Some people are put off by America’s obsessive commercialism. They point to the incredible levels of participation in specially designated shopping days such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday as proof of this obsessive excess.
I don’t share this view. I like this kind of over-the-top peddling. I believe it’s socially as well as economically animating — a positive thing providing it doesn’t lead to stampedes that crush store clerks or leads to knife fights when someone tries to sneak into a line queued up for an extra $20 discount on a 50-inch TV.
What does bother me is that this national shopping frenzy doesn’t have some arts-oriented counterparts.
To correct this deficiency, I suggest designating special days in this season to increase commercial activity involving, say, graphic novels, fine art galleries, and bar bands and street corner buskers.
This trend might kick off with Graphic Novel Tuesday. Shoppers on this day would for encouraged, nay, poked and prodded, into going to book stores and buying the classic works in this field such as Persopolis and Maus, and the Marvel-esque, richly inked, super hero offerings with admittedly mushy plot lines but often brilliant visuals. Amazon is another excellent source for shoppers in this increasingly popular realm. If you wish to actually help get new works in this field produced, Kickstarter is the place to go. There are plenty of worthwhile prospects on view there.
Still having a few bucks left on your credit cards, you might hit the gallery scene on Art Galleries Wednesday. Big cities like New York and L.A. and Miami are not the only places with great art scenes worth exploring. Many really talented artists who can’t afford big city living have settled in smaller cities, and even rural areas, where their output these days is both massive and marvelous, and art bargains at these local galleries are joys to behold. So behold and buy on Art Galleries Wednesday.
So now you’re almost broke and in desperate need of a few drinks. You are thus well prepped to enter the wonderful world of Bar Band Thursday. Get yourself a pitcher of suds, and get into the music coming from a tiny stage where musicians are playing their hearts out, then buy the CD of their songs they aggressively peddle after every set. And when you stagger out on the street, and come upon a pair of buskers doing their own number, drop some leftover coins and bills in the open guitar case. It’s the perfect way to end a pre-Christmas shopping week.
For a very long time we’ve been hearing about international competitiveness and how America is falling behind. Well, let me tell you friends, when it comes to shopping, product consumption and straight out material acquisitiveness, we still lead the international pack.
Screw Karl Marx! All power to the shopping classes! And remember: A shopper never stands so tall as when he (or she) supports the arts.