Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Cultural crossovers and being different.

Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here. It’s an American thing. Every country should have its special holidays but we don’t really need to celebrate everyone else’s.

Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving and marks the start of the Christmas shopping season in the USA. It’s important to note that that is in the USA! And they have lots of special offers and some stores, having been closed for Thanksgiving, open at midnight on Thanksgiving. Presumably, just as here for Boxing Day sales, there are loads of loonies who ruin a perfectly good family holiday celebration by going and camping out to be the first through the doors when the sales begin.

As I said already, it’s important to remember that this is an American thing. So why have we been hearing about Black Friday sales for the last three weeks? Is it really necessary to invent another reason to have reductions? After all, most stores have special offers and reductions almost all year round anyway!

Goodness knows why it has to Black Friday anyway. Why not some more cheerful or hopeful colour? Maybe it’s because of all the black eyes people get fighting over bargains they don’t really need.

We recently watched the latest series of the French crime series Engrenages (Spiral in English). This time there was a lot of material on money-laundering in the Chinese community in the suburbs of Paris, a very different Paris to the one most of us know from tourist visits to that beautiful city.

Today I found this article about being French and ethnic-Chinese, an interesting insight into the question of feeling French (or British or Spanish or German) but looking obviously ethnically different. I was struck by this comment about the “gilets jaunes” riots:

 “Intellectually, I can understand why the gilets jaunes are protesting – I’m French after all, I have the tendency to question the way other French people do. But when you know that your parents have survived one of the greatest genocides the world has ever seen, everything becomes relative. When people talk of life’s great problems being the price of petrol and only being able to go to a restaurant once a week, or only having one holiday a year, we can’t feel fully invested in these arguments, even if we understand them. My parents ran a restaurant when I was a child, and I can’t remember them ever taking a holiday. “

 Sometimes we have to look at life from a different perspective.

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