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Holidays, nonidays, and the rule of three

November 25, 2012
By Wes Burns (wburns@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

I just shotgunned an entire Thanksgiving meal in about 20 minutes so bear with me if this doesn't make any sense.

Yes, I'm writing this on Thursday; columns are written well before they are published. And they don't actually tape "The Tonight Show" at night either.

Illusions = Shattered!

Now, back to my original point; the holidays are a fraud!

No, not ALL of the holidays. December is full of completely legitimate holidays like Christmas, New Year's Eve, and occasionally Hanukkah. These are traditional, accepted holidays that have their own greeting cards and everything.

I'm talking about fraudulent non-holidays, nonidays if you will, that billions of dollars are spent to convince us that 1) these are real holidays, 2) we should care about said real holidays, and 3) the only way to celebrate these new holidays is by spending money ... a lot of money.

Unfamiliar with what I'm talking about? You may think so but I would wager my last turkey leg (delicious, even outside of a state fair) that one of these nonidays has impacted your life, maybe even this past week.

Did you go shopping on Friday? Did you save a lot of money? Did the crowd look like a deleted scene from "Dawn of the Dead?"

Then you got to experience the originator of the nonidays, Black Friday.

Oh, Black Friday. The day that otherwise sane folk trample one another in the name of savings.

Tracing its origins back to a time when people who only wanted to work 40 hours a week were called communists Black Friday is the official start of the "shopping season," also known as "Christmaspendathon."

Recently, Black Friday has acquired a patina of tragedy following a few years of pepper spray wielding customers, threats of gun violence, and a man that died after being trampled to death working at a Walmart.

So the Alpha noniday has made its name by glorifying greed, consumerism and savings. Terrible? Yes, but still a little too real.

You see, even with all of the horrors that Black Friday can heap upon the holidays, you actually CAN save quite a bit of money on gifts if you participate in the frenzy. This is, of course, if you place the cash value of dignity at zero.

So how about a noniday that SEEMS like Black Friday (lots of savings, incredible selection) but with the addition of the wondrous powers of the internet (no anchor in reality whatsoever)?

That's right, Cyber Monday!

Created when the term Cyber still had something to do with the internet and wasn't yet completely relegated to 1980s era science fiction and online bullying Cyber Monday is the attempt from online retailers to get you to buy your gifts online because ... you know ... online is better!

According to the good folks at Wikipedia (birthplace of fact) the term Cyber Monday is a neologism invented by Shop.org, it was first used within the ecommerce community during the 2005 holiday season.

That sentence right there is why Cyber Monday is a fraud. Shop.org? Is that even real?

And its been years since anyone used the term "ecommerce" to describe buying things online. Recently we've begun just calling that "buying things."

Now, if people were actually doing a lot of online shopping on the Monday after Thanksgiving that would be one thing, but it wasn't until 2010, five years and quite a bit of media hype after the term was coined, that "Cyber Monday" was the busiest online shopping day of the year.

Five whole years, millions of dollars and countless fake news stories fed to news organizations that should have been a little more worried about the country fighting two wars; all of it to make us believe that shopping on the Monday after Thanksgiving was a real event.

And apparently now it is.

We inherited Black Friday from our consumer forefathers and we watched Cyber Monday go from outright lie to actual noniday. Anybody else want a chance at making up a Decemeber holiday?

Yes. I do.

I propose we turn December 19th, which I'm sure you currently think of as the day Roman Co-Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus murdered his brother Publius Septimius Geta to gain control of the empire, into something called McClane's Day.

On McClane's Day you don't have to shop, you don't have to fight any crowds and you don't have to spend exorbitant money. Celebrating McClane's Day is much more simple' gather your loved ones around the TV, grab your favorite holiday snack, and watch the greatest Christmas movie of all time, "Die Hard."

Now, all we need is a multimillion dollar hype campaign to make it into a real noniday. If Cyber Monday can do it so can we!

So ... you know ... somebody get to work on that; I'm too busy fighting off this turkey coma to care.

---

Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or wburns@timesrepublican.com.

 
 

 

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