Driving into work today on one of North America’s busiest highways, the morning radio was abuzz with updates about Black Friday – and the deals, deals and deals. As I focused both on the news of chaos coming to life in malls in Canada, the US and even Britain, scenes from the under valued Arnold Schwarzenegger Christmas “classic” Jingle All the Way (1996) came vividly to mind.
For those who slightly remember or don’t know, the movie tells the tale of Howard (Schwarzenegger) a forgetful and neglecting father/husband who embarks on Christmas Eve to purchase for his young son the ever popular Turbo Man action figure. As he embarks on an adventure to purchase the toy, he encounters a mod culture of zombie like consumers who violently search for bargains and the season’s most popular gifts – including Turbo Man. The satirical narrative continues to build around Howard’s journey into consumer darkness and the chaos that consequentially brews.
That little movie, reinforces and foreshadows to today – emotional breakdowns in stores, violent encounters, consumer obsession and a complete fragmentation of social wellness. Black Friday and its build up is very much evidence of the growing shallowness of culture and the very devaluing of what Christmas is and should be. Are we loss?
As a Catholic school teacher, the possibility to explore faith and community wellness through the highlands of “Planet Friday,” are immediate and could play a significant role in providing students with an opportunity to actively incorporate their faith in practice. This includes, the use of technology to bring to life creative possibilities where students share their voice – critical, creative and thought- provoking. For example, students in English class could blog or write an editorial (accompanied by mock interviews or a photo expose), that reflects on the Black Friday pandemic. Perhaps, students in art classes, create stop motion animations (inspired by the 1960 classic TV specials) that focus on the lack of faith in the build up to Christmas. Again, so many possibilities.
At the end, Black Friday at least provides an active opportunity to converse about who we are as people and what do we really believe in as a shared community.
Here is an interesting read: “Ready. Set. Shop.”
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