We have a friend, Ying, living with us. She was born in the Shan State of Burma and spent many years in Thailand (having fled the terrors of the military regime in Burma). Now, she is here under political asylum.
And it is very fascinating to look through her eyes at what goes in our simultaneously crazy, wonderful and revolting "advanced" society.
Today, Thanksgiving Day, the newspaper arrived. The size of the usual Sunday monstrosity (about 3 inches high), it consisted of the "news" section, plus three other bundles of advertisements, each as large as the "news" section (which itself is full of ads, of course).
She looked through some ads and then gasped: "Open at 5 AM?"
I glanced over at what she was reading. The advertising supplement for Kohl's. Like many other retailers, Kohl's now offers special, ultra, super deals for those people who want to haul themselves out of bed and go shopping at mind-boggling times: 5 AM, 6 AM, 7 AM. Before the usual opening time of 10 AM.
And it suddenly came to me:
This is what a national holiday now means in the United States:
Out of respect for our veterans or to give thanks for all that we have been given, you can't start shopping until 10 AM. This is the respite now offered by a capitalism run rampant in search of profits from our increasingly squeezed middle class and desperate poor.
But the day after the holiday? Time to get serious about shopping.