Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Sacrifice to the American Religion of Shopping

Poet Andrei Codrescu offered this commentary on NPR's All Things Considered last night about the death of a Wal-Mart employee who was stampeded by a crowd of shoppers, anxious to get into the store for super savings on Black Friday.

I'm a pretty analytical girl ... which makes me so glad for people like Codrescu, who have poetic minds. Codrescu calls the death a sacrifice to the American religion of shopping.

"And so we went shopping! We so went shopping, in rumbling herdlike elephant masses, we killed a guy who didn't get out of the way fast enough. It's a tragic incident, but by no means meaningless. Shopping is a religion, and some religions demand sacrifices.

The Wal-Mart employee died for us on Black Friday, but have we stopped to think what his sacrifice means? Not at all: We're stampeding right on through to the other side of Christmas. We aren't just shopping: We are saving America."

I'm sure a lot of the more thoughtful of us already have done this, but maybe we should all stop for a minute and think about what his death means.

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