For those readers who avoid the mass media in the United States, “Black Friday” is modern-American “Christian/Christmas”-based talk for “loss leader.”
The phenomenon and its constant creep forward in the calendar speak in many directions about the nature of our market-totalitarian society and culture. Not least of the thoughts that occur to me is this:
“How would you like to be one of the ’employees’ who have the delightful privilege of going to work at 9:00 p.m. on ‘Thanksgiving’ (i.e., the gustatory launch-event for the yearly Xmas credit-card binge), or, worse, 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. on Loss Leader Day itself?”
If you are one of the chosen few, you might enjoy the lovely holiday tradition of administering CPR to a dying trample victim.
But don’t feel bad if you are not among those lucky enough to be called into work ringing up electronic picture frames in the dead of night: Maybe you can just focus on the pleasures of achieving 99er status during this season’s glorious profit-gushing “jobless recovery.”
Thanksgiving is full of embarrassing facts. The Pilgrims did not introduce the Native Americans to the tradition; Eastern Indians had observed autumnal harvest celebrations for centuries. Our modern celebrations date back only to 1863; not until the 1890s did the Pilgrims get included in the tradition; no one even called them “Pilgrims” until the 1870s. Plymouth Rock achieved iconographic status only in the nineteenth century, when some enterprising residents of the town moved it down to the water so its significance as the “holy soil” the Pilgrims first touched might seem more plausible.
Of course, ever since the triumph of the corporate marketing revolution in the early post-WWII years, Thanksgiving has also been transmogrified into what all other holidays are: a marketing platform, a superb ideological and sentimentalist schtick for pushing more (and increasingly trivial, moronic, and/or scandalous) corporate capitalist commodities into our personal lives.
So, let’s lift a glass to reality, shall we? It ain’t quite what the marketers and nationalists would have us believe:
“IT WAS WITH GOD’S HELP…FOR HOW ELSE COULD WE HAVE DONE IT?”
Settlement proceeded, not with God’s help but with the Indians’. The Pilgrims chose Plymouth because of its cleared fields, recently planted in corn, “and a brook of fresh water [that] flowed into the harbor,” in the words of TRIUMPH OF THE AMERICAN NATION. It was a lovely site for a town. Indeed, until the plague, it had been a town. Everywhere in the hemisphere, Europeans pitched camp right in the middle of native populations—Cuzco, Mexico City, Natchez, Chicago. Throughout New England, colonists appropriated Indian cornfields, which explains why so many town names—Marshfield, Springfield, Deerfield–end in “field”.
Inadvertent Indian assistance started on the Pilgrims’ second full day in Massachusetts. A colonist’s journal tells us:
We marched to the place we called Cornhill, where we had found the corn before. At another place we had seen before, we dug and found some more corn, two or three baskets full, and a bag of beans. ..In all we had about ten bushels, which will be enough for seed. It was with God’s help that we found this corn, for how else could we have done it, without meeting some Indians who might trouble us. …The next morning, we found a place like a grave. We decided to dig it up. We found first a mat, and under that a fine bow…We also found bowls , trays, dishes, and things like that. We took several of the prettiest things to carry away with us, and covered the body up again.
Dig the guilty knowledge even at the start, noted by Loewen: “A place ‘like a grave!'”
P.S. If you’re interested in what an talentless, dishonest, uninformed lout Rush Limbaugh is, read his pathetic attempt at an excuse for all this suppressed history. “Nobody knows,” my ass, dickhead. This is massively documented by mountains of historical evidence. Read a book, you über-idiot.
And check out how Limbaugh the neo-fascist doper scorns the truth as “just a multicultural curriculum which is designed to get as many little kids as possible to question the decency and the goodness of their own country.”
Horror of horrors! Questioning one’s own country?
Better to have the kiddies stick with what past generations have gotten: an intentionally falsified jingoist curriculum which is designed to prevent as many little kids as possible from questioning the decency and the goodness of their own country, a.k.a. citizenship responsibility #1.
After all, where would the Rush Limbaughs of the nation be without that implanted, continuing curriculum?