High-Minded Hysteria (Or, In Defense of Black Friday)

In our last minute effort over the weekend to pull the “Bar Rescue” episode featuring the Pit and Barrel, we regretfully did not remove a late-night telecast of the episode. We apologize to all those affected by the terrible tragedy over the weekend and to Jon Taffer, the production team, and our advertisers for our unfortunate human error.

A statement from Spike TV

On the SpikeTV hit program Bar Rescue, renowned entertainment consultant Jon Taffer takes an establishment threatened by bad management, bad upkeep, bad bookkeeping, bad marketing, or just bad business and creates a new atmosphere designed to make the owners a lot of money in their market. Mr. Taffer’s aggressive candor inevitably ticks off someone, but the premise of the show is innocuous. Until Sunday, for some heart-palpitating hysterical loons.

The scheduled program Sunday night was to follow the renovation and fix of a bar called Pit and Barrel in Nashville, Tenn. In a tragic, and for Spike, unfortunately timed, murder, that bar’s owner, Chris Ferrell, is accused of shooting and killing country music star Jerald Wayne Mills Saturday night. This was weeks after the show filmed, but the night before the show would air.

Spike immediately took action, removing the show from that night’s lineup. Without rustling feathers, they posted to their Facebook page:

There was no mention of the shooting. Sundays on Spike are usually filled end-to-end with reruns of Bar Rescue, with the new episode coming at 9:00 pm. At midnight, the Pit and Barrel episode scheduled not to air went on anyway. Obviously this was Spike’s error. They swiftly acknowledged the oversight the next morning, in anticipation of the expected outrage:

It’s the most simple and unintellectual level of moral superiority to declare something insulting when it’s anything but. The most popular comment on the first post came from Jason Daventport of Montgomery, Alabama:

Thanks for lying to your viewers, as i’m watching the bar rescue marathon, at midnight central time you go ahead and air the pit and barrel episode!! thank you for putting a murderer on TV spike, i will be calling my cable provider to have your channel removed from my lineup.

This follows the same logic that the Bush Administration aggressively lied to the world about their intelligence that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. The intent of a perceived insult is paramount to the actual words of the insult.

The Spike TV drama is a good primer and exercise to explain the motormouthed hysteria surrounding Black Friday shopping hours. Black Friday is, by all metrics, the most robust celebration of capitalism in the world. I swear on my copy of Wealth of Nations that, unless there were tents in front of stores a week beforehand and lines around the block well before doors opened, stores would not be opening at ungodly early hours.

At The Daily Beast, Dean Obeidallah sniffs,

But keeping retail stores closed on the holiday truly shouldn’t be a right or left issue. It should be one that, like Thanksgiving Day itself, unites all Americans regardless of political outlook, religion, or background.

He’s right: It’s not a right or left issue, but rather an economic one. Given the millions (billions?) of items on sale on the Internet, and Black Friday-esque deals on any retail website year-round if you know where to look, there’s no great reason for anyone to forego Thanksgiving dinner to wait in line to save a few bucks. But great reasons do not govern whether stores are to remain open, supply and demand do. Retail employees understand the hazards of having to work unfortunate hours. Retail employees also have other employment options.

Locally, Farm & Fleet advertises that they’ll be closed all day on Thursday, then reopen on Friday, bright and early, for the simple fact that they’re giving their employees time with their families, and that’s a wonderful thing. The Black Friday traditionalists — you know, the ones who wait until 5:00 am on Friday morning to get out of bed and go shopping — might appreciate this, in the same way patrons of Chik-Fil-A appreciate the store’s nationwide policy to honor the Sabbath.

Examples of such outrage have been everywhere. A local TV reporter made an excellent point about the War on Christmas, explaining on his Facebook page,

I agree that when something is exclusively about Christmas, it’s unacceptable to turn it into something it’s not. We shouldn’t call the nativity a “Holiday Scene” fearing some agnostic might drive by and be offended.

That said, there’s no reason in my world that holiday celebrations can’t be inclusive of multiple faiths, or have the general feeling of celebrating the season. So to all of you and your families I say, Merry Christmas… and Happy Holidays.

He also points to a handful of other examples that straddle both sides of indignation over whether to evoke “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.”

(Even in the kicker links, find a woman in Missouri whose license plate reads WHO R8X, a combination she construes to mean the state is calling her a whore. Naturally, she’s outraged.)

This pants-wetting isn’t totally a right-or-left issue; it’s mostly a left one, as should be expected of a group whose dogma is governed by emotion. Right-wing femme fatale Ann Coulter provides a succinct explanation. Addressing her myriad off-color observations, once told Piers Morgan, “I am not offensive. I’ll tell you, liberals like being offended is the issue.”

Being offended does not make you superior. It makes you sound silly.

Quote of the Day

“In politics the middle way is none at all.”

-John Adams

Social Networking

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About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of MorningMartini.com and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.