On Black Friday
There is something deeply distasteful about the annual Black Friday rituals. Lining up hours (even days) in advance, sacrificing comfort, sacrificing time with family or friends, risking possible injury in the mad press of the crowds, competing against the rest of the mob for discounts on already-overpriced baubles and gadgets.
There is violence. There are injuries and even death.
And yet people still participate in the ritual, every year.
Others look down their noses and tsk-tsk over the madness of crowds. We’re so superior and above it all, above the vulgarity of the proles.
And above that, there are the plutocrats — a word taken from a god whose name literally means “The Rich One” — they watch their balance sheets and stock prices as the tithes of the faithful roll in.
What lives above them, I wonder?
I am not being metaphorical. When I speak of “ritual” and “sacrifice” I mean it. I believe this is literally true.
Because all of this is a ritual, an annual cult festival with all the trappings of religious observance performed to the glory of (and in the service to) some very dark gods.
Gods of Retail and Consumption. Mammon and Baal.
From us they demand, and receive, their sacrifice: Our time and money… even our blood.
Just another sacrifice.
We get their blessing in return, of course. Of course we do.
We get the discount, the deal, the bargain.
But is it worth it? Is it?
Because, to those gods I mentioned earlier, it absolutely is.