So now that it is over, can we admit a few truths about Thanksgiving? I hear a lot of people say that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. When you peel away all the layers of butter and get to the core intention of gratitude, I understand the appeal of the holiday. However in my practical experience, Thanksgiving celebrations rarely reflect that core intention.One of the most annoying aspects of Thanksgiving is the collective white-washing we find so comforting with regard to the historical facts surrounding early settlers’ contact with native people. Why are we still spewing this happy pilgrim / helpful native bullshit? Not to get all preachy, but how ’bout we use Thanksgiving to highlight other examples of neo-colonialist exploitation happening right now? Or better yet, take a trip to a Reservation and show the kiddies how great it worked out for those helpful “Indians.” Even though this isn’t a new criticism, there’s still no new narrative. Thanksgiving has become more a celebration of gluttony than gratitude. Now I’m going in on the food – which if you actually think about it is really disgusting. The traditional Thanksgiving spread is a depressing two note tune. SWEET or SAVORY. There is usually nothing raw, scant spice, and little in the way of contrast. Veggies drown in heavy sauces or casseroles. Fruits slug through sugary syrups. Almost everything else is brown or white. Every year experts hotly debate the best way to prepare a moist turkey. Brine?! Parchment?! Deep fry?! Newsflash. Any which way you prepare the turkey it will be dry and gross. That’s because turkey is innately dry and gross. No amount of submerging, poking, or braising the bird will change this eternal truth. I watch people saw away at dry turkey every year. No one ever compliments the turkey. They compliment everything but the turkey.
The art of conversation is apparently lost. People truly don’t know how to communicate with one another anymore. A series of rapid-fire questions isn’t a conversation; it’s an interrogation. Don’t force me talk about being a vegetarian when everyone at the table is eating meat. Don’t ask about work. This isn’t a job interview. I hate small talk. There is an art to finding interesting and inclusive topics of conversation. Engaging the group requires social tactical skill. Cultivate it. Myself included.