Saturday, November 29, 2014

contra Thanksgiving

If you like Thanksgiving, maybe you should bail here, bye-bye. Besides uncomfortable family interactions, and the fairy tale propaganda, Thanksgiving is a fraud, and a false holiday. It is a combination of forgotten calvinism, and ever present capitalism masquerading as a patriotic fairy tale. It is a part of the national civic religion where the figurative idealised nation is substituted for God, and God formerly remembered in the saying of grace before the meal, and now existing as an abstract guardian of approval.

Yet, it has a presence. People travel, sometimes long distances to gather for a group meal. This is rather new, families are quickly divided by geographical relocation, but they have means to travel for a day or longer and then return to their regular home. Of course a family reunion can take place anytime, but this has a co-ordinated national ethos.  We are told it is the busiest aeroport Wednesday and Sunday, with a light Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. For closer folk, there is a higher incidence of difficult relatives to endure.
I saw a state miserability index. Ohio charted easily number one overall using statistics from Centers for Disease Control, facebook, and elections.  Ohio #9 was in salmonella per capita from poultry, #12 binge drinking, #3 political disparity, #1 dietary restrictions, #14 enthusiasm for shopping, the thirteen notches above were all Republican (southern and cultural border southern) states. It is not the roasted golden bird, but the commercial golden calf that is celebrated. Yeah, vegans and Republicans will ruin your meal: imitation foods, plus questionable 'traditional' foods to disturb your palate, and insane political fantasies to thoroughly ruin digestion.

Its status as substitute religion allows those estranged from religion to participate in a 'religious' act. It allows those from not the standard religion of the US, to share in this civic religion. There are not many churches, now, that have a service on this day. This is not a Catholic holiday at all, but Catholics can have a Mass for many commemorations, and for some years they have acknowledged this civic day. For churches that have daily Mass, they just add the title for the civic holiday. And since 'thanksgiving' in Greek is 'Eucharist', it is easy to do. The 7 a.m. Mass will be shifted to 9.30 a.m., and it is co-opted.

But we have, as in all 'holidays', people not in the group. Sometimes they are drawn into this gathering of others, so they are not alone this day. So this is a formed community, and that is good if that is fulfilled, of course sometimes these folk have a choice of places to go; but sometimes not. The homeless rely on public charity for community.

The fraud is the Pilgrim-Indian legend of Plymouth. The English landed in December 1620 and were ill prepared to survive. With help of the Wampanoag, the English had a successful first harvest in 1621, which they celebrated. In 1637 Plymouth joined other English colonies in the Pequot War. The first 'Day of Thanksgiving' celebrated the Mystic River Massacre, and was called by John Winthrop governor of Massachusetts Bay. Thanksgiving was to be a sporadic, but repeated, rejoycing in Mars, a traditional American god. Taking glee in the destruction of those warred against.

Now, President Lincoln instituted the day in 1863, and as with the Emancipation Proclamation was ignored in the South, and took place only after the Yankees had gone:

“The observance of Thanksgiving Day--as a function--has become general of late years. The Thankfulness is not so general. This is natural. Two-thirds of the nation have always had hard luck and a hard time during the year, and this has a calming effect upon their enthusiasm.”
— Mark Twain. Following the Equator. 1897.

Gilbert Chesterton speaks of the miserableness of the calvinists, and of the accident of people’s imaginations that a holiday refers to them. Fanciful, fictionalised and sanitised retelling of history, into a shared folklore has benefited, their legacy. The calvinist attempt, in this celebration, was to replace Christmas and its inherent catholicism. Chesterton, in his essay, 'William Penn and the Puritans' of January 24, 1931, in the Illustrated London News begins:

“The Americans have established a Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the fact that the Pilgrim Fathers reached America. The English might very well establish another Thanksgiving Day, to celebrate the happy fact that the Pilgrim Fathers left England.”

Before the 1530s the English were an observant Catholic people. They followed a Catholic calendar, which meant many holidays with church attendance (Mass, celebration of the Eucharist, Thanksgiving), feasting, and days off of work. Henry VIII greatly reduced this calendar, this allowed for more work. Protestant extremists, Calvinists and similar, took this too extremes. Calvinism in its Presbyterian form took Scotland. The various strains battled eventually to war and revolution in England. Before and after, Henry's Church of England would have a traditional looking element, and an extremist wing insisting upon puritanising of all Catholic elements, or separating entirely. Calvinists looked at wealth as a confirmation of God's affirmation. Mammon is substituted. We see the remnant of this in to-day's secular society, the US is the country with the least holidays, and Scotland is second most. Thanksgiving is part of American culture, the blending of calvinism and capitalism; both frowned on holidays, those days when people feasted and didn't work.

A 'traditional' Thanksgiving began to form in the northeastern states in the years after Lincoln, and it came with college, and then high school football. It is to be remembered, Christmas was considered a working day in the US then. Catholic immigration to the US was continuing. For a time, some Protestants encouraged religiosity and celebration of Turkey Day as a contrast to the 'pagan' Catholicism of Christmas.

The Great Depression shook America, and a newer greater war was active in Europe. Franklin Roosevelt enumerated Four Freedoms in a 1941 speech. Norman Rockwell painted an image for each freedom. The 1943 painting, Freedom From Want, became iconic. Grandparents with an huge turkey. This painting entered its own existence. The painting has suggested to many a particular, traditional, waspish bounty (the glasses held no wine, for that matter no coffee).

Turkey Day is the 4ᵗʰ Thursday of November. Cold Turkey Day is the 3ʳᵈ Thursday of November. At least part of Turkey Day is consumption of food, festive food, and perhaps over abundance. The term 'cold turkey' applies to the immediate, and complete cessation of some indulgence or activity. Health organisations have sponsored, and promoted stop smoking campaigns with Cold Turkey Day. Buy Nothing Day, which has been the day after Thanksgiving since 1997 [it began September 1992 in Méjico], is an antidote to the consumerism, it is not often showcased in the media.

Thanksgiving parades were organised by department stores: Gimbles Philadelphia 1920, Macy's New York City 1924, Hudson's Detroit 1924. The day after Turkey Day (Thanksgiving) has been called by the retail, and advertising industry 'Black Friday' (and a slap to Catholics and many other Christians, 'Black Friday' is another name of the day Jesus was crucified), meaning profitable Friday. In recent years, certain retailers have opened up their stores earlier than normal on that day. Some were opening up at midnight, immediately when the day begins. Now they are open on Thanksgiving Thursday, the day of giving thanks for bounty has become another day of consumption of mercantile excess. Other dollar chases have added small store Saturday, and cyber shopping Monday to the celebration of the golden calves of Mammon. Television (and other) 'news' have story, after story, after story highlighting, intensely covering, encouraging shopping and spending. Millions of hours of free advertising posing as journalism: reporters acting as advertising shills, drummers, and whores, cheerleading unnecessary, and often conspicuous, consumption all to promote the commercialisation of american society. Some retail workers have protested this loss of the holiday. Usual US citizen responses are unsympathetic: “they are lucky to have a job”, and “they knew this when they took the job”. First having a job is not lucky. Slaves have jobs. Work is supposed to be paid and conditions are to be negotiated. Secondly, when conditions are changed unilaterally, the second statement is false.

You may have seen television in the last few days. What about Thanksgiving has the television covered? People waiting outside a store to rush the door to buy a television? For years here in Cleveland, the parish of Saint Augustine has fed the poor, the handicapped, and the homeless each day of the year. They have had satellite centers, and travelling volunteers for this fourth Thursday in November. Year after year, the local television news channels film a story about Saint Augustine. The new teevee reporter in town gets to find out. But this year, that story has been pushed back. Capitalism has won, all hail Mammon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

mottled concoction of crazy

The Sysack sign of unbottled potion of blended crazy is on display. The envelope (lower left) contains Lyndon Larouche craziness. This is on the west side of Cleveland (at least two television stations identified the adjacent street, a couple of days ago, as being in Parma; a tree toppled on Spokane).
“Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble” — the Second Witch in Macbeth  IV, i, 14-15.

Impeachment, nuclear war, Moslem bandits, undocumented Meso-American immigration, British imperialism. It looks less loony in lower case.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

roses in the snow

 to-day St. Mary Cleveland

For those around here, the local television has had wall to wall SNOWMAGEDDON. We lost the huskies some time ago, what can one do? Wednesday night we heard Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Upper Michigan were lost. We had two days of ribands miles across dump snow created from the lake. Yet, life goes on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

vote and upset republicans

And by the way, John Kasich is a fraud. He is an arrogant prick, who can now pretend on camera to be human. When he was in the House with Gingrich, he could not.

The Republican shit finders were thorough. They found every ticket and every unpaid bill a Democrat had, and then ran ominous commercials without end. Their great find was Fitzgerald's lack of a driver's license. So, the Democratic candidate was wounded, and thereby a drag on the entire ticket.

The double standard in elections is obvious to the interested neutrals. A Democrat has to win, practically, any and every point brought up as criterion. The Republicans can choose point(s) that are to be contested, and the press can make them important.

The ominous theme throughout the land has been the successful Republican processes to restrict the electorate. This is the thing for each state: Secretary of State is not a position to be trusted with Republicans, because they cheat. Attorney General is another, for powerful money interests will not be investigated often for their crimes.
Postscriptum 8 a.m. November 6: The Fascists rolled in and won damn near everything. Only the carpetbagger nude model lost in New Hampshire. Yes, it is good he lost. He is a lying piece of excrement, but the psychotics and the vicious feasted. Governors that were embarrassing and destroying their states won, only Pennsylvania ousted their disaster. The press does not suggest how wretched the results are. The next two years the barrels of crazy will leak out of the bunghole.