[ Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire ]
One of the advantages of living outside the United States—and they are legion—is a chance to observe the spectacle of Western living from a safe, objective distance. It’s a great exercise in perspective. There are certain times each year when this distant view is jaw-droppingly awful–none worse than the annual frenzy of naked greed and inhumanity know as Black Friday.
As much as there is to say about this manufactured consumerist orgy and the exploitative capitalist culture whence it hails, no words would be as concise or direct as the wonderful animated short Happiness by Steve Cutts. By now the film is a viral seasonal classic, but it’s always worth sharing. Black Friday makes an explicit appearance in the film at around the 1’32” mark, for twenty memorable seconds.
If you’re interested in a bit of background and a review of Cutts, and Happiness, head to the related article at ShortOfTheWeek (also my source for the featured image above).
Whenever you’re watching mainstream media footage about everything wrong with the Global South–and Africa in particular—keep in mind that the all-consuming, superficial disease-greed that forms the backdrop of the entire Western economy and lifestyle simply does not exist here. Not in the vast majority of the population. Though the forces of globalization toil tirelessly to impose it on the rest of the world—by force of arms where need be—as of yet there remain healthier, happier places, with a more humane view of the world and our place in it.
If America is a beacon on the hill, the world is a much better place with a lot less “light.”
I wish each of you a holiday season as far from the Modern American Dystopia as humanly possible.