Don’t Just Stand There… CONSUME SOMETHING!

Lets-Go-Shopping1.jpg

By D.A.

Hello sports fans! Yes, it’s that time of year again. Now that the quadrennial election festivities are once again in the books and we’ve dutifully selected our Queen, er… King, er… Reality TV Star… in Chief, it’s time for we Americans to once again do what we do best and the one task for which we were all born and bred: launch into our annual orgiastic feast of gluttony, greed, avarice, and all around irresponsible behavior, during what we lovingly and only slightly mockingly call our holiday season. Spanning roughly from Thanksgiving Day to the week after New Year’s Day, the American holiday season has gradually morphed into an epic month long binge of excessive eating, drinking, shopping, and god only knows what else, at least for those who are fortunate enough to not be employed directly servicing the great commercial beast.  Yes indeed, we ‘Muricans do love us some holidays, and why the fuck not? We’re an empire now – and hey! – we do what the fuck we want! That’s what empires do, and you can bet your bottom reserve currency petro dollar that we’re going to do it bigger and badder and with more copious amounts of bling-bling than any of the piss-ant empires before us could have ever conceived of doing it!

Now, I know, I know, Thanksgiving and Christmas were both (Christian) religious-based holidays right from the start (and still are in a small number of dutifully inclined households) primarily, and they should still be given their due in principle, even if most of us no longer recognize them for any of that. Thanksgiving started off well enough, with images of cute little Pilgrims in their Plain Jane little Pilgrim suits (modeling the first football pants no doubt!) sitting down with the nice Indians who came out to greet them (the first casserole dishes to greet the nice white men and women!) when they came ashore at Plymouth Rock. Only later would ugly rumors of small pox infested blankets and similar treacheries emerge, and the beginnings of what would soon become the great Indian wars, which would sweep the nation from coast to coast in the century following, putting paid to such kitschy notions of peace, love, and understanding between the races. But hey, it was a good story, for a while at least, for a young nation that simply had no meaningful stories of its own at the time; so peace, love, and understanding, all wrapped up in a horn of plenty harvest feast it was.

On the other hand, Christmas was largely an imported affair, originally stolen straight away from traditional pagan/agrarian Sun (Son) God rites. Likewise, the jolly old Christmas elf St Nickolas and his sled full of toys pulled by eight magical reindeer shtick evolved innocently enough in the Scandinavian countries as a variation on the Second Coming of Christ narrative, complete with toys to reward the good little children and naught (or worse) for the little hellions in their midst. Fold in some wise men traveling from afar, a virgin birth, a stable and some livestock, shake well (never stir!), and voila! You’ve got yourself a slightly anachronistic and admittedly quite disjointed little midwinter holiday tradition that makes secularists and non-secularists alike happy. Add in some Christmas grog of sufficient strength and quantity and repeat annually for long enough and pretty soon no one much remembers or even cares what the original rationale for the holiday was – IT’S A FUCKING PARTY – and everyone loves a party!

In the aftermath of WWII and America’s new found prosperity in the world, opportunistic early twentieth century corporate marketers recognized the still mostly untapped potential of the “holiday season” and began to exploit it. Events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and similar festive promotional gambits throughout the country helped define the season as an “event” proper (with all the most appropriate marketing tie-ins of course!), and then the rush was on. First newspapers, then radio, then TV progressively amplified the seasonal hysteria and initiated the first instances of a future marketing trend that would soon take over the world in earnest: marketing to children, in this case the “baby boom” generation, the largest and most prosperous child demographic the world had ever seen. But hey, this was a marketing and sales bonanza, and Americans from their earliest days have always embraced the gold rush mentality, no matter its possible ill effects. And with marketing’s ability to strategically focus its message on the altruistic aspects of the holiday season, the underlying messages of greed and avarice were made palatable and able to hide in plain sight without unduly upsetting the morally pure among us.

And so it was decided and so it became that the holiday season was “win-win” for everybody involved in the vernacular of the emerging new corporate speak. Small town retailers and behemoth corporations alike basked in the post-war bounty, while anxious parents could focus their limited resources and parental benevolence on a single day or days during the year. And with the Christmas message of “naughty or nice” in effect as well, the holiday could also be used as a moral carrot/stick to promote good behavior on the part of their young charges. Fast forward to today: as retailing first morphed into hideous big box stores and then began a historical retreat in the face of the emerging internet and its just in time delivery to anywhere USA, the day after Thanksgiving – a “throw away,” unproductive day for the most part on most corporate calendars – gradually became the most important day of the year for the business community. Coming near the end of the calendar year but semi-officially signaling the beginning of the holiday season, beleaguered retailers sought to whip ravenous shoppers into an avaricious frenzy through the use of mass marketing loss-leader sales techniques. And so it was that the Friday after Thanksgiving was by and by suitably dubbed ‘Black Friday,” allegedly in reference to its ability to bring beleaguered retailers’ annual sales profits into the black, but in this observer’s opinion just as likely a reference to the black heart of greed it unleashes in otherwise possibly sane and caring people.

And so it was that in the aftermath of 9-11, allegedly the largest domestic terror event on the nation’s soil in its history, President George W. “Shrub” Bush famously advised Americans to simply “go shopping.” More insightful words into the corporate mindset that he and his family have long represented have never been spoken. Or, to liberally paraphrase former Shrub Senior Political Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove (my words in bold), a man never at a loss for words himself:

“We’re a consumer empire now, and when we consume, we create our own markets. And while you’re studying those markets—judiciously, as you will—we’ll consume some more, creating other new markets, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s consumers…and you, all of you, will be left to decide: consume with us or be consumed by us, your choice.

So what are you doing still sitting there kulturCritics? Open up another browser window to Amazon.com or the retailer(s) of your choice and GET BUSY! We’re consumers now and all the world’s a marketplace!

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18 Responses to Don’t Just Stand There… CONSUME SOMETHING!

  1. Pingback: Don’t Just Stand There… CONSUME SOMETHING! | kulturCritic

  2. kulturcritic says:

    5 Responses to Don’t Just Stand There… CONSUME SOMETHING!

    Jack Waddington says:
    November 20, 2016 at 10:52 am (Edit)

    If all this holiday stuff was just for children … it might have some legitimacy

    Otherwise, I see it all as madness.

    Jack Waddington
    Disaffected says:
    November 20, 2016 at 12:04 pm (Edit)

    I’ve always recognized – even when I was one – that children were just the hook used to get at the adults’ money. It’s akin to appeals to Patriotism, which clever marketers have also brought into the holiday marketing mix, in that you simply can’t win by arguing directly, or even indirectly it seems, against them. And I didn’t even have time to get into the sports (American football) tie-ins, which are now enormous as well. And in the end, all of this holiday madness stuff just highlights the fact that exponential growth leveraged industrial capitalism is the great consumptive beast foretold in the apocalyptic disaster myths of old, and that it’s rapidly running out of nourishment to satisfy it’s infinite appetite. But I will say, the marketing plan remains genius. By appealing primarily to children (even the grown up versions, which we’ve all steadily become), marketers are constantly grooming their next generation of marks, er… customers.
    Jack Waddington says:
    November 20, 2016 at 12:48 pm (Edit)

    Disaffected: I agree whole haredly. It’s marketing madness, Then we think capitalism is a good idea. I don’t, and I’ve long advocated the abolition of money. I don’t see it happening any time soon and when I try to discuss the idea it gets no more than a two second dismissal. BWTF.

    Anyway, now I’m old ednought to keep relatively far away most of it, buts it’s hard.

    Meantime, take care all. Jack Waddington
    Disaffected says:
    November 20, 2016 at 3:38 pm (Edit)

    And I guess no discussion of marketing and consumerism would be complete without giving credit to the recognized master, Edward Bernays, who was fittingly enough, Sigmund Freud’s nephew. Talk about familial legacies! We are all now, even a century later, still just living out their worst nightmares.

    By the way Sandy, I just love that artwork! It is so mid-century American! Quite an odd time in human history, in retrospect.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays#Tie-in

  3. Disaffected says:

    Thanks Sandy. That little wormhole that allowed responses elsewhere always had me puzzled.

  4. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    kol haKvod. Nice job, DA

    • Disaffected says:

      Very “Jewish serious” of you F’Lainey. I was going to respond with a favorite Coen Brothers video analysis, but this one’s even better. And of course Seinfeld’s Jewish too. By the way, think you’ve said you don’t watch TV, but if you watch anything at all you should watch FX’s Fargo, based heavily on the Coen Brother’s 1996 movie. Very good, as is any analysis of anything by Nerdwriter1.

    • Disaffected says:

      Oh what the heck. Nerdwriter1’s analysis of A Serious Man is as relevant now as it ever was. Can life be understood? Probably the central question of our times. A great movie and a great analysis.

      • Disaffected says:

        By the way, keep the closing comments from this video in mind when you read my next post next week (Sandy willing of course). I think I’m beginning to mind meld with Nerdwriter1 and the Coens on certain existential issues. Have been with the Coens for quite some time now.

  5. Disaffected says:

    Kunstler’s latest is always worth a read as well:

    Mommy is all about feelings and Daddy’s role is action and that is another reason that Hillary lost and Trump won. We’ve heard enough about people’s feelings and it just doesn’t matter anymore. You’re offended? Suck an egg. Someone appropriated your culture? Go shit in your sombrero. What matters is how we’re going to contend with the winding down of Modernity — the techno-industrial orgy that is losing its resource and money mojo. The politics of sacred victimhood has got to yield to the politics of staying alive.

    President-elect Trump may not know it yet, but events are now in charge, not personalities, not even his super-sized persona. Global trade and economic activity have been winding down all year and it’s finally affecting financial markets kept aloft on borrowed money, sending a strong signal through bonds that the borrowed money may never be paid down, and that additional borrowing will cost a whole lot more — so much more that it will bankrupt the nations that issue it.

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/boo-hoo/

    I disagree with his assertions of inflation, in the near term at least, for two reasons; the US is truly the last man standing economically (for a time still at least), and thus can still do what ever it wants with regard to its currency (what other choice is there?), and likewise, everyone that buys US debt (essentially borrowing US money, aka “promises to pay”) already knows full well that the debts will never be paid in full, and thus that fact has been already priced into bond prices. In other words, the US Ponzi scheme is now operating openly and with official sanction. Once again, what other choice is there? Answer? None at all, until the system self-destructs completely at least. Which might not be too far off, but it won’t be just yet. There’s still considerably more profits to be taken before that can be allowed to happen.

    Strap in tight! We’re about to begin an epic thrill ride for the ages!

  6. Disaffected says:

    Well what do you know! Looks like the fix was in all along after all. Who would’ve thunk? I’m sure there were threats involved – veiled or otherwise – as well, but even so. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/us/politics/donald-trump-transition.html?_r=0

  7. Disaffected says:

    Helpful hints for holiday consumers:

    http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20161123/six-things-to-watch-for-on-black-friday

    And hey! Let’s be careful out there! All the liberal snowflakes will no doubt be looking to “shop to forget” this holiday season, so they could be especially cranky!

  8. Disaffected says:

    As HRC’s lead in the popular vote continues to mount (2M string and growing), Dem supporters are calling louder and louder for a recount at least, and an investigation into election abnormalities and/or an electoral college revolt in the extreme. Could it happen? Of course it could! And quite frankly, given the alleged heatedness of the race, I’m quite surprised they haven’t at least asked for a simple recount in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Almost makes me wonder if the Trump win wasn’t – in a beyond bizarre twist – planned ahead of time for nefarious purposes yet unknown. Only in 2016 America could I imagine such a possibility seriously.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/clinton-lead-popular-vote-2016-231790

    • kulturcritic says:

      Let them try to undo the results, then they will see a revolt… a full scale armed revolt of the deplorables against the elite and their fascist thugs. Bromosexual cupcakes, all of them!!

      • Disaffected says:

        Yep, I think so too. But I think we’re going to hear a constant drumbeat of this kind of talk until Dec 19th, the day the election is certified by the electoral college and from which there is effectively no turning back, absent disqualifying criminal misconduct or something like that. Other than that, Trump seems to be pulling it together pretty well of late. Controversial and outspoken as always, but definitely no shrinking violet here. I think he’ll likely be a disappointment over the long run (as they all are), but at least he won’t be a Clinton or a Bush, with all of the criminal baggage those names imply.

        Hey, is Thanksgiving even a “thing” in Russia, or is this just another day for you all? I was going to take some shots at the ironic fact that Americans are so caught up in feast holidays, when everyday of the year is essentially a feast if we (in the well off classes anyway) want it to be, but figured I’d leave that one alone. No point in poking the great stuffed and slumbering beast unnecessarily.

        Also, on a personal note, my recent health issues are all cleared up, for now at least. BP’s way down, blood work’s good, sleep issue has been addressed, the weight is steady, and hopefully clearing up the sleep issues will make weight loss possible once again. Even my young whiz kid doctor admits now I don’t really have a fat problem, but he’d still like to see me lighter, as there’s “not much call for 59 year old NFL linebackers these days.”

        Post for next week is ready on the political realities of Climate Change. I think it’s well argued and makes a strong case, although I doubt many will appreciate the conclusions I’ve arrived at. Either way, it should be moderately entertaining and at least make people think.

  9. Disaffected says:

    Good morning shoppers,

    The delusional force is still strong in the empire this morning:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/russian-propaganda-effort-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election-experts-say/2016/11/24/793903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html

    Strangely, no mention of the many mis-/dis information campaigns employed by the Dems, including the outing of Bernie and FBI ServerGate. Good to see that the Dems and their wholly owned MSM subsidiary are recovering nicely from their recent whupping and back to their old tricks.

    And hey! Let’s be especially careful out there today! Shopping is expected to be vigorous this year and the discounts large. Don’t become a statistical victim of Black Friday madness!

  10. Disaffected says:

    Looks like the fat lady, er… HRC hasn’t sung on the 2016 election just yet. The Dems are now going to “participate” in the Wisconsin recount initiated by Green Party candidate Jill Stein (rumored to be a surrogate). I’m guessing the optics of the Dems being sore losers after preemptively accusing Trump of the same before the election might be a bitter pill to swallow and caused the delay thus far? Could be a horse race yet!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/11/26/clinton-campaign-will-participate-in-wisconsin-recount-with-an-eye-on-outside-interference-lawyer-says/?utm_term=.f06f7dc9f189

  11. Disaffected says:

    Attention Shoppers: Today is Syber Monday, where those of you of the corporate persuasion who survived Back Friday with your bank accounts intact are expected to take advantage of your internet connections to continue to e-shop til you drop for great online Christmas deals. Remember: only 27 shopping days left until Christmas and a short 1 day respite before the post-holiday returns and regrets sales season begins! Let’s get out there and make some deals!

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