Virtual Bourgeois

Just An Analog Guy Trying to Upgrade For a Digital World

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving

Posted by Gerald on November 19, 2007

Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving is not to provide an opportunity to watch football while staving off a turkey-induced coma – that is its function, not its purpose.

The purpose is also not to celebrate the survival of one otherwise rather insignificant group of New England settlers. We aren’t descended from those people. If we all were they couldn’t have their pansy little elitist club.

Also, oddly enough, the purpose is not to provide us with an opportunity to reflect upon that for which we are truly thankful (fold hands and cast down eyes.)  If the purpose of this holiday is to really celebrate our thankfulness for having this country, we should do so by going out and waving our genitals at the first Native American we can find.  Dancing on Indian gravesites would also be appropriate.  We are expressing out thanks for having pulled off the robbery of the millennium.  Thank you God for allowing the Indians to all die of smallpox so we could wipe out the remnants and steal their land.  God Bless Us and Screw Them.

No.  The real purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving is to tell ourselves the biggest lie in the history of this nation.

This is the lie that says we are all a happy union of people who peacefully came together to share the bounty of the land.  The iconographic celebration represented by the somewhat subservient looking Indians giving food to the Pilgrims (in a seeming act of tribute) and then sharing the meal is a lie meant to comfort us that we aren’t the beneficiaries of a massive act of genocidal plunder.  It also acts to mask other things, like the enslavement of Africans and the brutality practiced upon each wave of subsequent immigrants right down to the present day.  The lie says all are welcome as we come together in this New World.  The reality has been surrender or die.

This is also the day when we hear the most about a “melting pot” that is supposed to symbolize our society.  In a melting pot, all differences are destroyed to create homogeneity.  This was an idea made by the same Nativists who built our immigration laws and structured the reservation system.  They said (and say, thank you Tom Tancredo) that you can come here only if you are willing to become American – meaning adopting the values of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants and learning and speaking English only.  You are to be melted into the majority.

Thanksgiving needs to change.  It should become an American version of Yom Kippur – a national day of atonement.  We could begin by begging the forgiveness of the Native Americans, and then move on to the slaves, the immigrants, the impoverished workers, in fact everyone whose exploitation has built this country.  In the process we might discover that almost everyone owes an apology to almost everyone.  Maybe on that basis we could make some things more right.  Maybe we could start to create something not built upon mutual exploitation.

That would be worth giving thanks for.


5 Responses to “The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving”

  1. bridgett said

    Instead of the National Day of Mourning and Remembrance — which is sort of what you suggest needs to happen, and has been commemorated in American Indian communitites since 1970

    the House of Representatives this year are trying to do this:

    You know, us Negative Nellies might point out that they’re trying to make Black Friday (when no one is in school) an educational
    opportunitiy to teach American Indian history….

  2. Gerald said

    How can you be so cynical? I’m sure that lots of public schools are going to take time out from teaching skills for standardized tests to celebrate this day during one of their holidays. You aren’t suggesting the Federal government would be taking a largely empty and symbolic action, would you?

    I’m not surprised that what I suggested isn’t an original idea. I wrote this in plain rant mode after seeing what our college posted as “Thanksgiving Facts” in the campus news sheet (turkey trivia, etc…). My colleague posted it on the bulletin board near our office with “Arrgghhh” in big red letters. I felt I had to elucidate further.

    Still, I’m going over to eat bird with Steve (from Semeiotikos) and his wife and Mom on The Day, so I guess that makes me the biggest hypocrite of all.

  3. bridgett said

    NC is a big poultry producing state. I can understand the turkey-centrism. We’re staying in NY and, like always, watching the Macy’s Parade on TV. Gigantic feasts and football games are nice, but Big Bird over Manhattan is necessary. And then we’ll spend the
    rest of the weekend hunkered down, buying nothing despite the klaxon blasts every ten minutes that are trying to trigger
    our hoarding instinct.

  4. imfunny2 said

    I’ve always wondered how Native Americans handle this day…

    Glad that there are folks out there trying to de-mythologize the day.

  5. Idetrorce said

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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