Friday Afternoon Potpourri


I have two things to say today:

  1.  If you use a credit card today; if you spend cash at a mall today; if you acquiesce in the lie of “just buy stuff to show your love,” you are guilty.  You are sending the message to fascists and those who would oppose them that you are going to make fascism the “new normal.”  Nothing to see here; move along.  Everyone will continue to buy and behave.  As Wendell Berry wrote:  “When they want you to buy something/they will call you./When they want you/to die for profit they will let you know.”

I don’t care if what you use your credit card for today is to buy a lovely, handmade bit of artisanship from a nice Pagan.  You’ve sent the message that you will be a good consumer, even under a fascist regime.  And it’s disingenuous to say, “Oh, we’re not encouraging anyone to buy today.  We’re just saying that if you do comply today, well, here are some nice things to buy.”  Bullshit.

2.  This.

Picture found here.

8 responses to “Friday Afternoon Potpourri

  1. Jane Gagle-Bennett

    No spare to spend, but if I had the spare, I’d donate – to Planned Parenthood and to my local food pantry. Both need my help, now more than ever. So next month, what I would have spent on Christmas will go to those organizations.

  2. Jane Gagle-Bennett,


  3. Back home from a road trip, my wife went to the grocery store on Black Friday. I went elsewhere and bought a pair of jeans and some socks for her (a long-running Yule gift joke). Now we’re both fascists. Wow, political discourse is unforgiving this year.

  4. I purposefully shopped at Patagonia. 100% of sales are going to grassroots environmental organization. my way of saying, “fuck you ‘rump!” #notmypresident.

  5. HD, please enlighten your readers out here in the Mountain Time Zone as to how (1) using my Amtrak Rewards Master Card to buy myself a pair of jeans on Black Friday makes me a “fascist” (or M. at the grocery store, ditto) and (2) what on earth that has to do with Donald Trump’s tweeting habits. Seriously. I am just not seeing the connections. And I know that you are a lawyer and good at explanations.

  6. Chas,

    Thank you for your kind words. You made two points and I’d like to respond to them, in lawyer-speak, seriatim.

    First, I am a lawyer and — I can’t help it, it’s my training — I try to use words carefully. Please read my post. I did not call people such as you or M who spent money on Black Friday fascists. I said that people who spent money on Black Friday and who acquiesced in in the lie of buying stuff to show love were “sending the message to fascists and those who would oppose them that you are going to make fascism the ‘new normal.'” My point, as I know that you are intelligent enough to grasp, was that participating in Black Friday — especially after the election that we just had — was a bad idea because it normalized what had happened and indicated that our nation’s economic life would go on, uninterrupted. Do you disagree? I said that it told both those who support fascism and those who would oppose it that they could expect fascism to be normalized. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, when I use words, I don’t expect them to mean what I choose them to mean and neither more nor less. I expect them to mean what we all understand them to mean and there is, in normal discourse, a difference between calling someone a fascist and explaining why someone should not give even inadvertent comfort to fascism. I don’t expect people not to ever spend any money, but given the political and economic importance that is placed upon Black Friday spending, I wanted to encourage people to go one day without spending money if possible. Do you disagree? So, could you have waited a day to cash in your points on jeans and socks? If so, I was encouraging you to do so. Could M have waited a day to buy groceries after coming home from a trip or could a single mom in Chicago have waited to spend bus fare to get to her job? Probably not and, in that case, it is, as my young associates would say, what it is.

    Second, you called my political discourse, as well as “political discourse this year,” “unforgiving.” In response, I cited Trump’s comments to point out that Trump has already coarsened, beyond belief, our political discourse. Again, do you disagree? I think, despite what you say, that you’re very good at seeing connections. Trump’s campaign was built on destroying the notion that people should engage in “politically correct” speech. OK, but sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and perhaps it’s time to note that those of us who oppose fascism (and racism, and sexism, and homophobia, and xenophobia, and the dismantling of our social safety net, etc.) can use strong language, as well. If that hurts the feelings of those who support Trump’s policies and agendas, that’s unfortunate, but so is my having to live in a world where powerful men can brag about grabbing my pussy and be rewarded for it or where a candidate from a major party can call his opponent a “nasty woman” when she dares to point out that he has paid no taxes. I’m pretty sure you understood my point.

    I was born and grew up in Mountain Time and still have clients who are located and do business there. I’ve lived a long time on Eastern Standard Time and I travel regularly for work to areas that operate under Pacific Standard Time. I haven’t found that the time zones make any difference on these important human value issues, but YMMV.

  7. Thanks, but I don’t think that you have convinced me that buying a pair of jeans sends a message to “fascists” or that it makes fascism the “new normal.”

    Not unless Big R Farm & Ranch Supply is part of “a political philosophy, movement, or regime . . . that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” (Merriam Webster).

    We are not there yet.

    I know some people think that we are, but to my mind, Donald Trump is not the God-Emperor of his most fervent followers, but neither is he the Destroyer of Worlds. He is the president-elect of a large, bureaucratic, inertia-plagued system, full of conflicting egos, with which you are quite familiar.

    Second, if Donald Trump has already coarsened political discourse — and maybe he has — why are you jumping into his boat, rhetorically speaking?

    Curse me for a moderate, if you like, one of those “let’s wait and see and then choose our battles” people.

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