27 November 2014

Fill in the Blank


I
 had things I planned to write today, but it’s American Thanksgiving, and I’ve just had the most meal-like food I’ve had in some time, so I’ve decided ust to sit here and quietly digest, like a lizard sunning herself under an incandescent bulb. It’s a quiet sort of day anyway, not one for running around and digging stuff up and rummaging through files in search of an elusive fact that has somehow managed to blend into the context.
Everyone who writes about the day seems to think he knows what he’s talking about—Thanksgiving has no connection with the recorded 1621 feast, it’s really about cultural appropriation and genocide, it’s just another over-commercialized religious holiday, and so on and so forth. I mean, yeah—sure—sort of. There are elements of truth in various assertions—even contradictory assertions—because, like any holiday, Thanksgiving is no one thing.
It’s just a time when by common agreement a lot of us simultaneously partake of a feast. We do it for a lot of different reasons—religious, secular, familial, economic—and it means different things to each different celebrant. I know I’m being trite here, but there really is no answer to what Thanksgiving really is. It’s a day off from work. It’s the time of the year when the family gathers back at grandma’s. It’s a reenactment of a long-ago moment when alien cultures met in peace instead of war. It’s a ritual in which we propitiate some supernatural entity by acknowledging its part in the bounty of the harvest. It’s an occasion when we go through the same empty ritual as everyone else and vaguely wonder why anybody bothers.
It’s all of these things. Or it’s something else altogether.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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