I will admit that I am already feeling anxious about the end of this week. Not because I have to write two sermons. Not because I am running a 5k on Thursday morning that I have under-trained for. And not because I'm worried about family or food or anything having to do with Thanksgiving.
I am feeling anxious about Friday. Black Friday. I have no inclination to go shopping nor do I harbor any secret glee about lining up in the middle of the night to secure for myself a 40% discount on some item that I probably don't need anyway. I feel anxious because I have become keenly aware of how companies and consumerism are so shamelessly trying to convince me that I have needs so that they can be the ones to fill those "needs," and how Black Friday has become a grim joke of a holiday in itself. I am anxious because Black Friday advertising is so strong and ubiquitous that Thanksgiving itself, which hasn't even taken place yet, has already been eclipsed. Instead of gearing up for family time and grateful hearts, we are planning what time we need to go to bed if want to be first in line when Kohl's opens its doors at 3am (no joke).
Black Friday is the kickoff for the holiday spending season...and it is commercials like the one below that make me particularly angry and sad, both because of their reversal of the flippant but not inaccurate "Jesus is the reason for the season" into their holiday sales slogan, "the season of reason," and because they are luxury car maker trying to sell themselves as "simple" in the midst of a culture of extravagance:
[Youtube video link.]
It baffles me that a company would spend so much money on advertising to try to sell me a luxury car as an alternative to extravagant Christmas purchases. It baffles me that a company would spend so much money on advertising to try to convince me that rational Christmastime behavior would be to purchase a car in general. It baffles me that a company would decide that the general public is looking for Christmas to be a "season of reason" rather than, say, a season of joy or hope or love or faith. Methinks that trying to prey on people's residual recession sensibilities is a pretty low (and ineffective) move for a luxury car company.
For another (similar) reflection on this commercial, see this blog post.
Watch for future posts as we move into Advent that offer ideas for how to resist, rebel, and even (mildly) subvert a holiday culture of stuff, spending, and consumerism.