Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Un-Thanksgiving to You!

It’s odd how a tune can get stuck in your head sometimes. Odder still, the choice of tune that gets stuck in your head and the exact timing of this phenomenon. Maybe the tune is an indication of what’s really going on in your subconscious? But maybe—just maybe—it’s more ominous than that. Maybe it’s a sign of what’s going on just beneath the surface of reality itself...

For the past couple of days, I’ve been humming the tune to A Very Merry Un-Birthday to You from Disney’s animated classic Alice in Wonderland. It was one of my oldest girl’s favorite movies as a kid, and she about wore out the tape in the VHS player. The more I thought about it, the more odd it seemed to me that I wasn’t humming Christmas carols (since the radio stations are already blasting them) or even thinking of a more traditional tune like the Thanksgiving hymn Come Ye Thankful People, Come. Why was I thinking about the Mad Hatter’s surrealist tea party and the idea of celebrating an un-anything?

It all began when I opened up the shopper paper lying on our front lawn the other day. In the colorful mass of recyclable materials I spied the big-box store flyers proudly proclaiming, “We’re open on Thanksgiving Day at 6 AM!” My heart sank. Now I know why that infuriatingly little tune from Alice in Wonderland had become stuck in my head. I've fallen down the rabbit hole like Alice, and the insanity surrounds me on all sides.

There are no sacred days, no official holidays, or special family gathering days anymore in America. There is only naked commercialism, overpaid CEOs, retail-slave-laborers, and poverty wages. Indeed, there is little to be thankful for in a culture openly based on greed and consumerism.

So, let’s stop fooling ourselves. The Thanksgiving holiday has been lovely for the past 300 odd years. (Only the last 150 years of it has been official as Abraham Lincoln declared it a federal holiday during the Civil War to promote unity). But, obviously, we’ve grown up as a society and grown past it. Why do we need to be thankful for anything, let alone express thanks to anyone or any deity? We got all the idols you could want, all the stuff we could ever need, and those with actual paying jobs (there are a few, but I don’t happen to have one) can go on wild buying sprees at 6 AM on Thanksgiving Day itself without regrets or recrimination. Why wait for Black Friday when we have a slightly dirty beige “Un-Thanksgiving Day” to go on a shopping expedition?

The Mad Hatter proclaimed every day that wasn’t your birthday was your “un-birthday” and worth celebrating. Since we’ve become a society of ingrates, every day—including the fourth Thursday of November—can be “Un-Thanksgiving Day”, right? Celebrate it by shopping during the wee small hours of the night! Celebrate by not paying your employees’ a living wage! Celebrate it by allowing 45,000 of your fellow Americans to die each year (that’s one every 12 minutes) from lack of health care! Celebrate it by glorifying the snarkiness, the insipid (reality TV works well here), the materialistic, and the capitalistic!

There is no one to give thanks to or for or about since it’s Un-Thanksgiving Day! Remember, it’s all about celebrating ME!

I want to “thank” you now, dear reader, for reading thus far and putting up with my attitude, but frankly I’m tired. I’m tired of the selfishness and mean-spiritedness of our culture. I’m ashamed to be American these past few years. We’ve become what we always prided ourselves for not being—self-absorbed and uncaring. We don’t care a rat’s behind for our own neighbors’ welfare, and our neighbor abroad is useful only if he has resources we want to take advantage of, be they animal, vegetable, mineral, or slave-labor. 

Abraham Lincoln is lucky to have lived in the 19th century and not the 21st. I’m sure if he were alive today, he would simply walk away and forget all about preserving the union. Why bother to save the self-centered lot which currently dwells here...

...When you can save all your money to hit the Thanksgiving Day 6 AM sales! Happy Un-Thanksgiving to you and yours—and may all your shallow self-indulgences empty your bank account and raise your cholesterol level.


A J said...

I totally agree with you. Naked consumerism has overtaken any finer feelings the holiday may - and should - have. I shop at Michaels hobby store quite often and I'm on their mailing list. I was horrified to receive their latest bulletin proudly announcing they were open from 3pm-2am Thanksgiving Day. As a farther inducement they included a 30% off entire purchase coupon. I sent them an email protesting their opening at all. The reply came back to the effect "their customers demanded it."


I can imagine a small, indeed tiny minority might want to go spend time in a hobby store at 2am in the morning. I certainly wasn't going to shop AT ALL that day - nor Black Friday. I'm seriously considering cutting up my Michaels rewards card and sending it to their head office with a letter registering my protest and disgust. The only way to stop this madness is for people to stay away from the stores altogether.

Cindy said...

Another example of the insanity of Thanksgiving Day shopping:

11 year old girl trampled in a small town WalMart on Thanksgiving Day.

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