Tag Archives: Black Friday

Party Crashers, Tiger Woods and the Price of Fame

You know what I’ve been thinking about lately?  Party crashers, Tiger Woods and the price of fame.

This past holiday weekend is usually one of my favorite times of the year.  In addition to the embarrassing amount of food I consume on Thanksgiving, I get to use my gluttonous behavior as an excuse to sit around for hours while my stomach slowly digests the excessive feast.  And as that simple act of biology takes place, I watch football and look for the Black Friday news stories that illustrate why allowing mobs of overzealous shoppers into your stores at dawn is a horrifically bad idea.

Needless to say I was disappointed this year.  Sure, the Turkey Day smorgasbord took hours and hours to make its journey through my digestive system and there was no shortage of football on TV, but apparently America’s shoppers were on their best behavior.  As far as I could tell, there were no significant reports involving parents engaging in hand-to-hand combat in order to get their hands on a Wii or a Playstation 3.  Nor did I hear any complaints from the wife after she ventured into a shopping mall and a Target on Black Friday.

I suppose this is actually good news.  Perhaps we’ve turned some kind of symbolic corner as a society.  Perhaps we’re on the verge of straightening out our collective priorities and committing to a way of life that isn’t all about rampant consumerism.  As I was pondering the idea of this new world order, I was introduced to the Salahis.

Mr. President... can you make me famous, please?

If you haven’t heard of the world famous Salahis, then you either haven’t checked in with a news outlet in awhile or you just didn’t bother to catch the surname of this newly famous couple.  These two yahoos are better known to the world as the White House party crashers.  These wannabe high rollers somehow managed to outsmart federal agents and infiltrate the Obama Administration’s state dinner thrown in honor of visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Breaches in Presidential security are a very serious matter.  So the fact that this couple managed to just walk in off the street should be very disconcerting for the American public.  However, what should be even more alarming is the media tsunami that’s about to crash upon all of us.

It’s been reported that Tareq and Michaele Salahi once aspired to be cast members on the Bravo reality show The Real Housewives of Washington, D.C. It’s also been reported that the Salahis have a publicist and are shopping “their story” to the highest bidder.  I think we all see where this is going.  As much as I’d like to believe in the concept of journalistic integrity, it’s pretty much inevitable that some network executive will pony up the cash to interview this couple.  I think it’s equally inevitable that they’ll have nothing of any substance to say.

Can’t we stop this from happening?  Isn’t there some subsection of the Patriot Act that allows us to waterboard these bottom-feeders?  Probably not.  That’s why the only hope our nation has right now is Tiger Woods.

The one thing that seemed to bump the Salahis off the front page of CNN’s website was the world’s best golfer crashing his car in the wee hours following Thanksgiving.  While alcohol was said not to be a factor, there’s been much speculation regarding what Tiger was doing driving at such a late hour and how he managed to bounce his very expensive car off a much less expensive fire hydrant.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t dislike Eldrick Woods and I wish nothing but good things for him.  But in this case, I’m asking him to jump on the grenade and do America this one favor as a public service.  If he could just confess to doing something untoward it would really mean a lot to people like me who just can’t stand the thought of these party-crashing weasels becoming the next Balloon Boy family.

And perhaps in confessing to something even remotely newsworthy, Tiger could teach the Salahis and the Hennes and the Jon and Kates of the world a valuable lesson.  Be careful what you wish for.  Because while these oxygen-wasters seem to desperately want to feel the white-hot spotlight shining on them, I don’t think they’re in the least bit prepared for the consequences that come with worldwide fame.

Tiger Woods knows a thing or two about those consequences.  For him, being famous  means he’s never ever alone.  It means there’s always someone watching him, ready to capture his most vulnerable moment and post it on TMZ or YouTube.  It means even something as harmless as an insignificant fender bender is newsworthy and fodder for public debate.

It's not easy being Tiger. I mean, who wants to sign hats?

I’ve never heard Tiger complain, and I’m sure if asked he would rightfully say he was blessed.  Being the best golfer in the world has earned him the admiration of millions of fans and so much money it probably takes a team of highly paid accountants to keep track of it all.  But make no mistake about it, being Tiger Woods isn’t easy.  And why people with no discernable talents keep pursuing this lifestyle is beyond me.

Assuming Tiger’s crash is as it seems, much to do about nothing, the Salahis will probably get their fifteen minutes.  Then, once their lives are put on display and vigorously deconstructed, they’ll probably tire of the attention and slither away into sweet obscurity.  After a few years, perhaps they’ll appreciate their lack of fame and look back at their publicity stunt as a horrible mistake.

So as my weekend came to an end I decided I’m thankful I’m not Tiger Woods.  And thankful I don’t have the last name Salahi.  Hopefully, next year’s post-Thanksgiving news cycle will be a little more traditional, with stories of crazed parents elbowing each other in the face for vibrating Elmo dolls taking center stage.

Then I’ll really be thankful.

Author’s Note:  Less than 48 hours after posting this, Tiger Woods released a statement that basically (though not technically) admitted to having an affair.  Needless to say my sympanthy for his “situation” has wained  quite a bit.  But now that he’s revealed his “transgressions” my assumption is that the media will turn all their attention to Tiger and the Salahis will disappear from my television set.

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Black Friday

You know what I’ve been thinking about lately?  Black Friday.

Last Thursday evening, after participating in the great American holiday tradition of eating and drinking excessively, I settled in to watch some TV.  I didn’t particularly care what was on I just needed a place to anchor my ever-expanding ass.

While digesting my Thanksgiving feast (a meal which could easily be described as awesome) I sat through three-plus hours of television (which could be easily be described as mediocre) and noticed the local news predictably teasing their Black Friday stories; each affiliate having sent one of their crack reporters to canvass the local box stores.

Has it been a year already?

If you’re unfamiliar with the term Black Friday you’re either living a sheltered existence on a rural commune or you’re really stupid.  Or maybe both.  It is, of course, the post-Thanksgiving shopping orgy that takes place at retail stores all over the U.S. of A.  Personally, I’ve always hated the Black Friday moniker because it doesn’t sound like a consumer holiday as much as it sounds like the name of a bad heavy metal band or a re-make of the movie Friday with an all African-American cast.  Oh, wait…

blackfriday23

Gimme, gimme, gimme!

It is on this holiest of days when prices are dramatically slashed on loads of merchandise and all one has to do to take advantage is rise at the crack of dawn, endure long lines in frigid temperatures, then battle hordes of ruthless Christmas shoppers for the privilege of purchasing overpriced crap from China.  I assume Black Friday is one of the reasons Europeans hate us.  Our excessive arrogance and lackluster foreign policy are the other reasons.

People who know me might be surprised to learn my true feelings toward Black Friday.  After all I like a good deal as much as the next guy and I love overpriced crap from China.  So what’s my  beef?

Well, to start there’s the idea of getting up at five in the morning after the most gluttonous holiday on the calendar.  Then there’s  the act of being herded like cattle with a group of shop-happy strangers who’d easily kick me in the groin if I got between them and that laptop that’s on sale.  And I’d endure all of this, for what?  So I can save $100 on a Blu-ray player?  Thanks, but I’ll sleep-in instead.

Unfortunately, this year’s Black Friday truly lived up to its macabre name when a Wal-Mart employee in Long Island was trampled to death by bargain-thirsty shoppers.  Absolutely horrific.  And as one union representative said after the tragedy, it “could have been avoided.”

You think?

One way to avoid unwanted deaths in the aisles of box stores would be to stop having sales that require poor and middle class people to line up in the freezing cold like animals before sending them in to fight for trendy merchandise.  Another way would be for these people to think twice about participating in this kind of carnage.  If you’re up at daybreak on Black Friday because these sales are the only way you can afford to buy the Playstation 3 you so desperately have to have, then you really need to sit down and reevaluate your life.  Maybe it’s time to put that money in a savings account or a piggy bank.

But then again, what do I know?  I’m just a jackass with an opinion who’s more than willing to pay top dollar for appliances if it means sleeping in slothfully AND not being part of a mob that crushes someone to death.

In this day and age, maybe that makes me the crazy one.