Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Black Friday

The evolution of Thanksgiving Day and the day after:

The Pilgrims, befriended by native peoples feast together and give thanks.

Thanksgiving becomes a national holiday, a "high feast day" of our common American civil religion.

People of many religious traditions give thanks to God in diverse ways in a pluralistic culture.

Thanksgiving evolves into T-Day, Turkey-Day for feasting with family.

The feasting moves toward football and nap, except for those who do the dishes.

Thanksgiving Day merely the prelude to a higher holy day of Black Friday, initiating the season when retailers depend upon shoppers to move them into the black on the balance sheet.

Black Friday begins earlier and earlier, some stores open at 4:00 a.m.

The mission is to shop, buy, and participate in conspicuous consumption.

Although Black Friday is for the purpose of people buying gifts for others for the religious holidays to come, over 50%, perhaps as high as 73% of sales are for "self-gifting."

Two days are devoted to over-indulgance.

The economic crisis of 2008 causes people to re-assess the common American creed of "In debt we trust."

Stores needing to have a good Black Friday in 2009, provide a "convenience" for shoppers, many opening Thanksgiving Day afternoon.

Stores put out a list of safety guidelines to keep people from being hurt, or killed in the dangers of the day, including how to move toward a safe aisle, and to remain standing upright if a stampede begins,

Where do we go next?

For what and to whom do we give thanks?

A New York based StoryCorps, associated with National Public Radio suggests an alternative: a National Day of Listening, a time to listen to the stories of relatives and friends and to record them to share. To whom did you listen on November 27?


Marvin Havard said...

What an accurate description of what has happened to the holiday. We've lost much of the understanding of Thanksgiving as an action and way of living.

To whom did I listen? I had the privelege of listening to the stories of a wonderful family in my community. I like this idea and will use it with my congregation.

Thanks for the post!

Bryant said...

Every sin is a distortion of something good and holy, and there's nothing more dangerous than the self turned in on itself under the guise of thankfulness and generosity. I hope I don't sound cynical here, because I love the holiday season (hopefully for the right reasons), but based on our track record as human beings and Americans, it comes as no surprise that the best things in our culture are slowly overrun by overindulgence and greed.

I like the idea of a National Day of Listening, but I can't help but think that in 50 years we could probably have that distorted into something commercial and meaningless as well. "As far as ideas are concerned, Americans can be counted on to do one of two things: take a good idea and run it completely into the ground, or take a bad idea and run it completely into the ground." - George Carlin