Nov 30, 2008

On Jdimytai Damour and the Pestilence of American Consumer Culture

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Few stories have disturbed and angered me as much as news of the death of Jdimytai Damour, the Wal-Mart employee trampled to death by Black Friday shoppers hell bent on saving 20 to 30 percent on a variety of plastic rubbish for their friends and family. Damour was one of a handful of Wal-Mart workers who tried to keep out a crowd of 2,000 people that gathered in the predawn hours to purchase holiday gifts.

The unruly mob forced its way into the store prior to the scheduled opening, and frenzied shoppers knocked over and crushed Damour, with most shoppers too busy elbowing their way into the store to stop and help the stricken employee.

The trampled human being, Jdimytai Damour.

Damour loved poetry, enjoyed anime, and liked to talk politics with his family and friends. The dead worker was known as a "gentle giant" by his friends. Yet to the deal-crazed thugs who smashed glass doors and crushed the 270-pound man, Damour was little more than a slab of meat standing in their way.

Police made the eventual decision to close the store, and I suspect that Wal-Mart managers would have been quite hesitant to close the store on their own, being the busiest day of the year. Yet even the clang of corporate registers is less cynical than the angry Wal-Mart customers who whined about the store closing when they waited in line for hours.

I am thoroughly disgusted with the sick, cold-hearted bastards who killed this man, but I am positively apoplectic at the self-absorbed idiots who think their Wal-Mart shopping experience is somehow more important than a lifeless human being. Yet these morons and thugs are only symptoms of the larger phenomenon of a consumer culture in which vertically integrated media fuel a relentless obsession with mostly-useless manufactured offal: a culture of shallow desires, greedy acquisitiveness, and dead human beings like Jdimytai Damour.

Merry Christmas!

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

shocking!

Jorge said...

For a non-American like me this was hard to believe, I'm terribly sad for the guy and his family…

Amazing Gracie said...

You put into words what I have been feeling...
I have taken one of your paragraphs to post but have credited it back to you. If this isn't okay, please let me know and I'll pull it.
But so many people need to see this!
Our culture is in such a state that I wonder if it will ever recover...
Thank you and
~~~Blessings~~~

microdot said...

Again, this made the news all over the world. I heard about it on the midday television news here in France.
There is something so trashy about this...so tragic...

craig said...

Yet another shining example of how much the Walton family and their ilk care about their employees and customers.
As the detective in charge of the investigation said:
“I’ve heard other people call this an accident, but it is not,” he said. “Certainly it was a foreseeable act.”

craig said...

A really good piece yesterday in the NYT called "Media and Retailers Both Built Black Friday"

link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/01/business/media/01carr.html?_r=1&ref=media

Mad Jack said...

I was reminded of The Who concert in Cincinnati, Ohio on December 3, 1979. Eleven people were crushed to death. I spoke with someone who had attended that concert and he told me that the audience around him were well behaved. The Who opened with The Kids Are Alright.

WalMart should bear some responsibility for this tragedy, but the people who ought to be arrested and prosecuted are those doing the trampling.

Personally, I'd shut everything down on Black Friday and make it really black - but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Mikey et al.

For those of you still interested in this tragedy, see the article by Erika Hayasaki on 12-6-08 in the LA Times.