, but Fox News tells me that pepper spray is just a food item and I shouldn't feel outraged in the slightest that Occupy protesters are pepper sprayed but that people who camped out in front of stores aren't.

Some people are complaining about how a day that was supposed to remind us of the birth of Jesus.. and note that there's no documentary evidence for a date of his birth even in the bible, just that it probably didn't happen in the winter... has become co-opted to a god-less holiday of excess. About how our Christmas cards now say something non-offensive like "Happy Holidays" so you can cover New Years and Hanukkah and Kwanza and other important dates non-offensively.

I do know some people who have worried about where their next meal would come from, where Christmas is little more than a reminder of what they don't have. As in, personally chatted with them instead of seeing them on the streets begging. And it bugs me so deeply that I understand my brain is constantly generating giant walls and personality structures to prevent me from being stuck in my room all day crying. At a few points in my life, I started thinking that I was actually entitled to the privileged bullshit that I live in, and I was really obnoxious during those times... and I really regret being like that.

I think, if you want to take back the season, you'd start by telling everybody that their consumerist-oriented lives are already too materialistic and you've given a giant fucking donation instead to people who would actually like a present because nobody else is fucking going to buy them one instead of complaining that none of the holiday cards mention Jesus anymore.

As far as I'm concerned, that's what Jesus would have done. I do not claim to have slavishly built my life around the bible or Catholic teaching, but I take parts of the bible very very seriously. You will presently discover I can tell you my interpretation of the passage where Jesus reminds his followers that "whatever you do to the least of my number, you have done to me," but cannot remember chapter and verse of the bible (I looked it up. It's Matthew 25:40, in case you were wondering). I leave the mental effort of keeping a top-25 list of biblical passages to use as a red herring in discussion to the self-important.

I'd start this year, but I've already done enough to disappoint or annoy or just plain forget to call various folks that they'd probably just figure I was going through one last swing on the road to becoming non-functionally mentally ill. The irony of this is not lost on me.

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