holiday rant 2: what the fuck happened to Thanksgiving?

The entry below hails from my old MySpace blog, dated 11.29.2006. I felt it was still somewhat relevant. The “2” references an earlier version of the Halloween blog I have since re-edited and posted below as a “new” entry. Maybe that’s cheating? I also think this may be the last of my old MySpace blogs, so here’s to exhausting the past!

There were spiders and witches and huge Spirit costume stores, and then like a kid who isn’t so good at hopscotch, it feels like we leaped from Halloween and accidentally stepped on Thanksgiving on our way to Christmas. Ooops?!

I know Thanksgiving has its drawbacks, in that it is a holiday both steeped in the blood of indigenous Americans and glorifying the forthcoming codification of manifest destiny established by the tomfoolery of our lily white ancestors (have you stopped reading yet?), but we can also recontextualize the holiday as a union of people – family, friends, and otherwise – in a declaration of appreciation (thanks for the verbage, Jesse Jackson!) for being alive, for enjoying opportunities available to us in this country, and to remind ourselves of how we can always make things better for those who cannot enjoy those same opportunities no matter how grateful we are for the things we already have.

But no. You can’t really buy a whole lot of stuff for Thanksgiving. You get a turkey, and I guess some cranberries… but potatoes are pretty cheap, and gravy just doesn’t have the same sex appeal in advertisements as that sleek, curvy XBox 360. So it seems Thanksgiving is largely forgotten in the cultural landscape as a holiday worth celebrating in the public space. I suppose this is consequently opening up a whole other argument concerning the way public space is giving way to commercial space (how many people think the Grove is a really great place to just hang out? How many people actively think the same of your local park?), but I could go on that rant for years…and I will. (note: and I have and will continue to.) Woe to the people who actually have to talk to me on a regular basis.

We in America forget that life is ultimately pretty simple, and that we operate off three basic urges: to eat, to sleep, to fuck. That’s it. There are needs that spring out of those urges, but one of them is not the acquisition of ridiculous wealth, nor is it to spend more of our lives defining our freedom as buying power and ourselves as consumers. It’s true, we have such nice things in this country. Great stores, clothes in every size, computers for every need, food at every corner. Forget the fact that corporate conglomerates are taking over our free airwaves or repackaging radical and alternative ideology as a “hip individualized counter-culture lifestyle” that can be bought at Urban Outfitters, the Mac store, and Taco Bell.

I’m not saying I’m not grateful for all the freedoms we have living in America, economic or otherwise. The majority of the people here don’t agree with our military involvement in Iraq (we haven’t really gotten to our economic involvement , but that’s looking to be more for the alternative history books), and has consequently elected people they trust to create change in our role in the country’s reconstruction. Hey man, you can’t do that in North Korea, because North Korea no longer has a president. Fuck, they don’t even have a presiden-cy. That whole farce died when Kim Jong-il abolished the position after the last president, his father, also happened to go teets up. So consequently, North Koreans can’t have elections because, quite simply, there is no presidency. Sorry. Not to mention here in America a woman doesn’t have to spend five years in jail for having a consensual extramarital affair like she would in Pakistan. (Men, you’ll always be okay, don’t you worry your pretty little heads.) And I’m guessing if you’re reading this blog, you’ve got a computer and an internet connection and you’re doing pretty well for yourself. Or at least well enough to fulfill no less than two of your three basic urges… and if you’re fulfilling all three, be very grateful.

There’s so much to be thankful for. We do have a lot of liberty. And there are a lot of people both within and outside our borders who don’t have the same freedoms we enjoy, and we can do something about it if we want to. But it seems like the bottom line is you can’t market gratitude and growth the same way you can market necessity and desire. Which is just too damn bad for us. But who knows? Maybe turkeys all over the country are rejoicing. And I can’t really argue with that.

Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 8:16 pm  Comments (2)  
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