I recently read this article by the Washington Post which compares the premise of the Hunger Games (rich citizens forcing poor citizens to fight one another to the death for their own entertainment while they watch from a comfortable distance) to Black Friday brawl videos. I had never thought much about these videos before except that they seemed to me like a grotesque display of American consumerism. After reading the article, I started to realize just how pervasive these videos were. I was seeing them everywhere, on every news channel, even during prime time. The news channels were using these fights like national headlines, some even choosing to prioritize Black Friday brawls over the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, which struck me the most. I just want to take this time to warn any readers against the dangers of indulging in these videos. They are not without a heavy load of classism, and, much like the Hunger games, are used for the entertainment of nightly news watchers through the shaming and embarrassment of the lower class, for whom these deals are able to make a huge difference in their ability to provide presents for their children on christmas.

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6 responses »

  1. jonesa0913 says:

    I think you analysis is pretty spot on; however, I think it is important to look at the intersection of classism and racism in the use of these videos. I am curious: have you seen the video of the white woman stealing a steamer from a Black child? When the child’s mother attempts to take the product back, the white woman accuses her of being scary. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZWdxIxEro

  2. cassidy says:

    Yes! These videos have been made into such spectacle. Goes to show what news channels are interested in –> views, as well as promotion of consumerism and problematic representations of the public.

  3. doriebailey says:

    I totally agree. Especially when you consider the kinds of stores these sort of brawls are known to happen at (such as Walmart), the classism associated with those who shop there already adds another layer of spectacle to the whole thing. Walmart shoppers have always been made fun of (the “people of Walmart” website was a huge hit amongst young people back when I was in 5-6th grade), particularly by those who can afford to shop elsewhere and not support some of their ethically-debatable business policies. But for a huge population, that kind of luxury is not practical for their family needs, and yet, they are made fun of and scrutinized for shopping there. It only gets worse around Black Friday time, and I always dread when the numerous videos of crowd fights (or even serious injury or death) start circulating the internet/media each and every year.

  4. hannahginsberg says:

    I think this is such an interesting point that I really had never thought of before. What you point out is exactly what is happening. News sites are showing these videos to point out how absurd these people are that they would fight for goods or wait in line for hours yet they also aren’t thinking about why these people are doing this. Perhaps this is the only way to get their children goods and such.

  5. lagray700 says:

    I think the argument against Black Friday in general is really interesting. I personally disagree with the whole idea of Black Friday (due to the fact that it promotes greediness and consumerism after a day of thanks), but I also have the privilege to be able to not partake in Black Friday and to combat it in a way. On one hand, it is unfair for us to blame people who otherwise on regular non-sale or non-Black Friday “days” for shopping and taking advantage of buying the things they can usually not afford.

  6. kthompso says:

    Your comparison to The Hunger Games is such an accurate analogy. It’s unfortunate that consumerism continues to take center stage in media. As we come closer to Christmas time, I think it’s good to acknowledge and combat large corporations in the way they market to us and try to fuel consumerism. Thanks for your insight!

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