Black Friday: “We’re consumed by desire and greed”

It’s Black Friday; it’s half price; it’s the last TV in the shop and you’re not the only one who wants it. What do you do?

You fight to the death. You don’t leave that shop until you’re dragging that TV out the door with your bloodied teeth. Right?

Well the scenes of Black Friday would certainly make you think so.

It’s the latest unwelcome tradition from across the pond and apparently we’ve fallen head over heels for it. We all love a good bargain; I’ll be the first to admit that. But this. This was unbelievable. And there’s never any excuse for such barbaric behaviour.

I watched countless videos of human beings morphing into animals, and the most unevolved ones at that, brawling over electricals. Lions and cheetahs fight over the watering hole, over their next mate or over the remains of a carcass: water, life and food. We fight over TVs, mobile phones and iPads.

And what’s worse is that I wonder how many of those crazed shoppers know the real origins of ‘Black Friday’. One highly debated, but recognised understanding of the phrase is that it was once the day after Thanksgiving, when slave traders would sell off their slaves for a discount. Half-price sale doesn’t have the same meaning now does it?

Essentially, by buying into this craze, we’re advocating a racist tradition and reducing the value of a human being to the value of a trivial material possession. It’s just plain offensive.

And so what if you can’t afford a full priced TV? Who needs a TV to survive? Look around; why not have a conversation with the people sat with you instead. Watching scenes of people clambering to discounts they didn’t need, it felt like we’d taken another step towards becoming completely consumed by desire and greed and I for one refuse to follow.

Who’s scared of the word ‘cancer’, Katie Hopkins? I am.

This is a more serious (and emotional, sorry about that) post, but one I think needs to be written. So please read it.

A recent tweet by renowned loud-mouth Katie Hopkins got me very riled up. Known for her outrageous views, you know, the one who won’t let her kids play with Tyler or Chantelle, I actually follow her on twitter to see what ridiculous nonsense she comes up with next. But recently, something she said hit a nerve.

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Don’t worry, stick with it, this is still a student article because everything I’m about to say all happened when I was a young and frightened college student. And I want other students who have gone through the same thing to know it wasn’t just them.

Katie Hopkins has chosen to talk about a matter very close to my heart, and to the hearts of probably just about every one of you reading this. Now if Hopkins wants to come out and ask why we are so scared of the word cancer, then she wants to re-live what myself and my family went through in 2012.

When I was 17 and in my second year of college, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, an aggressive form that led to the most hellish year and a half of our lives. As a teenager who lived with her Mum and only her Mum, I suffered everything with her. Most people have another parent to help them out, their siblings at home to hold you when you’re scared, or a large family to comfort you when you want to give up. But for me, it was just me and my Mum, the most important person in my life. I cannot put in to words how difficult, terrifying and heart breaking that was.

If you’re a college student now, just think about your workload, your A levels, your desperate attempts to get into a decent uni to try and make your parents proud. Now imagine dealing with that whilst caring for a parent, passing your driving test and only driving so you can take them to the hospital, cooking for them, seriously contemplating not going to uni because they haven’t even finished their treatment yet, looking after them after every operation, every round of chemotherapy and every other drug under the sun has been pumped through their bodies. Fun, right?

And you know what the worst part is. The cancer wasn’t making my Mum ill, the drugs to make her better were. Two operations, 18 weeks of chemotherapy, 4 weeks of radiotherapy and a year of Herceptin and the emotional distress and physical scars to last a lifetime. You never fully recover from cancer. The word itself is loaded with negative connotations, and it honestly makes me nervous when I hear it or read it because I feel like it’s coming back to get us.

I am more than happy to stand up and admit, even after going through it all with my mother and watching her finally get better, that I am scared of the word cancer. Terrified in fact, because it could always come back. There is no cure. Until you’ve found a cure for every cancer, no, every disease out there, we’ll all be scared to some degree.

I am in no way fishing for sympathy. We got through it and my Mum is certainly a tougher person because of it. I just want other students to know that your studies and that bad grade you got in that essay, is not the end of the world (no offence). And if you went through what I went did, well done. Other students, other teenagers need the support that I lacked. The only thing I ever wanted was to deal with the pain and drugs so my mum didn’t have to and I know that upset her more than anything. But I was completely powerless to helping her and I found that more painful than anything I have ever experienced. I know that anyone who has been in this situation will say exactly the same, but they’ve probably never told anyone that, so I’m telling you for them.

So actually Katie Hopkins, thank you, because if you hadn’t angered me so much, I wouldn’t have had the guts to write this.

What I want to know is: how can you NOT be scared?

I confess, I’m a nomophobe.

I confess. I’m a nomophobe. (And you, fellow student, probably are too)

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Stood in the middle of a busy Bank Holiday London, as the sun begins to set behind Big Ben, I realise something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong. My friend, my companion, my confidant, is gone. I’m completely and utterly abandoned and they are gone.

The reality was, my phone had just run out of battery.

It was completely dead. Gone. And I can admit, I was bereft.

Pathetic? Maybe, but before you label me as a pitiful, tragic human being and hastily turn the page to escape my ramblings, just stop and consider living without your phone. For anyone, this would surely be a struggle.

I recently read an article in The I that very kindly allowed me to diagnose myself, and half of the British population, with ‘Nomophobia’, the fear of being without your mobile phone. Yes it is a real thing, I googled it on my phone straightaway. Apparently, one fifth of the population check their emails whilst still in bed, myself included and nearly a third of us would check our phone during a date.

Now, I don’t just spend my days anxiously stalking my phone from the corner of a darkened room, ready to pounce when I hear the chime of text message. I use it for absolutely everything.  I tweet, I post, I watch, I write, I do everything you can possibly imagine on my phone, because there simply is an app for everything. I’m even writing this article on it now whilst my bulky, heavy laptop sulks in the corner pleading for attention.

And it wasn’t until I was stood in the middle of London, abandoned, that I realised I was lost without it. I actually panicked, and my heart rate escalated, something an app on my phone could probably have shown you. I couldn’t see the time or the train timetable to get me home. I couldn’t tell everyone what I was doing every second of the day or Instagram my clichéd tourist snaps to make me feel like a true photographer. Okay, the last two are quite frankly a bit irritating, but I got sucked into this cyber world like everyone else.

And you know what; I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. Nowadays, life is all about convenience and speed and that is exactly what my iPhone gives me. I can keep everything in one easy to access place. I don’t think I could actually function properly without it. Sorry laptop, this just isn’t going to work anymore. It’s not you, it’s not even me, it’s my iPhone.

So, today, I unashamedly confess to you, that I Emily Adams, am a Nomophobe. And admit it… you are too.

Photo credit: iStockphoto, mbbirdy