Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving is Meaningless to Me

Traffic is moving at a glacial pace today thanks to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was not part of my growing up, and so it is virtually meaningless to me. I'd happily spend it as any other normal day, except America unhelpfully screeches to a halt and asks me if (head to one side, concerned voice) I am going to be alone?

What I usually do is risky: I dress in a turkey costume two or three nights before Thanksgiving, and I break into a turkey farm. Then I read Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and some Mao to the turkeys, and gradually awaken their class consciousness. Then Sarah McLachlan (also dressed as a turkey) sings to the turkeys about PETA and other animal rights actions on their behalf. The turkeys are unionized two nights before Thanksgiving. Absolutely nothing is achieved by this, though we get drunk in a gutter afterwards. What a waste of time! But one year, guess what? One of the turkeys wrote to me the next January, and sent me a prayer she had penned with duck fat after a narrow escape from the Capitalists. I reprint it here with her permission.

And thanks also, be to God, for it was He, who, in His infinite wisdom, sent the Europeans to what we now know as America, and -- thieves! robbers! -- fucking up the entire continent for the original inhabitants; it must also have been God who permitted the importing of slaves and poisoning this land's already dubious provenance further, down to the present day.

And so it is that today's Americans, uncertain of their identity and (at best) ever-wary of each other, hate themselves secretly and cling to the certainties of greed and extremism. In their haste to find virtue in themselves, they point out endlessly that Thanksgiving is a non-commercial holiday and no presents need be bought or given. But the following day, they more than make up for the brief hiatus in buying, spending, selling, grubbing, for Friday is a vast river of spending, annually.

For such a people, only a truly grotesque parody of a holiday will do: the turkey's ass of Thanksgiving. For such a people, the God in whom they trust is a devil, is a demon, is Mamon. A-men.

Unseason me, you damned picklers.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Colossus

The Colossus by Goya
(actually now believed to be by his assistant).

Some imagine the giant to be Napoleon, who dashed out of the French Revolution, dazzling all with his charisma and then disappointed and derailed by proclaiming himself Emperor of France. So the Colossus has trampled yet another small community (foreground) — cattle and people flee in every direction in obvious confusion and terror.

Whatever one's opinion of Napoleon, he brought one certainty to Europe and that was war. The new French republic after 1792, with its "liberté, égalité, fraternité," presented a deadly challenge to all the other European (usually) monarchies by its very existence...

And when this suddenly-modern nation state went to war, it was with a radically re-organized army, one formed from volunteers who came from across France, nationalistic zealots eager to serve her. Opposing France's new model zealots, the old European powers reached once more for their armies composed of unreliable mercenaries, who hoped to not die and get paid...

So what about The Colossus? Is it the implacable new France, from Spaniard Goya's perspective, callously stomping out traditional rural life? The revolutionaries in Paris went on prolonged massacres through parts of rural France, de-christianizing, as they called it. ['What do you do for a living, sir?' "Who, me? I'm a De-Christianizer."] Or is it the giant force of refute, rebuttal, reaction, Europe rising to meet the French challenge?

I Loved The Gates...

...and was sorry to hear that Jeanne-Claude, Cristo's partner and, I hope not inaccurately, Muse, has died. But Jeez, she looked like somewhere between a witch from Macbeth and a zombie-Margaret Thatcher as drawn by Steve Bell.