November 1999, Volume 7 Nr. 3,
It's getting to look a lot like, well, you know, that time of year when many in the US take down at least one of our day-to-day prejudices and actually turn it into a celebration or at least try to convince ourselves as much. With a pair of hirsute and hispid characters residing within our post modernist temples of retail salvation during the last two months of the year one might surmise that this great wealthy nation could actually learn something from these supposed symbols of what we perceive as extraordinary personal character. There is such an opportunity, in fact numerous opportunity, at the end of this month, November, for increasing the probability that such social justice transference may or will actually take place. More on that in a bit.
First comes Thanksgiving. This festivity has more-and-more become an opportunity of and for profit. From poultry industry and corporate-agri-business portfolios making one feel good while pigging-out to overdosing on and overexposing our children to holiday-hype commercials, we do what we do in the name of doing one's part in keeping the economy humming (at least those of us who need not worry about choosing between celebrating and buying medicine or those who never give a second thought to buying a Butterball or Purdue versus paying the rent). Thanksgiving day is followed by another even more important, nay - most important Holy Day, that is, Black Friday, the biggest mall-overload excess event in yearly consumerism and overdose. One might well argue that Thanksgiving actually exists for the purpose of making Black Friday possible. This materialistic continuation of the previous day's excesses is the day that Santa in all his white hairy glory parachutes into our malls delivered by a heavenly heavy hierarchical iron and steel angel. This prelude for the next month's heavenly and equally hairy addition to our holiday calendar wears no less than a red commie suit. Arlo Guthrie in one of his songs remarks, "Santa Claus wears a red suit must be a Communist." He also accuses good old globalized Saint Nick of being a pacifist, one with naughty characteristics that our population has been spin-doctored into believing are the worst scourges that humanity could possibility produce, and I might add, scourges which during Christmas we admire in one who is often described as the Prince of Peace. This albeit non-professional in appearance worshipped arbiter of salvation could at any moment return, an event which I fear, for I could not imagine him, a gentle robed and sandaled kindness survive long in America's corporate suites and administrative hallways. I could not imagine Him wishing people "Merry Christmas" as he walks through the Mall of America. Nor, could I imagine him partaking in a business lunch either, or for that matter, investing in the stock market. In fact, I've often wondered what he would do upon entering the temple Wall Street, built to the god of money which contains collective super assets dedicated to the glorification of the rich and powerful's graven images. At least, he doesn't wear a red suit or smoke funny stuff in a pipe. It doesn't really matter as either way, with or without the seasonal suit or wacky weed he is more apt to be castigated as someone who should either get a job or a haircut, or both.
There is understandable joy, pleasure and relaxation that comes from being with family and friends on Thanksgiving. Giving thanks is a wondrous thing one that would be served well practiced throughout the entire year rather than just reserved for a day where the armchair afterglow of overdrive digestion is being supplemented by the camaraderie of gladiator gazing via the ever changing pigskin ping-pong possession of someone else's real estate. It's a rather significantly telling sport, is it not? The taking of someone else land through breaking through of defenses. Sounds almost historically and is gender accurate.
This year, why not continue (as a start) being thankful the day after Thanksgiving as well. Why not celebrate Buy Nothing Day, the Friday after, as a day of gratitude to the precious Earth on which we live, a planet where the stresses and strains of unchecked consumerism and globalized capital greed are more than just becoming evident. This small sphere of ours cannot continue in the same fashion for much longer. There is simply a finite amount of resource exploitation that can take place and a finite limit to the numbers of humans doing the exploiting and being exploited before major support systems begin to fail. Last evening I was listening to the internationally famous children's and environmental singer from Canada named Rafi on Radio for Peace International (15050 and 6975 kHz). Rafi became a committed environmentalist when he wrote the very popular song "Baby Baluga" as a result of hearing that a dead baby beluga whale in the Saint Lawrence River was so bodily polluted that it had to be disposed of as "toxic waste." I believe deep down in side anyone who has reached the age of reason senses that we're reaching a point where we need to get Thingsdoing. To do something takes very little and may lead to monumental change or at least moves us toward the massive recognition that change is necessary for our survival.
Do something. Simply Buy Nothing on November 26, Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. That means no credit card usage, no coffee, no gum, no gasoline, no malls, no lottery tickets, no nothing (yes, it's poor grammar, but, you get the idea). Just on this one day say no to the religiosity of spending and start to kick the "I got to have it or I can survive or cope" habit. Thereafter, consider whether that new fangled dangled kids truck made in China belongs under the Christmas tree also made in China, with twinkling lights made in China. each made most probably in prison, low-paying, or sweat shop places mistreating the indentured workers who work 16 hours a day for a few bucks. Perhaps, this one event may be the beginning of a lifelong philosophy that encompasses living more simply so others may simply live and making our lives more simple by making our wants few.
Does this suggest that the socio-economic conditions now dominating the planet through fast-paced globalization are obsolete. I believe it does, but, that is a matter of another debate and on November 30 when the World Trade Organization ministers meet in Seattle, Washington, that part of humanity that has adopted the view that it is obsolete will be heard. Watch and listen for it and if you hear a rumble it just might be Kwame Ture turnout around in his final resting place. This time, the events just might be televised. On that day, he will continue to answer the phone saying, "Waiting for....."
While the following parody seasonal (filk) songs exist (with midi music files playing for you to sing along) on Metaphoria's other WebPages, we present them here as part of the November 1999 issue which you can print out, make copies. Then, organize a seasonal sing somewhere using the lyrics below to familiar melodies. A mall is a great place, perhaps, even sneaking one in as part of a choral presentation in a formal setting. Have fun, harmonize and be heard. And if you can make it, go to Seattle at the end of the month. Happy Thingsdoing.
Now Rest, Ye Weary Mallwalkers
(A Buy Nothing Day Song)
© 1998 JeanneeE Hand-Boniakowski
Now rest, ye weary mallwalkers
You're not alone, you're not a drone
The corporate vampires are in disguise
We can resist, we can desist
Do not consumer, be not consumer
Hark! The Advertising Sings
Sing to the tune of "Hark! The Angel Sings
© 1998 JeanneeE Hand-Boniakowski
Hark! The advertising
Hawk the products, sell the junk
Hark! I herald something new
© 1999 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski