Last week, Americans celebrated Thanksgiving, a time to gather with your family on the fourth Thursday in November and count your blessings. Now, if you think that I’m going to get into the colonization and massacre visited upon Native Americans by European settlers, well, that’s for another time. No, today we’re talking about declarations and designations and the powers they hold. Because, you see, Thanksgiving (est. 1621) was not the only holiday in the last week. Black Friday (est. 1961) is a nightmarish shopping extravaganza immediately following Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday (est. 2010) encourages you to spend money with local retailers instead of out-of-town conglomerates. Cyber Monday (est. 2005) takes those same deep discounts to the ecommerce side of the retail equation. And then there’s Giving Tuesday (est. 2012), a day of charity that stands in opposition to the consumerist (and genocidal?!?) overtones of the other “holidays”.
The common trait of these days, and of all holidays, is the idea that there is some sort of declaration establishing the holiday and a general consensus (or at least a good PR firm) that legitimizes the event. The dirty secret of all of this is that you don’t need a broad consensus to realize the power of the declaration.
This newsletter was founded on the gimmick that publishing every Tuesday (or Wednesday morning – oh and except last week, lol) will unlock sort of magical connection with its audience. It’s too soon to say whether that’s true, but I’d rather have sent 95 newsletters by adhering to a gimmick than not. And while “gimmick” is usually a pejorative term, I think it’s safe to say that there’s 45 billion reasons why organizing around a declaration can have positive effects.