• AJ Freeman

Thanks for the Memories (even if they weren´t so great)

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

if you´ve ever wondered what Thanksgiving looks like on $7.25 an hour, wonder no more.

Today, Friday 27 November, is the curious consumerist celebration known as Black Friday--a true American original--and although I´ve always found it a little strange that our national tradition is to go out and buy a bunch of shit we don´t need literally the day after spending a whole day performing various rituals of gratitude for what we have, I can´t help but still find myself thankful for the events of this year.

Sure, this will probably read like one of those ¨year in review¨ posts, so I guess I´m making the bold assumption that I´ll still be standing come 1 January...but nothing about these views is expected to change before the end of the year--or hell, the end of 2021--so I feel safe rolling this out as something of a a Thanksgiving special.

I feel absolutely justified in feeling that I have already received plenty of blessings this year.

So thank you, 2020.

For slapping me in the fucking face.

For wiping the ass of inevitability with childish notions of unlimited and unstoppable economic growth...a system predicated on nothing ever going wrong ever is one masterfully designed for catastrophic failure.

I even got $1200 out of it!

With 12 million Americans set to lose their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas, a quarter-million more dead from ass-brained management, an ongoing economic collapse, a national eviction moratorium set to expire Day One of next year, and a whole new perception of reality to work with (and even some to work against!), that acknowledgement has arrived in grand fashion.

Thank you for ripping the mask off this sham society, for laying, bare and raw as road rash, the structural aspects of inequality, for the bald and overt truth that capitalism is killing us. For making abundantly clear the binary choice between socialism and barbarism.

Thank you for demonstrating beyond doubt that it is The People--the medical professionals, the dedicated educators professional and parental, the cashiers, plumbers, and drivers--the proletariat, as some of my comrades call them--are owed an immeasurable debt for enabling the stability of our world.

sure, they´re holding our flimsy civilization together...but do they really deserve a living wage?

Thank you for inspiring me to give up big box stores for good...consumption got too high, costs sunk too low, every cheap Chinese product stuffing the shelves was destined to be taken for granted and every discount is taken out of employee wages and labor costs, never profits.

Sure, I often have to count every penny while grocery shopping, but there is no price on anything so appealing that it makes selling out society a good deal.

So thank you, sudden-onset poverty, for reminding me how little I need in life to be happy.

On a happier note, I am thankful for an unexpected chance to see my family...good thing the President of the United States meddled with the mail so badly I had to board an international flight in a pandemic just to vote.

I suppose I am also thankful for the subsequent reminder that my parents just may not be around forever.

So thank you for showing me now who my friends are, for making it impossible to ignore that anyone who does not agree with my basic ideas for the shape of society is an adversary, and that there is no badge of honor in seeking civility from those who would gladly see you dead.

¨socially liberal, fiscally conservative.¨

Thank you, sadly, for delivering the footage that made every incident in the past all too real...the only thing that made George Floyd´s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police in any way noteworthy is that it was caught on film and therefore impossible to deny or minimize. At least, that´s what I thought...many humanoids in my orbit managed to do so anyway.

Still, I guess I am also thankful that these alleged people have exposed themselves.

So Thank you for showing me that my life does not matter--at least if you ask some people I knew--and for forcing me to take a hard look in the mirror and reevaluate the direction of it.

Thank you for showing me police reform is not the answer, and there is no amount of training or equipment that can adequately compensate for the systemic echoes of white supremacy.

Thank you for strangling the idea of karma without enforcement by society to a long-overdue death. Thank you for radicalizing the general public. Subtly. Tantalizingly. Unmistakably.

even those reluctant to embrace change can recognize its necessity.

For grabbing me by the locs, dumping me out of my beach hammock, and forcing my face into the reality that colonialism and the delusions that drive it are alive and well all around us.

For finally...FINALLY---turning me into something resembling an adult. Thanks, I hate it.

Bittersweet is the undisputed Word of 2020...as the stock market hits new highs and people stand in lines for days to purchase the newest game consoles at their full retail price while some citizens of a highly advanced capitalist nation stand in bread lines thousands of stomachs long, these developments have left a strange new taste in my mouth...the authentic flavor of our times.

So no, it´s not super happy flying rainbow magic space captain time at the moment--my friends and family as struggling, my future is unclear, and our shiny modern world may be crumbling beneath our feet--but I still find myself thankful for the year´s transformative transpirings.

Whether I like it or not doesn´t really matter...the point is I am fucking thankful.

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