By Selwyn Duke
“As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.” So said the Frank Costanza character on Seinfeld, as he described a toy-store struggle with another man over a doll during the holiday season. It was comedic fiction, but, lamentably, it is also art that has been imitated by life.
Most of us have heard the Black Friday stories. Two men viciously beat another man over shoes in a Sacramento mall; two people were shot over a parking spot at a Florida Wal-Mart; there was a brawl over women’s underwear at a California Victoria’s Secret; and a man punched another while trying to cut in line at a Texas Sears, prompting the victim to pull a gun. I guess you don’t mess with Texas shoppers. These incidents are nothing unusual, either, as Black Friday — the mad shopping day after Thanksgiving — is now associated as much with bad behavior as good deals.
It’s ironic, too. A day originated for the purpose of giving thanks for what we have is now followed by one devoted to aggressively seeking what we do not. And while it’s fashionable to bemoan the commercialization of holidays, we ought to wonder how we got to this point. Because it didn’t happen overnight.
Ever since “holy days” was contracted into “holidays,” there has been ever less holiness in them. This is no coincidence.
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