Black Friday to Manic Monday to monkey meat and beyond
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, or just a wonderful weekend for those who didn’t have a holiday. In the US we stuff ourselves with turkey and various regional trimmings, then spend the next day shopping. All of America’s holidays have become more or less intertwined with corporates interests. For example, Thanksgiving was traditionally on the last Thursday of November, but in order to add the occasional extra week of Christmas shopping, it was changed to the fourth Thursday of November in the nineteen thirties. And thus cultural traditions become blurred with corporate greed. This is of course very deliberate, like the commercials run by a certain burger chain a few years back where a man takes his son to a burger chain to order his first “grown up” meal as a rite of passage from childhood. Yeah, right.
And I guess Black Friday, as the shopping day after Thanksgiving is now called, is now complimented by Manic Monday. Apparently today is the biggest Internet shopping day of the year, breaking records each and every year so far. It’s even gotten to the point where productivity is hurt as employees spend their job time shopping instead of working. Eventually corporate America will realize that it is in their interest to make sure every home in the country has a computer and an Internet connection, but we aren’t quite there yet, and millions of people still rely on work for their Internet needs. Heck, I’m sure there are even people who read this blog when they are supposed to be working. For shame! hehe.
In any event, it’s unlikely that Americans are going to be able to shop their way out of the looming melt down (or mild recession for the more sanguine) of the American economy. But dammit, we’re going to try. If some terrible Vesuvius like tragedy should suddenly befall our nation, millions of Americans would be forever preserved…with a credit card in their outstretched hands. What will future experts make of this bizarre ritual? Probably what current experts think…”Did they think they could borrow and spend forever?”
Moving right along there is a sad story in the news about a lady in New York who has been jailed for eating monkeys. Poor little guys. Actually she has been jailed for illegally smuggling monkey meat into the USA for human consumption. While I am all for people following their own cultural practises, it is after all a supposedly free country, I am not one of this lady’s supporters. The importation and consumption of monkey meat is illegal in this country for a number of very good reasons. For one thing this encourages the “bushmeat” market, which is a nice way of saying it rewards poachers who are systematically slaughtering the wildlife of Africa. Secondly, eating African monkeys carries the very real possibility of introducing disease into the population. AIDs is believed to have jumped to humans from eating undercooked monkeys and chimps for example.
So I hope this lady gets a fair trial, but when you immigrate to the USA you are at least expected to follow the law of the land. I don’t care if people who immigrate to the USA don’t want to learn English or whatever, I know their children and grandchildren will. The melting pot may simmer slowly but it does eventually do the job even if it takes a generation or two. Hell, I have been in the country decades and I still say “oot” and “hoose” instead of out and house, much to the merriment of my friends. And yes, I am a legal immigrant, a naturalized citizen even, not one of those notorious frostbacks sneaking across the border from Canada.
Speaking of illegal immigration, a guy sneaking across the border from Mexico stopped and rescued a nine year old kid whose parents had been killed in an SUV rollover. Some think he should be given “credit” for being such a hero. I think that’s ridiculous, being a hero doesn’t mean the laws don’t apply to you. I only mention the story because I get tired of people making the absurd claim that people sneaking across the border are all criminals and what not. No, most of them are hard working, God fearing, family types just looking for a better life. The whole shtick of labelling them “illegals” makes me angry, it’s just stealth racism from what I can see. A way for politicians to get out the racist vote, pandering to human’s lowest instincts seems to be the best way to motivate people to vote these days. Democracy has its dark side, no doubt about that.
Speaking of which, in Pakistan Musharraf has agreed to take off his uniform now that Pakistan’s Supreme Court (conveniently minus the people who Musharraf had removed from it) ruled that he can serve a third term as “president.” Yeah, he’s not a dictator if he isn’t in a uniform? Give me a break. Lots more smoke and mirrors about Iran, and the US withdrawal from Iraq is going far more smoothly than anyone imagined. More on that later this week, have a good day everyone.
( The above image of a man in Cameroon selling bushmeat is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. And since it’s from a state university site I’m guessing that it is a public domain image. I would have posted many of the fine pictures of monkeys and chimps being used in the bushmeat trade, but they were way too disturbing. For those interested in finding our more about this horror or even doing something about it, check out Bushmeat Project.)