Sunday, December 1, 2013
Bread and Circuses: A ponderation on Black Friday, Wal-Mart and Jerry Springer
I have a thought about the Wal-Mart Black Friday videos and reactions to them and I'm not sure how to say it, so bear with me.
I'm really having a hard time with the whole thing. From the fact that those things happened to the way many people are reacting. Because it seems to be a lot about the people in the videos being "Those people."
I think we forget the bigger picture. The many of the people who have to camp out and go to those Wal-Mart sales are people who are desperate enough for a nice TV, or a doll for their kid, or some other deal that they save up their money and go to the store knowing it's going to be fucking insane.
It's The Hunger Games. It's about getting what they need, no matter the obstacle, no matter the pain. To them, it's their one shot for that nice thing that they have been told by all the commercials year round that they NEED.
And when those things happen and people get hurt, those of us watching tut tut and talk about how horrible and sad it all is.
But are we tut tuting at the wrong people? It seems to me that many of us are acting just like the people of The Capitol; watching the games and seeing them as something separate from us. Those people. They aren't like us. Those people who are doing things we would never do. Those people.
But we never tut tut at the Gamemakers. We don't post those death tolls and point to the people who have created a world in which people will literally kill one another over a waffle iron.
That person doesn't kill for an item because they want to. They've been driven to believe they can't live without it and they have been left with no option but to fight for it.
Panem et circenses.
It feels like we're blaming the wrong people.
It's like when I watch Jerry Springer (yes, I admit, I do from time to time) and I see a girl with a cheating boyfriend. When the girl he's cheating with comes on stage, the two women go at one another like rabid dogs. I have never understood why both women don't just turn around and pop the guy upside the head. I mean, he's the one who cheated. He's the reason their both unhappy. But, no, the women fight each other and the guy just sits there looking bemused.
Maybe it's easier to get mad at the wrong people. Because looking at the issue and really going after the bad guy means we might have to look at ourselves and why we're contributing to the problem.
I don't know. I just know I'm bothered and wish people would be bothered as well.