A Note About Reality

I’ve just read some of the links on my blog for the first time in a few months and found that many (not all) of the Palin-related blogs have retired.  Oh, they’re still there to read, but as there is no new news about everyone’s favorite shrill shrew, there are no new posts.

Such is as it has become with this blog.  At one time, not terribly long ago, I was continually wondering out loud when the rest of the world was going to catch up to me in terms of some of the stuff I was writing about — mostly economic injustice, but other things as well.  Nowadays all I need to is look in the streets and I see thousands who were probably thinking the same things all along, but have just now found their voices in unison, shouting for all the world to hear even though most of the “liberal media” are turning a deliberate deaf ear.

Also, in the past year and a half, and the past few months in particular, I’ve been finding words taken out of my mouth by much better and louder voices.

I am not retiring this blog, but as I believe I’ve said several times this year, I haven’t been and won’t be writing very much.  Certainly this blog may lose some of its political edge in the near future, at least, in favor of posts of a more personal kind.

And yes, a small part of this decision has to do with the implosion of Sarah Palin.  What will I do without stupid?  Stupid has been a major subject in this blog.  Of course, there are still the GOP candidates, pundits, and an endless array of teabagging Congressmen to target, but no one is quite as much fun as ol’ Sarah.

I admit I did enjoy all the flying cats and monkeys for a long time there.  But I was as horrified as anyone at her response to the Arizona shootings and I feel that it was that response that ultimately did her in.  It was not the “liberal media” (which, as I’ve frequently noted, does not really exist), nor was it the anti-Palin blogs I loved so much.  No.  In the end, nothing did her in but her own mouth.  She made that speech and it was like magic.  All of a sudden, after 8 years of George Bush and almost 3 years of Sarah Palin, it was actually possible to be just plain too stupid again — and being too stupid was at last neither a good thing nor excusable.

We saw this demonstrated in Palin’s subsequent disappearance from the front pages (even though it actually took her own inevitable decision not to run for President to finalize that disappearance*) and we’re seeing it still with just about every GOP Presidential candidate.  And it is indeed something to be thankful for.

And it is ironic as well.  Think of it: Ronald Reagan made it okay to be stupid; during his Presidency he covered the office in a sort of Technicolor non-stick coating.  At the time, however, that protective coating only extended to Reagan himself.  With George W. Bush, stupidity gained an even thicker and all-encompassing coat of non-stick.  Yes, he could land his helicopter on the Queen’s rose garden or refuse to learn to pronounce “nuclear” correctly (not to mention start a few meaningless wars, trash the economy, etc.), but no matter how dimwitted he got, no one seemed to care.   Stupid grew in prestige to the point where few people in the mainstream media even blinked very hard then Sarah Palin was added to John McCain’s Presidential ticket.

And then, in the course of one speech, Sarah Palin herself unwittingly scraped it all away.**

That said, I will miss those blogs.  I don’t think many people will miss this one, but perhaps other subjects are ahead that I will yammer about endlessly, who knows — so they’ll have to put up with me anyway.  In the meantime I’ll write now and then, whenever something strikes my fancy.  And as always, I thank you for dropping by.

*I’ve read that Palin’s decision not to run for President did not displease the head of  Fox News Manufacturing; however, it was her really harebrained decision to announce it on an outlet other than Fox News that riled her bosses.  Apparently she is in such poor standing at Fox that at one point they were considering putting her on permanent leave until the end of her contract.

**For my point of view on  Palin’s infamous Arizona speech, posted near the time she made it, see this.  I note that my crystal ball was too cloudy to tell me that Palin had just taken herself out with no one’s assistance at all.  

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Ain’t No Black Friday

In the last few days I’ve stumbled on a Faux-News right-winger sore spot: Black Friday.

I never would have guessed it, but I suppose I should have: these people become enraged when one criticizes Black Friday — almost as enraged as when you say there is no real “war on Christmas.”

I suppose next someone will say Black Friday is in the Bible and we should worship it.  Before that happens, however, I’d like just a moment to point a few things out to these people.

Yes, over the years marketers have noted that the day after Thanksgiving is one of the, if not the heaviest-sales day of the year for any kind of unnecessary junk you can imagine.   This was back in the days when nearly everyone got the day after U.S. Thanksgiving off.  Note that a large part of the previous sentence is in italics.  This is for emphasis.

Yes, Black Friday still is breaking records for sales.  But there are a number of things at work here, and none of them is in the Bible: (1) credit cards, (2) large numbers of people being out of work, which is the only reason they are free on Black Friday, since many businesses (retail among them) now ignore the formerly expected 4-day Thanksgiving holiday, and (3) retailers often give extreme discounts on made-in-China junk on that day, meaning that all that plastic money that doesn’t go into pockets of people like the Kochs goes out of the country.  Which is to say that if one is shopping that day because of a sense of patriotism, that patriotism is misguided or at least mislabeled.  What it really is, is extreme foolishness in the name of today’s conservatism which struggles to keep things as they never were.

Why do I hate Black Friday?  Because I know people whose Thanksgivings are ruined by it.  These are people who work in retail, who are only free to enjoy the holiday until, say, 5:00 p.m. because their employer, determined to make a mint the next day, has ordered them to be at work at midnight Friday.  Why do they do it? you ask.  Because they are afraid of losing their jobs, dummy.  That’s because the economy is so freaking WONDERFUL, you know.

Why do I hate Black Friday?  Because it detracts from Thanksgiving, which was a gift to us from Abraham Lincoln.  It was to be a day of thanking whatever deity you prefer for the harvest.  Just think: we who are so religious have trashed this faintly-religious holiday in favor of a false consumerism holiday leading up to another faux-Christian holiday that was usurped from the Pagans, who were the last ones to observe it seriously.

To put it another way, let’s just call Black Friday the real war on Christmas, because it exposes Christmas as what it really is: fake.  No deity ever asked anyone to go into massive credit card debt in the name of a solstice observance, okay?

Again, why do I hate Black Friday?  Because it creates a false sense of security that the economy is just fine, thank you.  To people who insist that Black Friday means all is well with the world, I have only one thing so say: what kind of economy is it that is only healthy one day a year, or only maintains health because of sales gained on one day a year?

Why do I hate Black Friday?  Because of the Jerry-Springer crowd who camp out in front of, say, Walmart and then trample, claw, scratch, maim, and even shoot each other while trying to grab the latest plastic junk first.  You know, all in the name of peace and love and Jesus.

One friend cited Christmas season hiring in retail as a sign of economic health, saying they “help people put food on the table.”  No.  All a temporary, minimum wage job does is give one enough money to buy gas to go stand in the unemployment line after Christmas.  You cannot feed a family on a Christmas-job wage.

This morning another friend cited attacks on Black Friday as attacks on Christmas.   In a way, she’s right.  But if you are determined to take this seriously and without too much thought, all I can say is this: if her Jesus were alive, he’d die all over again at that reasoning.

Here is all Black Friday is: corporate money-grubbing enabled by easy credit.  Take either of those factors away, my dears, and there ain’t no Black Friday.

And wonder of wonders, your churches are still standing anyway.

P.S. — to find out about and/or support the anti-Black Friday movement, see Buy Nothing Day.