Each year, Black Friday is plumbed for symbols of American decline and avarice. Oh, look at the riffraff with their Wal-mart pepper-sprayings and $2 waffle iron riots! But now it's Cyber Monday, which is so cool and new.
The Black Friday hate parade reached a fevered pitch this year. Salon lamented the "desperation" of Black Friday— "Consumerism minus civilization," they said. The Times wondered about how to end the Black Friday madness. Even the Obama campaign was scolded as being tacky when it jumped on Black Friday with a sale.
But where are all the gloomy think pieces about the record $1.2 billion sales projected for today, Cyber Monday, a "holiday" made up by online retailers in 2006 in the hopes of sucking up even more of your money into this year's barely-improved new gadget. Apparently the majority of American workers will be spending most of their time clicking around Amazon today, but we've decided it's less ludicrous to waste time and money via the internet than in real life. Cyber Monday gets a triumphant write-up in the Times:
Cyber Monday might have started as a made-up occasion to give underdog e-commerce sites jealous of Black Friday a day of their own, but it has become an undeniably real thing - surprising even the people who invented it.
And a slick Mashable infographic. The same people tweeting their disgust of the scenes at Walmart are smugly bragging today about their deals on fancy West Elm furniture. Be a mindless consumer: Just don't try too hard while you do it.
Why does Cyber Monday get a pass? It doesn't produce the vivid—and, yeah, highly-enjoyable!—riot videos of Black Friday. And we're in a tech bubble, so anything "cyber" must be good. But whatever lessons about the economy and American consumerism pundits see in Friday's Walmart stampedes can be drawn from Monday's office workers clicking down, deeper into debt, on a day arbitrarily chosen by corporations as Spend Your Money on Slightly-Cheaper Useless Shit Day. The pundits are probably all too busy snapping up hot deals on Amazon to write about it.
[Image via AP]