“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Friday, August 17, 2007

anarchy through capitalism

(Amarillo) I won't be going anywhere near any kind of retail store this weekend. For one thing, my new mother-in-law will be in town. But that is, of course, not the only reason for my refusal to participate in capitalistic excess this weekend.

This weekend Texans will be performing the strange ritual known as tax-free weekend. Of all Texan ritualistic activity, this particular one is the most bizarre and least humane. I refuse to participate in such a horrible spectacle. As in all ritual, the value of the tax-free weekend is primarily symbolic. Although participants often claim to have "saved money," this claim is highly dubious. Prior to Zero Year -- 1999, the first year Texans performed the tax-free ritual -- merchants frequently had something called "sales," which often offered more in the way of real value to consumers than the tax-free weekend. Although sales can still be found, they frequently offer a smaller savings than they would have been before the tax-free weekend. This has led to speculation that the real value of the tax-free weekend is primarily to businesses who greedily reap the whirlwind of the crowds and their money without having to reduce their own profits in any way. Those who find it difficult to believe that a state would undertake an action primarily to help its businesses while disregarding its human citizens are advised to study the peculiar history and customs of this particular state.

I did not always refuse to participate in tax-free weekend. Early in the history of the "holiday", I went in to the very Belly of the very Beast -- The Mall Itself. And there I witnessed the teeming hordes. I saw shocking numbers of parents wearing colored brassieres underneath thin white T-shirts. I witnessed tweenage kids-- in stores in which all the dressing rooms were full-- changing. clothes. in. the. aisles. at the demands of those parents. And then in one horrible moment the nightmarish truth hit me: I was in the presence of the Great Unwashed. And I hate the Great Unwashed. I screamed in horror.

So if you do choose to venture out this weekend, please, for god's sake, be careful out there. Not all who enter a department store or a mall this weekend will come out alive. And even those who live will be forever changed by the experience, and not for the better.