Black Friday

James, you ought to discover some day
that words have an exact meaning.”

Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged, 1957

Dagny Taggart made that remark as a sarcastic reminder to her brother that the words one chooses can reveal a lot about the speaker’s character. This post isn’t called “Black Friday” because it’s about today being the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season, or because retailers everywhere hope that today will be the beginning of the sales trend that will help them to end the year with their “books in the black,” but rather because of what I see as a darker, unrecognized revelation behind the choice of the word “black” in both cases.

In my What – Me Worried? post, and again in that post’s revised edition It’s That Time Of Year Again, I said:

“Once again it’s that time of year when the red-suited storm troopers have come to hold our loved ones (and nation) hostage until we bankrupt ourselves fulfilling their ransom demands. However, I think that perhaps their masters will be disappointed this year, due to the fact that their previous ad-induced bling-bling flings have already pretty well deflated the bubble. Can anyone please explain to me why everyone is so surprised to find that the banks, including the little piggy, are empty, considering the deranged and frenzied spending binge we’ve been on for the past few years?”

And now, with everyone being sated from yesterday’s feeding frenzy and filled with a lust to spend inspired by weeks of impending sales notifications (not to mention the not-so-subtle reminders that our loved ones are depending on our generosity), I thought I’d take the opportunity offer a gentle reminder of where we actually came from, and how we got where we are, in the hopes that we’ll all take it easy and, for once, actually enjoy the holiday season ahead.

I want ice water.

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13 thoughts on “Black Friday

  1. Not sure us brits will get all the subtlety in that sequence, but I think we get the general message!

    I have ranted in the past about “Being done by Xmas”, keep up singing out the message boss.

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    • Being of mixed African-American, Native-American, and Irish/Scottish-American heritage, I’ve spent my entire life wondering if there’s anything in my roots that I could be proud of. Mostly what I’ve found in the past is a lot of blood lust. Philosophically, replacing the lust for blood with a lust for green should have been a good thing. But while you can take the spears and arrows out of man’s hands, it’s a lot harder to remove them from his heart.

      Hey, I just woke up. Foggy philosophy is the best I can do! 🙄

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    • Oh my, I do love buying things. It’s especially great when I can disguise my “bling-bling” flings as doing good deeds for the benefit of others. But how we manage to convince ourselves that we’re “saving” money in the process is beyond me. Somehow, I’ve never been able to manage it! 😯

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    • Same in the uk !

      [Anita and I used to delay buying some of our ‘big’ presents for each other until Boxing Day then blow the money we’d saved on a slap up meal – or bottles of booze 😆 ]

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  2. Is it only me that finds something ironic in the idea that americans spend a whole day expressing satisfaction and giving thanks for what they’ve got – then spend the following day fighting one another to get even more things ? 🙄

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  5. That’s a good point about the use of the term “black”. In truth, there are no black, white, red, or yellow people–everyone in the world is of the same color. The only differences are in the shades of this universal skin color, which depend only on the amount of melanin in our skin.

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  6. Pingback: “Black” Musings… | I Want Ice Water

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