Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Forget Consumerism… Save Thanksgiving! Parts 2, 3, 4, 5…Ad Infinitum

The Sacrificial Lamb!

Well perhaps the heading above is not quite correct. Perhaps instead of “the sacrificial lamb” I should say the sacrificial turkey. And perhaps what I mean by “sacrificial turkey” is…. You! (Gobble, gobble?). Well, not YOU the reader, but you collectively – or “we” collectively – as the Black Friday consumers.
Believe-it-or-not, there are some “sacrificial consumers” out there in consumer-land! Did you know that there are actually fatalities associated with this mad, MAD consumerist day known as Black Friday? Seriously, no kidding! Just Google “Black Friday tragedies.” If you do, you might find something that looks like this:

·         Wal-Mart Worker Dies in Rush
·         Two Killed at Toy Store
·         Three Die in Black Friday Tragedies
·         Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death
·         Unborn Baby Crushed in Wal-Mart

(And you thought your grandmother’s Thanksgiving “turkey a la mode” was bad!)

Seriously folks, this is not a joke – at least it is not a joke to me. I mean look at that last headline… “Unborn Baby Crushed in Wal-Mart.” Is this what we have become? Are we so desperate for that “grand deal” that we are willing to become “sacrificial” in our efforts? The sacrificial “turkeys” indeed!!!!

What I find most troubling is that we – and I do mean “we” – all know about the Black Friday madness. More Google searches confirm this:

·         New Times dubs Black Friday “Carnival of Capitalism”
·         Time Magazine calls Black Friday “Full Contact Sport”
·         CBS News described Black Friday as “the Super Bowl of Shopping”

A “carnival,” “full contact sport,” and “super bowl?” And who are the winners at these “games?”  The truth is – there are no winners. It seems as the though our special time with family and friends and our Thanksgiving “blessing” wears off by morning just in time for our id impulses to kick-in. We become the savages that Freud new we were deep, deep, deep in our unconsciousness – savages for a 20% discount at Wal-Mart or Target or Best Buy!

Let the games begin?

Along Comes History – Revisited

Let us pause and think back to what Thanksgiving was – and should be again – for those bravest of men and women, the Pilgrims:

“The purpose of this first “Thanksgiving” was to celebrate a bountiful harvest,
to celebrate kinship with the Native Americans…to give thanks to the Lord…
for family, friends, safety, and the harvest…a focus on cooking…and the sharing
of a bountiful meal with family and friends…not one day, not two days, but three

So, in the midst of a day devoted to consumerism and materialism, I think it is time to remember our Pilgrim predecessors and the “traditional” Thanksgiving that they “carved” (ha ha ha – a pun!) for us. Perhaps too, I think it is time to begin reading Blessed Mother Teresa's "A Simple Path" and take some time for some family bonding and self-reflection. As the Buddha says, the root of all suffering is ignorance and desire of carnal pleasure, material goods, and immortality.

Let us be spiritual – and not savages!

Oh, and by the way…Happy Post Thanksgiving!

Gobble! Gobble!




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