Last Friday, Nov. 25, was both Black Friday — an orgiastic celebration of American consumerism — and Native American Heritage Day, “a day to pay respects to the Native Americans for their numerous contributions to the United States,” according to the holiday tracker site National Today. All of November is Native American Heritage Month, but, thanks to an updated version of Google Calendar’s “Holidays in the United States” list, many white Americans are just now coming to awareness of the day. Anyway, the point of Black Friday is ostensibly to offer us all screaming deals on presents for the big gift exchange held in Jesus’ name every year. To honor the sacred nature of Black Friday while better integrating it with Native American Heritage Day, we came up with a short list of gift ideas that speak to both.
Disclaimer: This post includes links to exactly one affiliate site, Real Rent Duwamish, and 100 percent of the proceeds of you clicking that link and signing up for Real Rent go to the Duwamish Tribe, as they should.
Once the unobtainium of the console gaming world, the PlayStation5 (PS5) is now BACK IN STOCK! AT WALMART! ONLY $499.99! HURRY! Walmart’s product description, which begins by warning you that “The play has no limits with the PlayStation 5 Console” and ends by reminding you that “The play has no limits with the PlayStation 5 Console,” lists a number of other enticing offerings from the PS5. Maximize play sessions! Experience features! Marvel at graphics!
No wonder there were so many “me or a PS5” meme posts during the pandemic. Who wouldn’t choose this plastic obelisk of endless entertainment over a romantic partner? While the idea that the pandemic was orchestrated is laughable, it certainly did provide a pretty good test run for a society in which everyone is completely isolated from one another, stuck inside their single-room apartments gaming, consuming content, producing content, ordering DoorDash or doing remote work. In other words, the pandemic gave us the first perfect consumer. The corporations involved had only to set this heady broth to a simmer, sit back and skim off the profits.
But, hey, have you seen that new “Call of Duty” game? It pretty faithfully recreated the assassination of Iranian general Qassim Suleimani. A top U.N. expert said the killing was illegal — they didn’t say anything about rendering it in 4K.
While reenacting an extrajudicial killing that only served to further destabilize an already volatile and war-torn part of the world sure seems like a blast, our conclusion on the PS5 is that you should take your $499.99 and pay it as “Real Rent” to the Duwamish tribe, who have been denied the federal recognition owed to them under the Treaty of Point Elliott for just shy of 168 years.
Ralph Lauren x ‘Fortnite’/ Burberry x ‘Minecraft’
Burberry, famous for its iconic tartan pattern and extremely soft cashmere scarves, has something even better for you this holiday season: the ability to wear one of those scarves in the pixelated realms of “Minecraft.”
The digital version does not allow you to enjoy the sublime warmth it provides or feel its ultrafine fibers against your skin, but that’s not really the point. The point is that it’s an absolutely massive flex, at least within a very specific online community. They do sell real clothing to go along with their digital “drop,” but while video game skins are a superlatively useless thing to spend money on, a video-game-themed designer sweater is a pretty close second. Sociologist Thorstein Veblen coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption” in 1899 to describe the idea that we spend our money more to impress our neighbors and demonstrate our success than to achieve anything noble or useful. If that’s your bag, it’s only $380 to get an oversized, rather unremarkable black-and-white scarf with the word “Minecraft” embroidered into it.
Not to be outdone, fellow high fashion powerhouse Ralph Lauren has set its sights on “Fortnite,” another video game working overtime to exacerbate the “crisis of reading” afflicting Gen Z. Besides doubling the number of designer brands involved in this atrocity, they also prompted the streetwear blog Hypebeast to commit an atrocity against language: coining the term “phygital.” It’s a pretty obvious portmanteau, but, good heavens, it feels awful on the tongue.
“Our partnership represents a completely fresh take on the Ralph Lauren brand — designing for the metaverse first — that is thoroughly focused on the future,” Ralph Lauren’s Chief Branding and Innovation Officer David Lauren told Hypebeast. Not sure how having front-zip, Polo-branded racing suits in red, blue, black and white to put on your character in a cartoon battle royale game will help us combat climate change, but, then again, no one at Real Change is an “Innovation Officer.” The physical items in the “Stadium” collection are already sold out on the Ralph Lauren site, but for only 1500 V-Bucks (the in-game currency of “Fortnite”) you can get the whole package of skins. That comes to $11.99, a small price to pay for individuality.
However, to be a real individual, you could go all the way against the grain and do something both noble and useful with your money: contribute that $11.99 to the economic wellbeing of the Duwamish tribe via their Real Rent program. Might not get you the victory royale in quite as much style, but once we’ve united as working people to throw off our chains, give the land back and share equitably in its benefits, you’ll for sure be goated with the sauce.
KitchenAid stand mixer
It might not be in fashion to make and post about making sourdough starter now that we can all go outside again, but think of all the sourdough starter you could mix up with one of these bad boys. Or don’t, and just think about which color you want to match to your meticulously designed, uber-Instagrammable, completely un-lived-in kitchen. There was a crazy sale on Nov. 25 — in honor of Native American Heritage Day, no doubt — but the discount has long since departed. However, for a mere $400, you too can scoot a seafoam green model across your spotless black granite countertops up against your spotless white tile backsplash. Our favorite color is the classic red, and we recommend not buying it and just sending all that money to Real Rent! Either way, you’ll end up making the same amount of fresh pasta with this thing.
On the subject of Instagram, no serious poster of selfies or streamer of streams should be without a ring light. The ring light is a handy dandy contraption consisting of, as the name implies, a ring of LED lights usually mounted on a tripod or other stand. In the middle of that ring and slightly behind it, your phone or webcam is suspended on an extra arm, lending a certain special glow to the user’s portraiture.
As we become further and further alienated from the original means of production — the land — we turn to new and different ones, like scrambling embarrassingly (and oftentimes futilely) to succeed as influencers on any number of forward-facing social media platforms. Anything to avoid being one of the crabs left in the bucket, right?
Could it be that increasingly desperate and outlandish ploys for attention online are in fact a mirror of the increasing desperation inherent in an “ordinary” life? No clue. Anyway, if you or one of your besties is going to make it as a “Naruto” cosplayer who misinterprets leftist theory while owning noobs in “Overwatch 2,” good light is absolutely essential.
Ring lights range from around $50 up into the mid $200s. You could go cheap, but why bother? Instead, take all the money you would have spent on a high-end ring light, donate it to Real Rent Duwamish and reflect thoroughly on the abundant narcissism of our era.
Speaking of narcissism, you could buy Twitter. The cost has probably come down quite a bit from $44 billion, thanks in no small part to the swashbuckling tycoon who paid that price. His post-acquisition management decisions have been nothing if not bold, but he seems to have shivered one too many timbers for the thing to be a success.
Whether you capture the blue bird for yourself or a loved one, you’ll be getting a deal, albeit one with its wings slightly clipped. All you need is a dragon’s hoard of dollars lying around and you, too, can control access to the nation’s — and, to some extent, the world’s — public square. Might be worth it just to see what kind of collective meltdown re-banning Trump would cause. Or, better yet, hand over the keys for content moderation to Dril. Making it so no tweet goes live without Dril’s say so would at least make Twitter a much more entertaining place, if not a sane one.
However, it might be even more worth it to take your tens of billions of dollars and, say, eliminate poverty on every reservation in this country. They’re not completely separate issues, but with that much money you could probably also eliminate Indigenous homelessness in every major city while you’re at it. Whatever’s left after doing that, donate to Real Rent for good measure. At least give it a thought, Jeff. It would be a way better legacy than the balls rocket.
All gifts suggested in this article are available at https://realrentduwamish.org.
Read more of the Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2022 issue.