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Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday and the sustainability joke

I'm an expat American. When I see the media coverage of what has come to be called "Black Friday", part of me becomes even more expat.

I don't want it to be this way, but I just don't understand that aspect of my country. I never have. Now, I'm no saint - I've wandered my share of malls, eaten my share of fast food. But I have never, ever been even remotely comfortable with America's mass consumption culture. And now, when I go back, I feel like a foreigner, like a visitor in a country run by a dictatorship.

Perhaps, if you've never been to the States, you may question the media reports. Can Americans really be that rabid about consuming stuff?

The answer is simple. Yes. Yes they are. Absolutely and without question.

This is why Black Friday is the one honest and unabashedly American holiday. There's no lip service paid to anything unnecessary - only purchasing. Black Friday is the purest distillation of the nation's one true faith, and its mobs, whipped into frenzies by low-cost shit, are simply the most fervent adherents.

So, why am I writing about this here? Well, Living Oceans is an organization that tries to improve the way that humans interact with the ocean. We try to do our part, in other words, to help humans as a whole move towards a more sustainable future.

But you know what? There ain't no sustainable future for us humans as we currently do things. There just isn't. There's nothing sustainable about Black Friday. There's nothing sustainable about a nation that is virtually uniform in its celebration of Black Friday. And there's nothing sustainable about the economic and social landscape that makes Black Friday possible.

Sure hope those TVs are all "Energy Star" rated. doesn't matter. It doesn't matter one bit.

1 comment:

  1. Hey John, I think that's Dad behind that one t.v. box.