Uruguay’s President Mujica is a former revolutionary (some might call him a terrorist) who was shot six times, imprisoned for 14 years, tortured, and kept in solitary confinement for upward of three years, only to be released, renounce violence, enter politics, win election to the nation’s highest office, and lead Uruguay as it rose out of recession, all the while legalizing gay marriage and abortion, which is noteworthy for a country that counts Catholicism as its dominant religion. He donates 90 percent of his income to charity, lives at his small farm rather than the country’s lavish presidential palace, drives a Volkswagen Beetle, almost never wears a suit, and rails against the excesses of consumerism and the West’s reliance on it as economic ballast.
Like most Ohioans, I started my Black Friday in a suburban shopping mall immersed in a throng of overweight people on a mission to get deals or die trying. Grossed out by the repulsive scent of pretzel dogs and sick of tripping over strollers, I decided it was time to see how the hood celebrates Black Friday. So I took a trip over to Cleveland’s Lee-Harvard Shopping Center, the strip mall where I used to go to cop exclusive sneakers and get bootlegged CDs. It’s home to fine establishments like Angie’s Soul Cafe, where you can get “real” chicken and waffles; and TNT Fashions, where you can cop the latest Jordan’s.