Rightbloggers Celebrate America's Great National Holiday: Black Friday
We hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and if you went shopping the next day you weren't trampled. You may have heard that President Obama got some grief from conservatives for failing to mention God in his Thanksgiving proclamation. But for our rightblogger subjects, this was not the worst outrage of the long weekend.
No, what ticked the brethren off even more than Obama's blasphemy was that some folks, tied to the Occupy movement, protested that orgy of after-turkey shopping called Black Friday. The historic feast of the pilgrims is all very well, but large corporations were depending on America's support, and rightbloggers happily dropped that giving-of-thanks crap in order to give it to them.
"Occupy wall street wants you to damage the American economy by boycotting Black Friday," warned Bluegrass Pundit. "Way to punish the average '99%-er' worker and make his life harder on a holiday weekend," snarled Thoughts of a Conservative Mom. "Occupy, in some misguided attempt to do whatever the hell it is they think they're trying to do," rambled Roger's Park Bench, "wants to hurt the retail sales. Which means, by extension, that they are trying to harm the economic security of fellow Americans."
In a bit of PR genius, Tea Party group Liberate Philadelphia/Liberate America declared it would counter the Occupiers' Boycott with "BUYcott Black Friday." That way, if people shopped on Black Friday, their dozens of followers would be able to take credit. Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds referred to this as "Punching Back Twice as Hard"; fans of The Simpsons will recognize it as a new version of the Bear Patrol.
Kip Hooker of I Hate The Media seemed to recognize, if only dimly and momentarily, what nonsense this was: "In a sane era we would be tempted to suggest that people save their money and practice the sort of fiscal responsibility that will get this nation's economy back on track," he wrote.
Hooker quickly recovered himself: "But this is not a sane time," he reasoned. "This is a time when the labor of we the producers is conscripted to buy the votes of the tax eaters... So go ahead and buy that xbox. Buy that iPad 2. Buy that 70 inch flat screen 3D TV. Because in a time as screwed up as this if you don't spend your money on yourself it is a pretty good bet that you'll be spending it on some greedy flea bagger and his hairy arm-pitted girlfriend." Forget frugality, patriots, and stick it to the hippies with a spending spree! You may wind up impoverished by it, but America will prosper -- bank on it, if you have enough money left to maintain a bank account.
"All the while, [the Occupiers] are Tweeting and blogging on their cell phones and laptops, all made by one corporation or another, but we'll not mention the hypocrisy of that," said LD Jackson, who apparently never saw a Tea Partier in a Medicare-funded scooter denouncing Big Government.
Jackson said he himself didn't like Black Friday, but felt it had to be respected because it's "a family tradition for some people." You're not against families, are you? Plus Black Friday is important because "consuming is what it's all about. If the citizens of America stop consuming goods and services, our economy is sure to collapse." It might seem a little late to worry about that, but Jackson is a born optimist, as shown by his close: "I suspect [the Occupiers] don't stand a chance of winning that argument and are likely to get ran over in the process."
Jackson wasn't the only one who dreamed of retaliation against the hippies. Running Against Obama hoped that "somebody takes the initiative one day to collect as many of the names they can find to make a list of the people who are orchestrating all of this destructive, counterproductive behavior," so he would be able to blacklist any such individual from employment at whatever bait shop or flat-fix he runs.
Running Against Obama also applauded BUYcott Black Friday for "encouraging consumers to spend as much as their pockets will allow. That sounds more like America."
Working from the popular rightwing portrayal of the Occupation as a criminal enterprise, some rightbloggers saw their resistance to Black Friday as an act of aggression against innocent capitalists.
"The thugs of the Occupy movement, which serves as a natural magnet for criminals, malingerers, and drifters, are planning to disrupt shopping on Black Friday," cried Matthew Vadum at FrontPage Magazine. He claimed further that "protesters across America plan to annoy and harass consumers..."
Well, we know that's bad -- people get sued for harassment (though not so much for annoyance). To what planned assaults was Vadum privy?
"Activists in Boise, Idaho, plan to send 'consumer zombies' to major retailers to silently protest what they deem to be frivolous spending," he breathlessly reported. "In Des Moines, Iowa, the plan is to have flash mobs lecture consumers on consumerism. In Eugene, Ore., activists intend to sing reworded Christmas carols reminding Americans how dumb they are for wanting to purchase products to improve their lives..."
Dressing as zombies? Lecturing? Singing? Call the riot cops! By these means, Vadum claimed, Occupiers would be "preventing Americans from buying deep-discounted products" -- or, what's just as bad for hypersensitive rightbloggers, "mocking them."
Similarly, Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft announced, "the Occupy Black Friday goons called Wal-Mart customers 'whores' today while they were out shopping" -- that is, they were "handing out 'Don't be a CUMsumer whore' fliers to the shoppers." Some of their victims were so traumatized, we're told, that they had to get a second helping at the food court.
So too with DJ Redman at Conservative Daily News, who read a Fox News report about a "call for protestors to disrupt the busiest shopping day of the year" and took it to mean that the Occupiers would be "blocking access to big stores and preventing people from getting in on the super low prices..." If so, said Redman, "they had better be prepared to find out just what the 99% of the real citizenry is capable of when they are deadset on getting their Black Friday deals by being one of the first shoppers in the store."
Well, Black Friday came and went and, as usual, it turned out the shoppers needed no help in doing violence to one another, with pepper spray, stampedes, a shooting, etc. One poor guy fell dying at a Black Friday event and bargain-hunters stepped over him to get to the low-price troughs. Maybe they thought he was a protester staging a one-man "Die-In" and refused to be intimidated.
Mostly the brethren kept their mouths shut about this, though a few gamely tried to spin it. We give a prize for gall to Howard Portnoy of Hot Air, who recalled that U.S. Attorney General "Eric Holder lambasted the U.S. for being a 'nation of cowards' when it comes to race relations. Many have questioned the legitimacy of Holder's remarks, but even if he is right, the events of this past Friday suggest that we've got a much larger problem to deal with in this country." Your aunt who sends you all those forwarded emails will remember forever that Black Friday mayhem was within Eric Holder's and Barack Obama's power to stop -- and they did nothing.
"President Obama, like most liberals and the party it controls (the once-proud Democratic Party), doesn't like the fact that you make decisions regarding your life -- he wants to make them," raved The Conservative Teacher. "...And so he has decided that he doesn't like big stores that thrive by providing goods and services to people in efficient and low-cost ways; rather, he likes small stores and so is going to go around the nation and pay for his administration to fly around the nation making speeches ordering you to not shop for great deals and save money at the big stores, but rather to shop at smaller stores, because he wants you to."
Thoughts of a Conservative Mom called Small Business Saturday "partly based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how economics works. So before you reject 'big box stores' out of hand as immoral marketplace bullies who gobble up their mom and pop competition, take the time to examine the facts." She then directed readers to a Ludwig von Mises Institute author who condemned buying from local stores as "a half-baked attempt at local stimulus or... a vain effort to save the planet."
At Conservative Daily News, Alex Kauffman connected Small Business Saturday to "another small-business-oriented movement: The 'Buy Local' movement." This he disdained, considering it part of "the very core concept of Marxism: The theory of the zero-sum economy, wherein a person who accumulates wealth can only do so through depriving another person of it -- so, 'buy local' to deprive 'big business' of their 'ill-gotten' profits." (Not to mention "Farmer's Markets, and the ridiculous assertion that they 'save the environment,' and that somehow 'locally-grown' produce is superior...")
It's really the logical end of conservative Black Friday worship -- not only to oppose those who would suggest you buy less, but also to oppose those who suggest you buy from someone other than big corporations. It is rare, though, to see one of them admit as much. Chalk it up to the holiday spirit. Now, on to the War on Christmas!
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.