Well, we’re back to another holiday season. We have somehow survived another Thanksgiving, which, given the actual conduct of the pilgrims and their kids, ought to be called “ThanksTAKING” rather than “Thanksgiving,” or, even more accurately, should be called, “We’re Going to Take All Your Shit and Then Kill You Anyway.” Problem is, those little boxes on the calendar won’t easily hold a holiday called that, so we go with the euphemism, Thanksgiving.
Anyway, we’re past Thanksgiving and we’re on our way to another Christmas season. To be honest, last year I never thought we’d get here. I was certain that our first orange president– orange really is the new black –would manage to so thoroughly wreck swivelization that we’d all be back to tribal life and cooking our food over open fires. I was so confident that I bet Bursts five bucks that swivelization wouldn’t last. He thought the joke was on me because, if I won the bet, the money would be useless. What he doesn’t realize is that the joke is on him. I’m going to pay him in U.S. currency, which means the money is useless.
At any rate, we drag our carcasses through another season of excessive eating and drinking, punctuated by orgasmic fits of consumer spending and the subsequent long-term debt. We surround ourselves with really annoying people who swear they’re related to us in some way, and we typically experience short periods of extremely heightened panic and distress in what seems to otherwise be a vast and endless sea of hopelessness and immiseration.
In this way, it seems to me, the experience of surviving the holiday season is a lot like war. Now, I’ve never actually been to a real war, but I read George Orwell’s account of the Spanish Civil War, as well as dozens of descriptions of personal experiences in the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and World War II. They all seem to have a kind of pattern to them.
Most of the time, in a war situation, the combatants experience lethargy and boredom. There is a general tedium– cleaning rifles and marching from place to place, existing on little sleep, a sense that the mundane will go on forever and ever. And this intolerable existence is interrupted on occasion by overwhelming chaos as battle erupts, with explosions and bullets flying and death everywhere.
Right. Just like the holiday season.
I mean, okay. Maybe not the explosions and bullets. I suppose it all depends on how drunk your family gets. But, really, it’s the same pattern, surviving the holidays.
You have this un-endurably long period of preparation that is mind-bendingly stressful, and then there are the actual battles– Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. In between them, you find yourself scrambling in preparation. Sure, you’re not sewing up bullet wounds with a one-dollar sewing kit… well, again, depends on how drunk your family gets. But, what we experience is still trauma.
Stress. Anxiety. Self-loathing. Depression. Trauma.
This time of year rally makes you want to “Deck the Halls.” I don’t even know the Halls. They may be a warm and loving family, the Halls. But by th time these God-awful holidays roll around, I feel like hitting somebody. Might as well be the Halls.
Hope they don’t press charges.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
It seems to me that what we really have is a fabricated excuse to cause all of us to go out and spend money in a big frenzied flurry. Someone somewhere managed to create in us this sense that we have an obligation, a responsibility, to contribute to this social and cultural spectacle.
We feel like we’ve been drafted. We think we have no choice. So, we participate. We fling around cash and credit cards for obscene piles of food and decorations and new electronics… and then we dig ourselves into such a hole that we’ll have to spend the next year struggling to get out.
And so we return to life dragging stones up the side of the pyramid. Another year of drudgery and slavitude.
What do I know? But I think there’s a healthier approach, a liberatory approach to the holidays. I think we have to start by burning down the mall.
It doesn’t matter which one. Any one will do.
It’s not easy with the modern fire-safety and the sprinkler systems, so you have to start someplace really flammable. A bookstore, if your mall still has one. Maybe a clothing store. Go to a dressing room with expensive designers and a book of matches. You have to really get it burning fast. If you can get the acoustic ceiling tiles to light, you’re probably home free.
In order to get away with it, dress up as Santa Claus… and have a couple dozen friends stroll around the food court dressed just like you. That way, when the running and screaming mobs hit the exits, you can blend right in with the other Santas. If you ever have a trial, pack the courtroom with Santas. That way, in the middle of the proceedings, one Santa stands up and confesses, followed by another and another, and they all begin to argue over who really set the fire. A jury can’t possibly convict you.
I say we spend this holiday season stress-free for a change, roasting chestnuts over an open fire. That means two things.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if astronauts at the international space station could see the fires of a million malls burning at the same time, all over the world?
Our collective liberation might just start with a holiday trip to the mall.
Ho, ho, ho, you crapitalist motherfucker.
This is Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain from Warren Corruptional in Lebanon, Ohio. If you’re dressed as Santa and heading to the mall, you ARE the resistance…