Have you heard of Rev Billy? No, not Billy Grahm the renowned evangelist, but Billy Talen, who's "stage name" is Rev Billy.
As part of an activist movement, he uses a choir, revival meetings, and huge theatrics to tour and protest shopping, sweatshops, environmental harm, and the Iraq war.
The stop shopping message of Rev Billy are demonstrated in Morgan Spurlock's 2007 documentary What Would Jesus Buy? which highlights a bus tour Billy and his Stop Shopping choir takes across America. Stops along the way include the Walmart headquarters, the mall of America, and unique Disney Land ambush.
My favorite term Billy uses in this film is what he calls the Shopocalypse. There's definitely some comedy here.
I'm not necessarily the "activist type" but I appreciate some aspects of Rev Billy, even though I also think he's a little crazy. I value his creative style of activism, I think if more activist thought of creative ways of getting their message across using entertainment, I think more people would listen. I also think his emphasis on understanding the consequences of our deal-seeking behavior is valuable.
So with that, as I was out with my family doing some "black-Friday-lite" shopping (no early morning door busters or running over people with shopping carts to get flat screen TVs or anything), I found myself thinking "Where is Rev Billy today?"
Well, Rev Billy unsurprisingly shuns Black Friday and instead calls his "followers" to celebrate Buy Nothing Day. Rev Billy's website says him and his "congregation" will be singing and preaching at Macy's in New York City today.
Below is a picture I found of Rev Billy at Macy's this morning, from an environmental activist who also showed up at Macy's this morning at the New York dept chain.
So, not sure if Rev Billy had any impact over the early morning shoppers? I sort of doubt it. But it's good to see that Billy and his team aren't taking the day off or backing down from the cause.
Happy Black Friday! (or Buy Nothing Day which ever you choose)