Declaring War on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is crap. Why? Listed below are the top reasons people like the holiday.

Turkey isn't a Day. It's a state of mind.

  1. Food
  2. Family
  3. Off Work/School
  4. Football/Parade
  5. Shopping!
  6. Giving Thanks
  7. Celebrating Our Country’s History

Let’s be clear: I don’t hate any of these things. Some of them are great. But on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being Columbus Day and 10 being Christmas, Thanksgiving might be a one or two.

It could be that Thanksgiving is supposed to be such a big deal. There’s so much pressure. You have to get together with family. You have to eat food. You’re taught from a young age that, beside Christmas, it’s the most important holiday. It celebrates all the great things about America, and symbolizes togetherness and helping people out when they’re down.

Of course none of that is true. It’s a lie told to children because they’re the only ones gullible enough to believe it. The first Thanksgiving in America might not have even been put together by the Pilgrims. It may have been in Florida by a Spanish guy. The whispers begin. Spanish? Good Lord, that’s practically Mexican, and that certainly isn’t American. Of course that’s just a theory. There was actually a day of Thanksgiving put down on paper in Virginia two years before the Pilgrims even had their first “official” Thanksgiving. So, much like most mythical beginnings, this one is more than likely bunk.

Now that we’ve undermined the basis of the holiday (albeit un-definitively), let’s move onto the reasons we love it. First, the food. I’ll admit that I have a food phobia. I don’t like it, and I really don’t like eating in front of other people. Before judging, understand it’s probably the weirdest thing about me. I could be into things like this. Clearly, I have a personal reason. But I gotta ask myself: How can I ruin this for others? Well, our country is really, really fat. Having one of our most popular holidays devoted to gorging ourselves on food isn’t going to help. We eat like pigs through the holidays only to make empty promises around New Year’s to lose the weight. Did you make a resolution to lose weight this year? At any point? Go to the bathroom. Stand on the scale. I hope you’re smiling, but I’m guessing not. Think about that on Thursday. Moving on.

You know damned well the only way you're eating fruit on Thanksgiving is if it's covered in butter or sugar.

Many people get together with family and friends on Thanksgiving. Some of them even enjoy it. Many of you, however, have to travel hours in the car, on a train or by air just to see them. You inevitably spend the first five minutes falling into traditional family roles that haven’t changed since you were 18. An hour or so later you’re retreating to your old bedroom/back porch/local bar to clear your head. By mid-afternoon somebody’s going to get into a fight with somebody (maybe you!). Then you eat, and we’ve already been over why you should feel guilty about that. Let’s say you’re the one people are coming to see though. How wonderful! Family’s here! You can finally let them know how disappointed you are that they haven’t come to visit you in weeks/months/years. They’re going to mess up your house, eat your food, probably break things (during the fight), and leave without a thought to the mess. Is it really worth it for either party? I would say no, but you’re the same people who enjoy watching people beat the shit out of each other for fun. As Squanto said at the first Thanksgiving, “With sadism often comes masochism”.

The parade and football. I get both of them. They’re not terrible. I enjoy watching football, but you can watch football every week this time of year. The games would be on anyway a day or two later without the holiday. The parade? Let’s be honest. It’s OK to have on in the background, but you’re not going to watch much of it because it’s not very exciting. Big balloons are probably only impressive if you’re there. How many marching bands can you watch before you hit mute? And the floats? Do you really want to see the cast of Disney’s High School Musical 3 waving to a bunch of cold New Yorkers?

Giving Thanks? Bullshit. If you’re waiting till late November to give thanks you either don’t have much to give thanks for or don’t have enough time that day to do it. None of you are actually giving thanks for anything that day; you’re in it for the food you chubby fuck.

Shopping! Much has been made about the fact that Day After Thanksgiving specials are bullshit. I worked in a toy store for a while. That day was hell, and I can’t imagine it being anything but stressful for the people shopping. It’s an orgy of personal commercialism. If only we invested that much time in something productive.*

*Like complaining about people who spend too much time shopping.

I will freely and happily admit that getting the day off work or school is awesome. I will not say a negative word about that outcome. Should we really be getting the day off for a sham though? Not just a sham, but one that perpetuates a false narrative of the relationship our country has had with Native Americans?

Ah, the best case for last – celebrating our country’s history. First of all, Thanksgiving can not compare to Columbus Day in terms of offensive federal holidays. Columbus was a nasty, nasty dude, and it’s scary that we have a national holiday celebrating his life. Still, Thanksgiving’s pretty bad. I’m willing to believe that 400 years ago European settlers (invaders) sat down and had a feast with local native peoples who had helped them get through a tough winter. Totally believable. However, one moment of togetherness does not a good relationship make. The following four centuries of systematic murder and forced re-settlement probably ruined any good will built on that special 17th century day. White Europeans, who Natives helped that crisp autumn day went on to commit genocide against the same people who were teaching them how to survive. Talk about biting the hand that

It looks like an ironic T-Shirt, but it's actually a social statement. I'd like to say that's ironic, but it's not. Just deceptive.

feeds you. A more direct connection shows that the Pilgrims were settling on land that had . And Squanto? That helpful guy? He had once been part of that wiped out tribe, but had been enslaved in England for years. When he came back to his former village it was gone. Without any other jobs around (presumably because everybody was fucking dead), he probably just took the first thing that came alone – teaching white folks how to farm.

Fact is, our education system and our federal government are whitewashing centuries of oppression and murder with a hokey story of hand holding. No amount of turkey or cranberry sauce can fix the damage. Native Americans are still living in poverty on some of the most useless, isolated land in the country. This Thanksgiving instead of giving empty thanks and celebrating a bullshit holiday, maybe you should think about how the United States of America committed genocide. Really. Think about that when you’re eating turkey, watching football, and shopping for a bigger HDTV. Or not. Maybe you should just enjoy yourself. After all, you earned it.

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3 Responses to Declaring War on Thanksgiving

  1. Edgar says:

    RE: Native Americans are still living in poverty on some of the most useless, isolated land in the country.

    Completely false. In Arizona, they get to live near some of the biggest and most active uranium mines on the contient. They love it so much that the corporations even pay them to work the mines and give them free uranium run-off in their drinking water. And you know what? I have yet to get a personalized thank-you note.

  2. Gregory T. says:

    I’m a non traditionalist. I’m cynical, a rationalist, a reductionist, a materialist and an atheist. My views of some holidays are fairly neutral, with the exception of irrational holidays to honor the “birth” and the “death” of a mythical figure (Jesus Christ). The entire premise of christmas is absurd. Even celebrated in a secular manner christmas is still a time when, for many, is a time of jeer. Perhaps the holidays bring about jovial moments to complete close knit families, but for those of us who’ve had the few people in their lives that they really love and trusted pass away, it leaves you bitter. You do feel isolated but you’re not. There are so many suffering losses and knowing the people that you’ve loved most are gone forever. It sucks. But that’s life.

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