Shoppers Gird for Black Friday, Third Party Thinkpieces Make Inevitable Comeback

  gifzette daily briefing

WELCOME TO THUNDERDOME!NEW YORK—The internet is abuzz this morning with news out of Los Angeles that one thrifty customer at an area Wal-Mart resorted to pepper spraying twenty other shoppers in a frantic hunt for $10 Wii games and $29 tricycles. The assailant remains on the loose, but the LA Times scored some choice quotes from L.A. Fire Captain James Carson, who said the pepper spray was a tactic meant to “gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store,” which, ok! Mr. Carson clarified by saying “she was competitive shopping,” which sounds to us like a great TV pitch, sort of like C.O.P.S meets Supermarket Sweep.

In other pepper spray news, Megyn Kelly is defending her comments (naturally!) as having been taken out of context. This predictable walk-back is too little too late for Ms. Kelly, however, since she’s already suffered one of the most glorious memeings in recent internet memory.

Paul Krugman invites the Occupy movement to extend its umbrella another ninety basis points, devoting his column today to the disproportionate rise in salary of the top 400 households compared to the 99.9%. We’re just delighted to see the shrill one hammering away at the dramatic decline in capital gains tax rates over the last three decades, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tip our hats to Robert Lenzner for being all over this one five days ago in Forbes

Ezra Klein, who posted a great piece earlier in the week on how the supercommittee failure is especially bad news for the GOP, shares this handy chart today comparing taxes versus cuts in the dual trigger plan.

We hope you’re sitting down for this one, because the eye-rolling you’re about to endure could prove vertiginous: it’s the return of the centrist third party insurgency! The Washington Post is on it, Sandy Levinson joins in the fun, and now all of a sudden Evan Bayh is somehow back in the news and would you look at this even Ed Koch wants Bloomberg to run! No, we’re sorry, we just have absolutely no patience for this stuff. [READ MORE AT GIFZETTE]

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135 comments

    1. StufftheDashboard

      Pretty soon we'll hear this at the more trendy restaurants:

      "Would you like some freshly sprayed pepper?"

        1. BlackDashboard

          Isn't that Glen Beck's site? What's the deal with the ad on the right…the one about caning for Christmas? Is GB advocating s&m/corporal punishment for those who don't say "merry christmas"?

          1. BlackDashboard

            Ah crap…I just got a brief image of Jonah and K-Lo in sweaty leathers performing a public flogging and now I hate myself a little.

  1. Sharkey

    "All speech may be free, but it is certainly not equal in kind, and we should no longer tolerate a status quo in which a rhetoric of compassion and love is rendered equivalent to one of hatred and fear."

    I'm not sure if I like this "Matt Langer", or not.

      1. user-of-owls

        The answer to that question is the same as the one to, "What about all those carrier pigeons, dodo birds and wooly mammoths?"

        Essentially.

    1. PubOption

      As one of the British left-leaning newspapers (Independent or Guardian) once published, the USA has a centre-right party, and a reactionary party.

      1. Limeylizzie

        My father, a charming , erudite and unapologetic racist and nationalist, would be considered a moderate Republican over here.

        1. user-of-owls

          Hey old thing, are you back in LA giving Neville a stern talking to (between squealing gleefully whilst stroking his big knuckleheaded back) yet?

          1. Limeylizzie

            No, I am still in NYC, will leave for LA on Thursday, then I will be reunited with the beloved orange character.

      2. Rotundo_

        More like conservative and fascist. Make that Christo-Fascist. The republicans aren't even really pretending anymore, the democrats are caught between money and a hard place and the rest of the country is going down in flames while they get in pissing matches over semantics about how we should shaft the poor.

    2. Chet Kincaid

      3rd Parties don't work in our system, end of discussion. What works is factions within the 2 parties we have. What we need is an organized, official progressive wing of the Democratic Party–organized enough to run Blue Dogs off the ballot and offer a clear alternative to wingtards. And for God's sake, it's not about replacing the President.

  2. Tundra Grifter

    Well, chances are pepper spray doesn't stain clothes like those other popular food products – ketchup and mustard.

    I sincerely hope Duh Gov'Nuh decides to run on a third party ticket. That would just the cherry on top of November 2012.

  3. ManchuCandidate

    I don't get the appeal of Black Friday. Unless you're desperate or just really stupid. I've been to similar type New Years deals once or twice and it seems to me most of the "cheap" home electronics merchandise tends to be stuff with names like Sorny, Panasonikx, "Haha US America, suck on this toxic piece of shit… Love China", or "Last Year's abused floor model."

    1. user-of-owls

      Hey, don't knock it! I got my JVCong Toxic Abused Floor Model Betamax Player last Black Friday at 10% off!!

      And it kept working almost all the way until Christmas!

    2. Rotundo_

      They are usually more subtle than this, the Black Friday Stripper models are usually the same name and model number with a single letter prefix or suffix with a dash to indicate it's not a first quality article usually a -W for wallyworld etc. or something similar. Frequently refurb or redesigned components to be even more marginally performing than the usual version. Holiday electronics are one to avoid like the plague, Other things are as shitty as always, like clothing and shoes, and some stuff like DVD's and books and tools (non-powered hand tools) are actually pretty good buys.

  4. StufftheDashboard

    So, a woman sprayed another shopper with a food product to gain a competitive shopping advantage? Thank god it wasn't spray cheese. That shit stains.

  5. Redrighthand

    Jesus really wants a wii fit for his birthday. My cattle prod and I will ensure he is not disappointed.

  6. ManchuCandidate

    As for this 3rd Party shit… Really? I mean, go ahead you deep thinking bipartisan-ship assholes… maybe this time you'll get it right after 32 or so tries.

    Please stop. This centrist party bullshit wears real thin when it's really all about non wingnutty and/or Country Club GOPers all sadz because they have no where to go.

    1. LetUsBray

      Especially when, if today's triangulating Democratic party doesn't meet their specifications, they're just being fussy little aristocratic divas.

    2. Negropolis

      Bingo. Third partiers are essentially the sad fiscal conservatives (read: robber-barons) who have allowed their party to be destroyed by social conservatives they invited into the party. Tough shit. Go siphon votes from your own party, fuckers. The baggers are essentially those distant relavtives who you invite into your home until they can get on their feet, but they never quite end up leaving, and they drink the milk right out of the carton, and their latch-key kids are always getting their fingerprints on places as strange as the ceiling, etc…

      1. horsedreamer_1

        Richard Nixon was the permissive parent who let it happen — willed it to happen — and now the children are too MORALLY WEAK to get things under control.

  7. SayItWithWookies

    From the WaPo article:
    Unlike the Green Party, Americans Elect is not creating a separate party, but trying to change the political process in two ways. First, the group seeks to create a mixed-party ticket, requiring its presidential candidate to pick a running mate from a different party.

    Great — their slogan could be "Guaranteed at least 50% of something you hate. Probably more, but definitely not less."

    1. paris biltong

      How can they not create a third party and yet want the presidential running mate to be from a "different party"? This does not augur well for the future of this movement.

  8. Mumbletypeg

    I'm participating in Buy Nothing Friday as an equal & opposite reaction to the Party of Shop-Til-You-Drop, but feel it's not nearly 'radical' enough of a gesture for me since I never buy shit anyway. Maybe a 3rd party Soshulist-type lemonade stand, planted near Target or one of those other feature-creepin'-store-hours-into-my-family-mealtime chain stores to demonstrate against their morally weak attitude toward their employees?

  9. hollywooddood

    Stampeding with your fellow shoppers is a great way to celebrate Christmas.

    But pepper spray… now why didn't I think of that?

  10. BigDumbRedDog

    I've just had a great idea for a TV show. Competing, desperate redneck families have to race through a maze, all the while leaving booby traps for the other team and fighting them with nonlethal weapons in order to be the first to get to the grand prize, which will be a rusty pickup truck full of hobo beans, moonshine and cheap electronics. The show will be called "Black Friday". I would totally watch that shit. And compete as well, also.

    1. donner_froh

      A person at a Wal-Mart in California used pepper spray to clear away those in front of her trying to get the cheapest crap.

      In South Carolina there was a gunfight between a robber and his victim.

      Reuters

  11. flamingpdog

    This predictable walk-back is too little too late for Ms. Kelly, however, since she’s already suffered one of the most glorious memeings in recent internet memory

    This is good news for Lt. John Pike.

  12. DahBoner

    Is a thinkpiece like a codpiece for a 1" inched-dick Republican, so they can pretend to be an intellectual?

  13. not that Dewey

    Kelly, who has carried around pepper spray herself “for years” didn’t expect the blow-back that came with the comments. “I think what happened was people didn’t watch the whole segment and assumed I was diminishing it. In no way did I mean to diminish what was happening.” [...]

    “I think it would be clear if you watch the four minutes of TV,” Kelly tells TVNewser.

    Yes, Megan, but that would require that we watch four minutes of TV, in this case FOX News. I'd rather be tear-gassed.

      1. not that Dewey

        Join us tomorrow on FOX, as guests Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian explain just what is wrong with journalism these days.

  14. donner_froh

    Third party columns are important for columnists on those days when they can barely get out of bed. Just pull up the right Word file, rearrange a few sentences, plug in the current names and hit "send"–done for the day, another 800 words of deathless prose.

    1. fishskicanoe

      It would probably kill my youngest son who has reactive airway disease (asthma). Especially if some brain dead, asslick, wannabe storm trooper were to spray it down his throat.

  15. user-of-owls

    one thrifty customer at an area Wal-Mart resorted to pepper spraying twenty other shoppers

    Oh the irony, it burns.

  16. user-of-owls

    a frantic hunt for $10 Wii games

    Wow, I'm even more behind the times than I thought. I didn't even know that Nintendo had released "Mace Hero."

  17. littlebigdaddy

    In Kinston, NC a Wal-Mart security guard pepper sprayed shoppers who were trying to get discounted cell phones before they were due to go on sale. Forget pine or spice–pepper spray's the new Xmas scent.

  18. HarryButtle

    There's the television. It's all right there – all right there. Look, listen, kneel, pray. Commercials! We're not productive anymore. We don't make things anymore. It's all automated. What are we *for* then? We're consumers, Jim. Yeah. Okay, okay. Buy a lot of stuff, you're a good citizen. But if you don't buy a lot of stuff, if you don't, what are you then, I ask you? What? Mentally *ill*.

    Jeffrey Goines

  19. RadiosTyrone

    Wow, I just got back from Wal-Mart. But it was worth it. I was a able to snag a 120" LCD HDTV for $39.95 and a case of pepper spray for half-off. Free Markets aren't Free!

  20. Rotundo_

    Pepper spray this year, pipe bombs next. America gets damned serious about holiday shopping! Film at eleven!

  21. Redhead

    Forget pepper spray. How many people died in this year's "black Friday" that started Thursday afternoon, on their quest to get $10 video games and $300 TVs?

  22. Chichikovovich

    "In other pepper spray news, Megyn Kelly is defending her comments (naturally!) as having been taken out of context. This predictable walk-back is too little too late for Ms. Kelly, however, since she’s already suffered one of the most glorious memeings in recent internet memory."

    [no snark - or only trace amounts. Sorry for the length. Need two parts to satisfy Intensedebate.]

    Kelly has a point, but at a deeper level she doesn't. The superficial point – you watch the video, and sure, she's clearly very dubious about the pepper spraying, as a lawyer she's aware of the freedom of assembly issues, and like any human being with an ounce of sense she sees that this is a really hard sell. And (I may be over-interpreting facial gestures and tone here) she seems personally to find the actions of Snoutface Pike appalling. So she's careful. So, yeah, it was taken out of context, and the whole clip conveys a very different impression.

    But she deserves to be mocked all the same. If people are taking the remarks wildly uncharitably, she is getting her just desserts. Not just for the general reason that Fox makes a living taking things out of context and never apologizing, but because of the specific remark she made. She says, in describing it, "It's a food product, essentially" – now in context, she doesn't use that observation to directly try to minimize the seriousness of it, but it's still an odd thing for someone to just randomly say. I've never heard, for example, anyone say, in explaining the chemical composition of a chemical agent "Ricin (cyanide, Blowfish toxin, ….) is a food product, essentially." It's just a bizarre thing to say, even if, on a narrow construal, you could put forward a tenuous argument that it is strictly speaking true. So why did she say it? Well, you might say that there need be no explanation – people often say bizarre things, by accident, without it meaning anything. Sure, it does happen all the time, but that's not what is happening here. Because this isn't the only time this "food product" meme has cropped up. Look at any of the right wing blogs (or even on Wonkette, between the tacit snark tags) – "vegetable mist", "food derivative" – cropping up everywhere. I'm sure (without checking) that you would find Rush and Hannity using it. I've no doubt you could find it at least a dozen times that very day on Fox News broadcasts, from a range of people. The fact is that these turns of phrase, these little context-framings, are being put forward intentionally. Given the way these things work, there is no doubt in my mind that the use of such turns of phrase was, and remains, one of the bullet points distributed at the beginning of the day in Fox News memos.

      1. Chichikovovich

        If you reread my negative remarks I think you will find that at no point do her tits come in for any criticism whatsoever. This is not accidental, since I have nothing but honest respect and high regard for both of them.

      2. horsedreamer_1

        Sadly, if you were to get with her, it would be like having Brit Hume's taste in your mouth.

        #BritHumesSloppySeconds

  23. paris biltong

    Wait till we get the statistics on the 0.001 percent. They probably control 99.99 percent of the world's wealth. They're the third party, except that they never even have to run for office.

  24. Chichikovovich

    Continued…

    Let there be no doubt – the phrase "food product essentially" was there for a reason. Not for the sake of accurate description, it was chosen for the purpose of minimizing, trivializing, the use of this chemical agent. That's why she said it. So perhaps she had a bad conscience about following the context-setting instructions coming down from on high – and looking at the clip I'm prepared to believe she did. She's not a cementhead like Doocey or Kilmeade who will just happily blather out whatever they're told – she's a lawyer, she's not stupid, she's aware of what's going on with these propaganda constructions.

    But that makes what she did worse. It is clear that something important is going on as far as police control of citizen protest is concerned. I remember about 15 years ago watching student protests of whatever was viewed as the outrage du jour. They'd all sit there, then campus police in ordinary police uniforms would handcuff them (or not even handcuff them) pick them up, and they would go limp, and they'd get carried away. It would take some time, but they'd be all carted away. The risk of violence toward the campus police was nonexistent – they had names, photographs and student records of every one of the people they carted away after all, and they had the threat of expulsion if things got really out of hand, which is a nuclear threat for someone who has slaved throughout their teenage years to get into and stay in Princeton or Columbia or wherever, and who is paying tens of thousands for the privilege.

    Now all of a sudden you have a phalanx of officers in body armour, helmets and face-shields. Instead of looking for some sensible compromise they go right to a pro forma request to disperse, grounded in transparently specious health or safety concerns, and then proceed immediately to the truncheons and pepper spray. The use of the pepper spray is absolutely not needed. They could have done what they did before. They had easily enough people. But they didn't. They were using the pepper spray just for convenience. They didn't want to pull any muscles. Didn't want the shift to go late. But even more than that – they didn't just want the students gone from where they were, passively resisting. They wanted them to obey. And to be punished with pain if they didn't.

    They use surprise tactics, do things at night (though Davis was an exception, during the day), make sure journalists aren't around…. And this is campus police! Dealing with "(handsomely) paying customers" [and as a professor, I assure you that the meme of "student as educational consumer" is one that administrators just can't repeat often enough to be satisfied]. Who (apart from the enthusiastic authoritarians you find in any society) isn't chilled by the images of armoured, faceshielded, truncheon-in-palm thumping riot police marching in rows of fifteen abreast to descend on unarmed, unresisting, crowds including old men and women and handicapped persons, including handicapped veterans. Things have changed, not just by degree but in kind. A rubicon has been crossed. Any reasonable person should have concerns about where things might go from here.

    Some people who welcome this evolution of police power are aware of the potential for onlookers to have reservations too, and that's why the tsunami of minimizing discourse is washing over us. "It's in conformity with the FBI guidelines for using pepper spray" we're told. (I frankly doubt it, but if it is, so what? God didn't hand us FBI guidelines on stone tablets. Who wrote them and why? Because if they say that they should be changed.) "It doesn't cause permanent harm." we're told. (Though there are a troubling number of deaths associated with the use of it. See tasers too.) "Our military/the police are given it as part of their training, how bad can it be?" (a) What the hell difference does that make? b) without information about how it was administered that claim is doubly meaningless? Did they have it daubed directly in their eyes or sprayed directly into their mouths? I'm guessing not.)

    And I could go on, but of course you could make your own list, ten times as long. There is a process going on that is aimed at normalizing and trivializing certain new developments in police behaviour cropping up in so many different places at once that it is obviously planned and coordinated. Megyn-with-a-y's remark was a tiny little contribution, along with thousands of other such tiny contributions, meant to make the change seem harmless and even perhaps no real change from what went before.

    So Megyn, shut your trap. You knew what that phrase was supposed to do and you got burned for it. You knew what you were doing and you should be ashamed of yourself. The fact that you were dubious enough about the actions that you cossetted the phrase in levels of plausible denial, and you were as unenthusiastic about the police tactics as you could be while keeping within Fox guidelines, just means that you should be even more ashamed.

    1. Sharkey

      NOT long enough – DID read. Even if these people don't work in the mainstream media, they continue to exist. A clear and present danger, and one that I refuse to go to war over.

          1. Chichikovovich

            Must remember that name: Audrey Pulvar. Man, she can really do sexy librarian like she owns the look. I'll make sure to tune in to her to get the (at this point, seemingly) inevitable news of Sarkoléon's reelection.

            As for Shy'm – I don't usually like that kind of overproduced electronic style. But there's something sexy in her voice, especially in the lower registers, that gets me every time. Even though the production does everything it can to obliterate it. And those three videos make compelling viewing even with the sound off.

          2. paris biltong

            I don' want to continue this thread forever, but Pulvar was let go from her job as a prime-time news anchor when it became known that she was balling yet-unannounced-at-the-time socialist presidential primary candidate Arnaud Montebourg. This is not uncommon in this country, with Jean-Louis Borlo, a senior Sarkozy minister, doing it with TV journalist Beatrice Schoenberg and socialist presidential candidate François Hollande having his own tryst with political journalist Valérie Trierweiler. All the ladies have been barred in various ways from doing the news. Maybe Carla Bruni should be barred from singing until the election.

  25. Master Janitor V572

    Be it noted as well that today's NYT devotes a significant portion of its wood-pulp front-page real estate (as well as a large area after the jump) to a profound tonsorial analysis of Mitt Romney, including interviews with his hair stylist.

    What a fine, fine newspaper that is. The sad thing is, it's way better than all the others.

  26. DerrickWildcat

    i went out this morning to get some great deals and nothing I wanted was cheaper.
    Cigarettes: same price
    Steel Reserve: Same price
    Haircut: Same price
    Cat Litter: Same price

    Don't let all those commercials fool you.

  27. owhatever

    Every ready to grab opportunity by the balls, Wal-Mart now has pepper spray on sale for early-bird shoppers. The losers have to settle for carrots.

  28. sbj1964

    This is the sign that the world,and humanity is truly doomed. I'll be in my shelter.Don't bother knocking.

  29. Callyson

    You know, I can be shallow and materialistic, but when I read articles like this I just want to keep my wallet in my bag, and find *anything* else to do but shop…

    1. tessiee

      "when I read articles like this I just want to keep my wallet in my bag, and find *anything* else to do but shop"

      the fact that I'm usually broke helps with that, too.

  30. Antispandex

    Well, call me crazy, but this doesn't seem like it can be blamed on the "Occupy" hippies. Ok, sure, Fox News could, but not the sane.

  31. Biff

    one thrifty customer at an area Wal-Mart resorted to pepper spraying twenty other shoppers…
    See why it's so easy to manipulate the non-union workers to hate their union-represented brethren? We are well and truly fucked.

  32. Negropolis

    “gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store,” which, ok! Mr. Carson clarified by saying “she was competitive shopping,”

    Cop jargon is the best jargon.

    BTW, every Friday is Black Friday, for me. It's not what it's cracked up to be, let me tell you. This is nothng to lose your shit over, people.

  33. 102415

    A third party with that other LyinAss Bitch Whitman in it who told everyone the air downtown was safe to breathe after the World Trade Center went down. That's some kind of real centrist moderation they have going on there.

  34. LetUsBray

    Let's focus on the positive from the festively-named Black Friday: Didn't we manage to go the whole day without anyone getting trampled to death this time?

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