Hating Black Friday 2012: The Hatening

Last year I went on about how I hated Black Friday.  To sum up last year, I felt it:

  1. Distorted economic planning.
  2. Was stressful on businesses.
  3. Was a giant cultural distorter.
  4. Wasted mindshare on things like . . . me writing about it.
  5. Distorted perspective.

None of my areas of concern really changed, and repeating them is kind of useless.

So I’d like to turn this around and ask – do I see Black Friday going away?

. . . and the answer really is no, not without specific effort or changes.

Black Friday is integrated into not just our economy, but our culture.  It’s there, it’s expected, it’s assumed.  As much as people (like me ) complain about it, it’s just something we do.  There’s a lot of inertia behind the idea.  I see no reason for it to stop.

It’s fascinating to imagine something economic like this being a cultural fixture, but there you go.  The mutant offspring of Christmas greed (which we’ve been decrying for decades), bargain-hunting, and watching-the-car crash is just something we do.  Much as we also rant about it (which is strangely its own traditions).

Now could I see it going away?  Maybe, but it’d have to be conscious.  We’d have to as a country and a culture, or at least part of us, move against the insanity of the day.  We’d have to get businesses to go along with it.  In short, there’d have to be a kind of movement.

Do I want one?  Actually, yeah.  The entire holiday distortion of the economy can’t be healthy, and I’m not sure it can last in its currently exponetially-insane-ifying state.  Also it’s really annoying and distracting.

OK, you go start the movement. *I* am tired ranting.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.

A Reminder Of Why You Geeks, Nerds, Otaku, and Fanpeople are Important.

Let me note that SOPA is a reminder of why you, the geek, the fan, the otaku, are important.

SOPA was and is  a grand illustration of ignorance, greed, and stupidity.  It would  destroy a great deal of freedom, was a legal and technical nightmare, and contained so much wrong it'd be hard to describe (fortunately others have done this for me).

Of course we geeks knew this.  Tech geeks could see where this was dangerous technically and security wise.  Culture geeks saw how this could destroy sites and communities.  Artistic geeks could see their livelihood curtailed or destroyed.  We knew in short it was REALLY BAD.

An awful lot of geeks rallied to give congress what-for, and are continuing to do so.  They do this because they get how things work – and know what's happening.

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Frustration Friday: The Experiments!

I hope you like science, because guess what?  Economically we are in the middle of a huge set of experiments in America.  You may not think of them as experiments but they are – in the sense that actions were taken and results most certainly followed.  Last week I talked about how we're in unknown territories, so consider this metaphor another way of looking at our situation.

* The US tried less financial regulation.  We learned that was pretty bloody bad.
* We're finding out what happens when a large quantity of people looking for work have to take 6 months on average to find a job.
* We're finding out just how long you can extend unemployment benefits for people.
* We learned what happened when you tie together a lot of different European countries with one currency.
* We're finding out how welfare and social systems can stretch.
* We're finding out  . . .

Well you can fill in any number of blanks.

We've been subjected to all sorts of economic theories over the years, great efforts, plenty of papers, and of course various political and economic policies.  As the world grows smaller and more complex, as the changes speed up because of technology and globalization, we've basically tried a whole lot to keep the economic ball in the air.

So now, in the Great Recession, we're primed to learn an awful lot about the things our economics and politicians and the like have been writing about, theorizing about, lying about, and the like.

What frustrates me is that we may not learn from all of this.  That we'll have people resort to ideology and deception and hiding to save their egos and bank accounts as opposed to learn.

But the experiments have been done.  These are no-going back experiments.

Learning or not is the question.  The willingness to learn is.

– Steven Savage