Black Friday is another American nightmare

It's a big thing over there, and now it's coming over here

Share
Related Topics

I don't know the exact provenance of one of my favourite political cartoons, but I know it comes from a paper in the Middle East and dates back to 2003, at the height of the West's “War on Terror”. It shows a poor young Arab man at night in a deserted souk. There he is assembling a rocket launcher, and the only light he has to work with comes from the illumination of a Coca-Cola dispenser.

This simple, brilliantly conceived, image was, for me, a trenchant and thought-provoking comment on one aspect of the particularly complex geo-politics of the world at that time. On the one hand, people in less developed countries cherished the iconography and yearned for the material assets of America, the Hollywood stars, the big cars and the fast food, but on they other they raged against American cultural imperialism and what it had done to their indigenous culture.

This latter point seemed, to me, to have a certain amount of validity. I know it's another sign of my advancing age, but I find myself in gathering antipathy towards the stealthily Americanisation of our own culture and society. My anger is not murderous, and my protest is silent, like avoiding Starbucks. And it's complicated by the fact that I love visiting America, I've rarely met an American I didn't like, and I bow to no one in my love of modern American culture - my life would have been so much poorer without Philip Roth, Larry David and 30Rock (which is, incidentally, the greatest show of its type that has ever been on TV. Bar none).

I've only just finished complaining about Hallowe'en. Not that many years ago, we never took any notice of Hallowe'en. Of course, we'd seen the fuss they make of it in the States from the movies, but we concentrated on Bonfire Night, an occasion that was part of British culture and history. Over the past couple of decades, this hierarchy has been dramatically reversed. Hallowe'en has become a big day in our calendar. Shops have a bonanza, it's a party opportunity, and you can't move for trick-or-treaters. Bonfire night is now a much inferior status: after all, there's not been a series of Hollywood films about Guy Fawkes.

And now welcome to Black Friday. This is the day after Thanksgiving when the whole of America goes retail crazy, propelled to the shops by all manner of cut price deals. It's a big thing over there, and it's come over here. Many big British stores are today offering substantial Black Friday discounts in an effort to pack the shops. It's so called because it represents the day when many retailers, who trade at a loss for the rest of the year, start going into profit. But it has very different echoes in Britain. Like Black Tuesday, or Black Wednesday, days when billions were wiped off share prices. But mark my words: Black Friday is here to stay, and in years to come, will be a fixture in our lives. The thin, seemingly trivial, end of a very large wedge. I will leave the vacuous Americanisms infecting our everyday language for another time. Oh, I almost forgot. Have a nice day!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Andy Coulson  

Andy Coulson: With former News of the World editor cleared of perjury charges, what will he do next?

James Cusick James Cusick
Jack Warner  

Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Tom Peck
Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)