"Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think."
-Michel de Montaigne

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

OF: Random Thoughts

So, I here there's a planned strike by Walmart workers slated for Black Friday. I think of my best friend's elderly grandmother living in Tennessee who is canceling Thanksgiving dinner at her house this year because she has to wake at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day to work her shift at...Walmart. She also has to do the same for Black Friday. I hate Walmart, and made a conscientious decision to stop shopping there in 2005, and I honestly do not notice any marked difference in my bottom line.

I am a working-class person, a mother who manages just fine without football stadium-sized stores chock-a-block with all that is heinous about Americana and the sad ironies of low-income, "Great Value" consumerism. We buy cheap products made in foreign countries to save money, and we become poorer as a result. Americans fail to understand (or care about?) the ramifications of a day's simple purchases, about the philosophy behind those purchases. They pretend to be powerless, unaccountable, without option, "I shop at Walmart because I have no choice!" laments the average pacifist. You have choice. You have power.

The average person has power that s/he parts with via his or her wallet. He parts with his conscience every day through his wallet. For adult-sized footie-pajamas, and flat screens, and jumbo packs of Lay's Potato Chips, and sticks of carcinogenic deodorant that smell of freesia or some exotic island delicacy. I am tired of these people who pretend they cannot choose something else because it's too damned inconvenient to live without the option of shopping for toilet paper at 3 a.m., or for a discounted laptop on Thanksgiving morning. Corporations: I am tired, so tired of Walmart, and Papa John's, and Denny's, and every other entity strong-arming the working person. Consumers: I am disgusted, so very disgusted by people lining up in the godless hours of the night to participate in our most horrid display of national avarice, Black Friday. I sincerely hope the workers of Walmart strike. Strike for all they're worth. Strike, strike, strike, and not be thwarted by corporate intimidation.

It is not anti-American or class warfare or socialist or lazy or godless to want a living wage for yourself or others. It is basic human dignity.


There's an essay that people on Twitter are getting incised about: "How to live Without Irony," by Christy Wampole. It's basically a critique of hipster culture, and boy are the hipsters defensive in their responses to this opinion piece! I can't help but feel a bit inclined to agree with the writer. Hipsters also "produce a distinct irritation in me," but I'd probably have to say it's because I've felt largely alienated or rejected by that whole culture. I'm never cool enough to belong with the cool kids and their various cultural appropriations which are always, excruciatingly, out of my reach for reasons beyond my control.

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