26 November 2009

Black Friday: A Satire of Sorts

For an in-depth spoof on American culture, checkout Body Ritual among the Nacirema.

In the spirit of the Nacirema, and especially of the holiday, here is a satire I wrote a couple years back:

In order to appropriately perform the Black Friday ritual, participants must embody the Spirit of Backhoe-Snake. This spirit is perceived as the only conduit to the venerated Bargain god. The Spirit of Backhoe-Snake empowers participants to bulldoze the less-fit and to slither craftily among all. The goal is to secure a modern, discounted prize to which participants have ascribed sacred value. Some participants stay awake all night in preparation, dismantling and dicing their newspapers for divine vouchers. Others stock up on tryptophan, rest early on, and rise during untimely hours of the morning.

Participants form lines outside of locked shop doors hours before they open. Some employ folding chairs to conserve corporal energy. The chair acts as a bodily reinforcement prop as well as a symbol of line status. Once the opening hour dawns, participants abandon their prior parameters (a single line) and amalgamate their bodies (we have yet to discover the fate of the chairs). This new and impulsive fusion slowly filters through the doors, as pious participants begin driving elbows, fists, and tepid coffee cups into one another.

Once the mass enters the store, it quickly diffuses. The ritual consists next of destroying store displays, tossing products into the air, and shoving fellow believers around until faces hit tile. The yearly ritual requires further physical exertion, such as running, crawling, heaving, and bellowing profanities deep from the pit of one’s innards.

Together, these ceremonial practices reveal participants’ fundamental belief in the holiness of the hunt. By performing the Black Friday ritual, participants show ultimate reverence for the Bargain god to whom they devote all their spirited labors, time, and capital.