Saturday, November 29, 2008

taking a deep breath-- again

i limit my exposure to the news these days- and i have been limiting my interactions with people in the outside world also. but there comes a time when you have to go out into the world and be amongst your fellow americans. holiday shopping time is generally not one of those times. i get all of my holiday shopping done before thanksgiving and i have done this for years. i hate crowds and i hate the mob mentality. so, it isn't surprising that i am completely disgusted over what happened at walmart. i mean there are several layers to this that disgust me.

first, it's walmart.

second, it's a nassau county, long island, new york walmart- and long islanders as a whole disgust me. they have for years- and i can say this openly even though my husband was born and raised there. in fact, i have said it to him many times and he agrees. his whole family moved from there a few years ago. there is much money in nassau county because of it's proximity to 'the city'. that's what everyone here and downstate call it. there isn't any other city in america. i went to a state college and two of my room mates and most of my college mates were from 'the island'- yes, that's what we call it. people from there have a contempt for anyone who isn't from downstate and they are eager to return no matter where they go- have to get back to the island because it's the best place. please. it's full of people with more money than sense, too many cars and too big homes, and strip malls and diners abound. anything left of the island as far as culture- gone. oh- they do have a branch of sak's though.

consumerism is an artform on long island- home of the cookie cutter homes in levittown- where hubby has relatives. you certainly don't want to visit at cmas time- which we did until they moved- because it's wall to wall gaudy. clark griswold is an amateur compared to long islanders. so, my thought is that they are a pretty good microcosm of american culture at its most base.

third- there are a number of us online who complain and gripe about consumerism in america- and there seems to be quite a few of us- even the talking heads are talking about it- who are these people who are ignoring everything to trample people in order to spend, spend, spend? do they even realize that the stores aren't having a give-away- that they actually have to buy the stuff? mr. betmo and i watch the smoking gun tv show- and recently, they had on about holiday shoppers. there were thousands of folks lined up outside of a box store one year to BUY $700 ps3s. you would have thought that they were on sale or that the store was handing them out to the first 34 people who came through the door. but no. they simply had 34 units to sell. wtf is wrong with people?

i have no idea what's in the budget for america this cmas- last year the average household spent about $1,700 on cmas. why? i believe firmly in the idea that a gift is given by someone who wants to give a gift. it isn't an obligation. which is why sometimes i opt not to give gifts. especially for weddings. or babies or whatnot. love to share your joy- but not always my pocketbook. much has been said about keeping the peace with family during the holidays- but isn't that lying? not speaking the truth (in a tactful manner) or being who you are- that's lying. and how are we going to make a difference in the world if we can't have discussions with the people who we are supposed to be the closest to? doesn't make sense. if we don't talk to people candidly over the pumpkin pie and coffee, how can we expect them to think about the world in a different way?

our way of life is killing us- not just economically but physically, mentally, and spiritually. it is not a sustainable system environmentally either. george bush talked to his sister recently about his legacy- i am taking a moment----- ok maybe two....

for the last half of the 20th century and the beginning decade of the 21st, the milton friedman theory of economics has been touted as 'trickle down' economics and unbridled capitalism has reigned supreme. let's face it, the middle class has gotten to pretend to be rich for years through shopping at walmart, and the umpteen dollar stores and chains. feels good to pretend to be something you are not and yet, get applauded for it. it's called acting. unfortunately, once the play is over, you get to go back to being who you really are- and in the america of today- odds are it's in debt and not so middle class anymore. let's stop pretending and start working on the people trapped inside a consumerist's body.

and for heaven's sake- let's stop killing people for cmas. that's the easter holiday.


PTCruiser said...

I've been afraid to do a post on this because of how much anger I'm feeling over it. You did an excellent job of covering it while keeping a cool head, Betmo.

jams o donnell said...

I missed this story until yesterday. Stampeding into Walmart? What the hell for? A discount on some cheap crap? It beggars belief

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"and long islanders as a whole disgust me. they have for years"
And how many hundred flames did you get from long islanders screaming "we fought the war of good out here against five million bad's. "Remember The Tugboat!!" or I'll kick your ass until it falls out your nose!" It can always be worse!:)

"my thought is that they are a pretty good microcosm of american culture at its most base.

I have news that is going to rock your world. The sun doesn't rise in New York, it doesn't hover over Texas, and it doesn't set in California. Get the hell out of any of all three states, and go to the midwest. To the south. There you will find America at it's most base, I assure you!

"it is not a sustainable system environmentally either."
It's not a sustainable system period. Only America would try to prop a building back up that collapsed under it's own weight!


Hi - well I decided to take some time to read this blog of yours; glad I did!

This article was well-written and sure hit some powerful 'notes' for me and summed up many of the things I also feel (and needed to hear from someone else). It was like doing a sanity check for me; I found someone else who feels strongly about many of the same issues you managed to fit into this article.

I couldn't even post on the Wal-Mart incident it sickened me so; talked to my son who manages an Office Depot - he said he actually vomited when he heard the news.

That same day, my son and his wife (they live in Palm Desert) were redirected in traffic after the Toys R Us (2 people were shot dead there) was cordoned off. More vomit!!!!

As to the gift-giving; I give gifts all year long WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT, and it's the LOVE OF GIVING and the GIVING TO THOSE I LOVE that makes it wonderful. The gift might be something I made; something inexpensive - and sometimes it is expensive only because it's something I know the person wants; can't justify spending the money for (or simply can't afford), and I've won a few extra dollars playing Keno so 'why not'....why not make another one happy and 'play Santa' year-round.

What I dislike is using the Christmas season to be nothing more than a commercial holiday and incite people to buy, buy, buy - and now even die, die, die.

We celebrate Christmas first, as the day a special man was born and gave much to the world.

We have never used Santa as the story-life; I started that tradition when my first child was born. I told her Santa was someone special; a person who dressed up - made you feel good, and for some children it worked for them because their parents liked this fairy-tale and this type of celebration.

I told my children that if I didn't have the money for gifts, what a nasty thing to do but to let them think Santa had forgotten them when it was really ME that simply couldn't come up with the money for the many gifts under the tree concept.

It worked great; my grown children adopted the idea, so there's never been a sad face on Christmas morning because mom and dad didn't have the money for presents that year.

Christmas morning is always about a nice breakfast; candles burning as 'birthday candles' for Jesus, and sitting around the table enjoying each other.

When the stockings were all that could be filled, stockings were just fine.

When there were many gifts, nice - but we cherished more getting together with family; enjoying the talks - the food, and taking pictures of those special moments.

You really popped a good one by ending it on 'Easter is the day for killing' (I'm paraphrasing of course). That was a punch-line that will always stick in my mind - well done!

Strange that I see the word verification as proph - the first five letters of the word 'prophet' - but to the commercial minds and the goals of this nation and why we celebrate ANY HOLIDAY ANY MORE, is PROFIT (can I spell it prophit just to make it fit)????

In any case, I said I'd read more of your blogs to get to know you better, and I'm enjoying more and more of what you have to say; glad I found you.



Betmo, just had to put this here because the next word verification that popped up is this:


See the word die?

See the word man?

See the word dies?

Notice it asks for 8 letters to verify - that seems more than normal to me.....