I was listening to NPR and what made me turn it off was this. Prior to Thanksgiving, they had a little ‘cultural’ segment on Thanksgiving meals. They addressed the question of ‘restricted’ diets, pointing out that this caused problems in ‘1/3rd’ of families, according to a mysterious panel of parents. Now a ‘restricted’ diet could be for health reasons, for religious or political reasons, for cultural reasons. The idea was that anyone who says ‘I’ll eat anything’ is the baseline non-problematic and ‘good’ way to be.
|Trying to Keep the Tradition Alive!|
Food has become a political battleground, as anyone knows. Problems with factory farming; drugs, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other additives in food; GMO methods, monocultures, global warming, food deserts, cruelty to animals, carbon production, health problems like heart attacks, strokes, hypertension and diabetes - have all made food a war zone. Turkey is not exempt from this. Calling it ‘Turkey Day’ makes meat central, but that is a dodge. This all reflects the impact of capitalist methods in agriculture.
Now people many times will eat food they don’t really want, to be polite. The suggestion here was aimed specifically at teenagers who had become vegetarians. They were encouraged by the mysterious panel of parents to make their ‘own’ dish to bring to Thanksgiving and share with everyone. This is a very clever little punishment. As Americans know, there are plenty of dishes on the traditional Thanksgiving menu that are vegetarian – yams/sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, pie, cranberries, green beans, corn, bread, even some stuffings can be made without meat. Suggesting that the nasty vegetarian teenager bring in another unneeded vegetarian dish – when no one else has to – is the punishment. Why not make the non-drinkers bring their own fizzy 'champagne' apple juice? Or the damned gluten-free people bring their own bread rolls! You can see where this ‘Thanksgiving’ is going…
When meat-eaters come to my Thanksgiving, I give them rock Cornish game hens or salmon. No one complains. I do not make the meat-eater ‘bring their own dish to share.’ As a parent I had vegetarian teenagers and we kept the meat separate from everything else. Or else made a substitute meat dish. Friends of mine who I eat with make a vegetarian entrée for me and everyone else. It works. But not for NPR… national government radio.
Thanksgiving – like the 4th of July, “Labor” Day, Christmas, Easter and ‘Memorial’ Day – are archaic holidays that are deeply problematic and yet never quit. Thanksgiving is supposedly based on a single meal shared by Puritans and native Americans. Actually it became a national holiday after it was declared by Lincoln in commemoration of the Union victory at Gettysburg. So the national media almost never mention this actual reason so as not to offend the neo-Confederates in our southern midst, and plays up a mythological ‘day of peace’ between Europeans and native peoples. All the while this Thanksgiving we can watch live-streaming coming from Standing Rock showing police lined up on a bluff like the 7th Cavalry. Police – the ‘Oil Protectors” and the “Corporate Protectors” - still out there defending the right to profit off global warming and clean water. Thanksgiving is like the Red Wedding episode in ‘Game of Thrones.’ You sit down to eat a celebratory meal – and then you are slaughtered by the host. For indigenous people, versions of the slaughter are still going on.
The nugget of Thanksgiving is eating a meal and sharing time with relatives and friends and even strangers. Who can be against that? Even with the endless articles about how to de-politicize the event or how to argue within families about politics. Yet surrounding this normal human endeavor is a historical myth, and added to it is the watching of football and then shopping. Football – a game that will be seen in the future much like boxing is now - crude and violent, loved by the military, damaging to the players and profitable to Big Sports in the extreme. Now Big Sports is shedding crocodile tears over losing football viewers and we are supposed to be alarmed. We should be thankful! Then there is the push to go shopping on this day that is supposed be dedicated to ‘family?’ Even the Mall of America and some stores like REI are now seeing through this farce.
A socialist movement will bring a new set of holidays that actually mean something, and change the meaning of the ones we have now or allow them to die a natural death. Because these holidays are on their last legs, like so much of official society.
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November 26, 2016