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Our View: It’s too late: Thanksgiving is up for sale

Updated: December 24, 2012 7:17AM



If you had to buy ownership rights to Thanksgiving, how much would it be?

For those with an insistent devotion to Norman Rockwell visions of Thanksgiving (family, sharing, contemplation of values, grotesque overeating and generally bad NFL football on TV) it will not come as a total surprise that the de facto price has been set.

Everything is for sale. The price of Thanksgiving now is $52 billion.

That’s how much shoppers are expected to spend this weekend in the ever-widening hegemony of consumer spending. The point of Thanksgiving used to be giving thanks. Now it’s gradually being overwhelmed as the official opening day of the Christmas shopping season.

Excuse us for a moment of wistful, nostalgic reverie about how the next day was the kickoff of the annual shopping extravaganza. Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving night and backslides deeper into the holiday every year.

We might as well surrender. We’re hooked on shopping. No one asked if we wanted Black Friday, but we Americans have voted with our wallets. Black Friday seems a more entrenched element of holiday architecture than Thanksgiving itself.

At this point, protesting the absolute marketing control of our purchasing needs and desires seems like pointless grousing. That battle is over. But we wonder if Black Friday eventually will be accompanied by Terrific Turkey Sale Day, which would be preceded by Green Wednesday, Spendthrift Tuesday, Gotta-Have-It Monday and Turkey Week Liftoff Sunday.

We once had election seasons followed by long periods of calm interrupted by a gradual run-up to the next election. Now, the next election cycle begins within hours of the last election.

What both elections and Black Friday prove is that there’s no place to hide. We have surrendered our right not to be bothered. When there is political power to be won and dollars to be made, we get no days off from the assault.

That’s unfortunate. By the way, if you get to Wal-Mart before we do, can you save one of those big-screen TVs for us?



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