Welcome to Black Friday 2018

Hey, it’s Black Friday 2018! That means that as a self-identified minimalist I’m supposed to denounce consumer culture and all of the horrible materialistic practices that come with it! Yeah, no. Not so much this year, sorry. Not feeling it. You know all of this stuff already.

Something Something Spirit of the Season

This time of year is supposed to be about Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Humanity. Jesus is the reason for the season and all that. It’s not about conspicuous consumption and materialism and stuff. Except, if we’re being intellectually honest, it is. That’s what the culture in America has decided. We pay some lip service to charity and kindness, put up some pretense of objecting to shifting values, then still go buy crap we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

Well, a lot of people do. Maybe not you. Definitely not me. Because there’s no Thankgiving holiday here in Finland, so there’s no Black Friday, either. Another thing to be thankful for! A lot of stores have started launching their holiday sales on “Black Friday”, but there’s no doorbuster nonsense. No opening at ridiculous hours and offering deep discounts on select items while supplies last. People don’t get into fist fights over waffle irons and DVD players. They’re just regular sales, that happen to be on the same date as America’s mass insanity.

Black Friday 2018

I’m not going to bother cherry-pick toxic consumerism as the issue of debate this year. We have bigger, more pertinent issues, a more comprehensive soul-sickness, of which excess possessions are only a symptom. I could trot out what Christ said about not committing adultery, loving your enemy, welcoming the stranger, caring for the sick, how the least among us are treated, and so on. Why bother? When one-third to one-half of the population are good with a leader paying hush money to the porn stars he cheated on his wife with, they aren’t going to care what Jesus said about materialism*.

Neither are people who think it’s a good idea to separate children from their parents and put them in camps. If you approve of sending troops to meet refugees and authorizing use of force against them, you probably won’t listen to arguments against selfishness. Conspicuous consumption isn’t going to register as a moral failing to people who think it’s fair to put health care out of financial reach for working-class families. I’m saying that people who deny the existence of climate change and blame wildfire victims for not being more vigorous with a rake probably aren’t critical thinkers about excess packaging, landfills, and plastics that end up in the ocean.

*“You cannot serve God and riches”. It’s in Luke if you care to look it up. I’m not going to give you the verse, so you have to read the whole thing. Context is important.

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1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. Well, in Birmingham (the UK one) at 8am there were 2 people outside Urban Outfitters, a trendy street fashion store, looking slightly puzzled that it wasn’t open, but that was about the only sign of Black Friday. And dearly beloved splashed out online… buying antifreeze for my car!

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