Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Last Great American Holiday

It's Turkey Day. By and far, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; it's the premiere holiday of my favorite season, autumn. I also believe it to be to the epitome of "an American holiday." Now, I realize that 4th of July has a pretty good case for being the all-American holiday with it's drinking, patriotic barbecues, and blowing shit up. However, I truly believe that Thanksgiving is the best representation of America and the American psyche. Anyone can celebrate a birthday; but, it takes true American ingenuity to come up with a holiday like Thanksgiving. And forget all this tomfoolery about big buckled Puritans sitting down with a local Native American tribe to eat a bountiful feast. The irony of using this imagery given the mass genocide committed in the name of God, country, and Manifest Destiny is almost suffocating. But anyway...

There are 4 reasons why Thanksgiving is the all-American holiday.

1. The parade
Sure, 4th of July has a parade. But even the most blue-blooded American can stomach only so much John Philip Sousa, tacky star-spangled outfits, and green-body painted and foam crowned Lady Liberties throwing cheap candy before the absurdity of the parade becomes apparent. Whereas, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an American icon. The streets of Manhattan are filled with 4-story tall balloons and celebrities gather to sing, dance, and promote their newest movie or Broadway show. NBC, ABC, and CBS cover the event for hours; other the other hand, 4th of July fireworks in NYC are 45 minutes at best. Nothing says "Americans are too strong willed to succumb to an economic crisis" like the millions spent on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's almost reminiscent of Roman victory parades to celebrate the conquest of another ethnic group... oh wait, now it makes sense.

2. Football
I not talking about that crazy European sport where they actually play with their feet either. I'm talking about good ol' manly gridiron football. A truly American sport - which is probably why it's not followed or watched outside of North America. Nothing says "All-American holiday" like an all-American sport where men beat the hell out of each other for money. Three football games will be played today. The annual Thanksgiving day games are almost as an iconic as the Butterball(TM) turkey or Stove Top(TM) stuffing . Today, unlike any other day on the NFL calendar, three games will be spaced out so that every minute of every game can be watched in full. Don't want to talk to your family? You're in luck over 6 hours of football are available to keep your interest.

3. The food
The only thing Americans love more than their football is large quantities of food. Let's face it, Thanksgiving is a celebration of gluttony and sloth; and I, for one, love it. The sheer amount of carbs and starches consumed today under the cover of gravy is true Americana. It's also the only day of the year where Americans ape their European brethren and celebrate the siesta. A holiday filled with food and sleeping is a true reason to celebrate. Now if we could just get rid of all those dishes that need to be cleaned afterwards, it would be a perfect day.

4. Black Friday
The only thing Americans love more than football and food combined? Spending massive amounts of money on worthless shit in the name of Christ and limited-time sales. Only in America would a national holiday honoring the celebration of giving thanks for our families and our good fortune be used as a spring board into a month of greed, mindless spending, and a race to see who can out spend whom, or who gets the best new toy. Every year the news stations covers shoppers fighting at 5am over the new "must-have" item. One day we are giving thanks for being blessed with freedom and a healthy life, and the next day we are pushing and scratching either to save $50. God Bless America.

Snarky commentary aside, I love Thanksgiving. It's not just the food, although the food is a large part of it, I won't lie. There's just something about Thanksgiving that is admirable. Families coming together and celebrating life over food is beautiful for its simplicity.

Happy Turkey Day!

Minor side note: I received an e-mail from the ACLU instructing me how to handle "When Uncle Harry brings up Prop 8". I don't have an Uncle Harry, nor do I think my military career based family is going to bring up Prop 8; however, if you seek instruction on how to handle the situation, let me know and I will forward you the e-mail.

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