This story was written by John Frees, Daily News
Jdimytai Damour was a young man with his whole life ahead of him. Now he's about to be plugged six feet into the ground, trampled to death by the American Dream for the sake of half-price plasma TVs and digital cameras. It was only a life though, right? We have 6 billion of those on Earth but less than a few thousand 52-inch plasma TVs at half price. It seems like an easy decision in this warm, festive season. Kill, or go home with no plasma TV. That's life in the jungle.
A mass of ignorant beasts laughingly called humans gathered outside a Long Island, N.Y., Wal-Mart, foaming at the mouth with bloodshot eyes and blackened gums after two days of waiting in line, enduring the winter chill and the other annoying people also waiting for their shot at the turnstiles. The gods of consumerism attract shoppers at countless locales every year on the day after Thanksgiving, clamoring for the best holiday deals imaginable. Like a lot of unfortunate people in this country, Damour was working for slave wages at the corporate retail giant - our nation's largest employer.
Damour's death came at the hands - or more appropriately, the feet - of rabid shoppers trained in the art of the media-driven pop culture event Black Friday. While his family members suffer the loss of a beloved son, they also suffer the loss of much needed household income in hard financial times. But not to worry: Wal-Mart is giving all their thoughts and prayers to the family. There's certainly no reason why that shouldn't take care of everything, right? Wal-Mart will always take care of us, but in much the same way the atom bomb took care of Japan. It's one of many corporate entities destroying small businesses, eroding our souls, stripping us of everything that makes us good Americans and pushing consumerism on us like crack cocaine on fatherless teenagers.
I don't blame corporations completely. People shouldn't be such simple-minded sheep. I blame everyone, including myself. I've indulged in my fair share of consumerism. I've never killed a man in a Wal-Mart, but I've done things of which I'm not proud. Jesus has to shoulder some blame for not stopping by and explaining to the hell-bound throngs of homicidal shoppers that they're not exactly adhering to the Christian faith by killing retail workers in a mad rush for material possessions.
David Carr's Nov. 30 article in The New York Times, "Media and Retailers Both Built Black Friday," concurs with my belief that it's the fault of everyone from consumers to retailers to media.
"The willingness of people to walk over another human being to get at the right price tag raises the question of how they got that way in the first place," said Carr.
He goes on to talk about some media outlets suggesting that people leave their children at home unless they're big enough to keep from getting stepped on and can carry "loot" from the store. And though Black Friday is supposed to celebrate the greatest shopping day in a season of giving, Carr reports that 81 percent of shoppers are shopping for themselves.
The simple truth of consumerism is this: Years ago, people began to be convinced that they are the sum-total of their material possessions. People accepted it and the notion grew. As the retailers pushed it, we swallowed it, and the media helped to push it through advertising and the like. That's the foundation for our loss of humanity in the age of consumerism.
Just the sound of Black Friday warms the heart and fills the soul with a deep need to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with intolerable stupidity, ignorance and selfishness. Anyone with half a brain would agree that America, during the Christmas season, is a bastion of depression, chaos, fear, contempt and incredible stress. The environment isn't much better th rest of the time, but there's undoubtedly a downward spiral in what Andy Williams' song calls "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
What would John Lennon say about all this? Is the dream of "Imagine" a dead one? It wasn't always this way, and they say you can never go home again, but we can damn well give it a shot, if only for the sake of our souls.
These problems are socially recognized, though they still go on. There is an entire section on consumerism in a class I took here last year called Social Problems (SOC-242), currently taught by Rachel Kraus, assistant professor of sociology. I recommend the class as an eye-opening experience.