White America embraced Thanksgiving because a majority of that population glories in the fruits, if not the unpleasant details, of genocide and slavery and feels, on the whole, good about their heritage: a cornucopia of privilege and national power. Children are taught to identify with the good fortune of the Pilgrims. It does not much matter that the Native American and African holocausts that flowed from the feast at Plymouth are hidden from the children’s version of the story – kids learn soon enough that Indians were made scarce and Africans became enslaved. But they will also never forget the core message of the holiday: that the Pilgrims were good people, who could not have purposely set such evil in motion. Just as the first Thanksgivings marked the consolidation of the English toehold in what became the United States, the core ideological content of the holiday serves to validate all that has since occurred on these shores – a national consecration of the unspeakable, a balm and benediction for the victors, a blessing of the fruits of murder and kidnapping, and an implicit obligation to continue the seamless historical project in the present day.
The Thanksgiving story is an absolution of the Pilgrims, whose brutal quest for absolute power in the New World is made to seem both religiously motivated and eminently human. Most importantly, the Pilgrims are depicted as victims – of harsh weather and their own naïve yet wholesome visions of a new beginning. In light of this carefully nurtured fable, whatever happened to the Indians, from Plymouth to California and beyond, in the aftermath of the 1621 dinner must be considered a mistake, the result of misunderstandings – at worst, a series of lamentable tragedies. The story provides the essential first frame of the American saga. It is unalloyed racist propaganda, a tale that endures because it served the purposes of a succession of the Pilgrims’ political heirs, in much the same way that Nazi-enhanced mythology of a glorious Aryan/German past advanced another murderous, expansionist mission.
“Mr. Bloomberg met daily with several deputies and commissioners, and as more business owners complained and editorials lampooned him as gutless, his patience wore thin.”—
This meme, of journalists describing elected officials (or, nonsensically, municipalities) as moving to dismantle these protests because their “patience wore thin” is particularly irksome. Because, and any competent editor/reporter should know this, the right to peaceably assemble isn’t subject to the “patience” of an elected official. To describe it this way is to accept that citizens are allowed in any public space only at the sufferance of their government, and at least for now in the U.S., that simply isn’t true.
David: I’d like to see/read a thriller in which John Riggins and, like, Adam Gopnik solve crimes together. Or Mike Martz and Condoleeza Rice.
Jeff: It’s called “Connect Four”. Riggins is the mastermind, and he pursues these people because he knows that no one would ever assume they would work together on a crime. Martz does all blueprints. Condoleeza has all sorts of unsanctioned sleeping gasses she’s stolen from the Pentagon.
If only the Monday morning NFL chatter around my office sounded more like Jeff Johnson and David Roth and less like Monday morning NFL chatter around an office.
I wish I had photographic evidence to support the accuracy of this compliment, but I don’t so you will just have to take my word for how brilliant it was last night when Udo said to a departing Thurston, “you look like Han Solo’s gay brother. You’re Rick Solo!”