Sunday, November 19, 2006

You Say You Want A Revolution?

I know what time of year it is because I can smell Turkey. No, not the nation (that smells more like the inside of 1973 Pontiac Bonneville) but the food. When this time rolls around my brain starts to release the memory of meals past. I think my body also anticipates the mighty task of digestion, because I have less interest in food. Perhaps this was similarly felt by our ancestors when they somehow knew the hunters were returning with their bounty? Regardless, I don't do too well after Halloween through the day after New Years. This whole season has become an orgy of consumption that I cannot bear up under very well. Too much food, too many people, and too much consumption. I am deluged with advertisements against my will. I am told to buy or be unfulfilled. I am compelled by tradition to be merry. The expectation level is always so high during the holidays that one is hard-pressed to live up to it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a lucky guy. I have a good job, a loving family and have had lots of luck. I have much for which I should be (and am) thankful. But what was a time of true thankfulness has turned into a horror story. With Thanksgiving just days away, I have heard more stories about Federline than famine. The hype online is about getting that Playstation3 so you can sell it on Ebay (without getting mugged or shot). The buzz is about Wii and how it will change things. Change what? How? For what purpose? I want change too. Will the Wii bring about justice in our world? Will it feed those without food? Will it protect the weak from the predator? The Nintendo Wii was once called "Revolution". It may be a revolution for gaming, but who really cares? We need a revolution of the soul of planet earth or we will all certainly perish. No, that isn't me being maudlin, it is a stone cold factoid.

I hate this time of year because it brings out all that is wrong with us. It shows how we can pervert and manipulate a sacred time of thankfulness into an orgy of consumption (both gastronomically and economically). Thanksgiving is less about being thankful for the blessings of our needs being met than it is the start of the holiday shopping season. Thanksgiving dinner has become a pre-shopping spree carb-up.

I hate how we've become a nation of economic targets to the corporations of the world. As you read this there are people in a room somewhere trying to figure out the best way to manipulate you into buying things. They want your money and they are not allowed to hit you with a rock and take it from you. The next-best thing is trying to figure a way to make you give it to them legally. They will lie, distort, manipulate, seduce, guilt, sway, hypnotize, shame, prey and threaten to get you to part with your money (whatever is left after the government gets their cut). This is redistribution of wealth for the clueless as opposed to redistribution of wealth for the powerless as it is with our government and taxation. We are feeding this monster by playing along. It is the addiction we silently allow. We look at our checkbooks, look at our kids, shake our heads and pull out the plastic. We are enabling this nation into economic and spiritual bankruptcy.

I didn't like it when Nintendo changed the name of the "Revolution" to "Wii". Euphemisms aside, it doesn't even have a pleasant sound when it is spoken aloud. The connotation is "We", but I just hear the nasally whine. I want a revolution, not the nasally whine. I want another American revolution. The clueless herds think that because the Democrats are back in power in the Congress that we're "taking our country back". How anyone can think that putting a collaborative, spineless, cowardly and complicit party in charge is "taking our country back" is beyond me. They are all bought and paid for, in my opinion. But if you want to take your country back, I'll tell you how you can do it:

Make this Black Friday "black" for a different reason. No, I'm not suggesting that we never spend money again. What I am suggesting is that we put this nation's movers and shakers on notice. (Please right click one of the following links and open in a new window or tab before reading further: lowbandwidth highbandwidth) "We the people" run this show. WE are the decider's, W, not you. We can, with a simple pull of a lever or mark on a piece of paper change the course of our nation and the world. No, I'm not so gullible as to think the government is the only problem we have, but it is how we start. What would be the ramification of a Black Friday without sheep-like consumers? What would happen if the stores were empty? Can you allow your mind to envision it? What would happen if we put our leaders on notice that we are not going to play along? What would be said in the board rooms? What would be discussed in the corridors of power? How would business change? How would we want it to change? By the simple act of civil disobedience known as "closing your wallet" you can do more damage to an oppressive system than senseless violence ever dreamed. Perhaps this idea's simplicity is its downfall? It is a practical, legal and fool-proof way to get the attention of corporate America and that of our government. We will have their full attention. You don't need a special outfit to do this. You don't need training. You don't have to plan. You don't have to call anyone. You don't need to stretch or warm-up. You don't need to convert anything to metric. YOU JUST DON'T BUY ANYTHING! Can you handle that?

Of course, this is all too simple and foolish to work, right? And, there may be some negative consequences. After all, there are no negative consequences to our current model, right? Ah, you're probably correct. We have to show the terrorists that we're not afraid of them by going out and buying stuff. That is what we do. If we don't shop, the terrorists will have won. I guess the only revolution I'll be getting this year will be the one renamed "Wii". It is sad that we've gone from "We the people" to "Wii the people". Revolution takes too much effort (unless you are buying one).


Anonymous nigel said...

Hi Frank,

I was just wondering if you've ever run across Buy Nothing Day? Check out

I actually did a few classes based on this while I was an ESL teacher. If you listened carefully, you could hear minds quietly blowing.

At any rate, in Canada we had our thanksgiving back in October, but I still completely agree with what you're saying. Being a consumer is a kind of binary existence; buy/don't buy, 1/0. Maybe it's time we answered with a 0.

November 22, 2006 2:14 PM  
Blogger Frank Black said...


Yes, I certainly have. Alas, it is another idea that is steamrolled by the consumer juggernaut in the U.S. I think I even left a link for it somewhere in the prose, but I tend to make them hard to find.

It is certainly an wonderful subject for discussion groups. It is something in which both the left and right can likely find common ground, even if they don't agree 100%.

November 23, 2006 2:36 PM  

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