Why I Hate Thanksgiving

President Bush pardons the Thanksgiving turkey in the Rose Garden.

What’s your take on Thanksgiving, American disinfonauts? Do you love all that overeating and American Football on TV, not to mention time spent with family? Mitchel Cohen (writer, activist, poet, former chair WBAI-FM Local Board (2008-2012), Brooklyn Greens, Red Balloon Collective, rabble rouser) isn’t buying into the wholesome American holiday and he explains exactly why not at his blog:

On Thanksgiving morning 2003, George W. Bush showed up in Iraq before sunrise for a photo-op, wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers. He cradled a platter with what appeared to be a golden-brown turkey. Washington Post reporter Mike Allen wrote that “the bird looks perfect, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.”


As the world was soon to learn (but quickly forgot), the turkey platter was a phony, a plastic decoration that Bush posed with for the cameras. Bush shook a few hands, said a few “God Bless Americas,” and scurried back to his plane as quickly as he had arrived.

Thus, in one fell swoop, the new Conquistador had tied to history’s bloody bough the 511-year-old conquest of the “New World” — whose legions smote the indigenous population in the name of Christ — with the U.S. government’s bombardment and invasion of Iraq and the torture-detentions of prisoners of war at U.S. military bases.

Under the presidencies of Bush 1, Clinton, Bush Jr. and now Obama, U.S. policy blanketed the Iraqi and Afghan landscapes with so-called “depleted” uranium armaments and poisoned the agriculture and water supply for the next several billion years.

As I wrote in the first reprinting of this pamphlet in 2004, U.S. troops at the time were blasting their way through the town of Fallujah, and hundreds of dead civilians lay in the streets everywhere. The military called them “corpses” and “collateral damage” — and so too did the corporate media. U.S. and British journalists fled the carnage and returned only as “embeds” — reporters planted in the safety of large army squadrons. They embellished slightly on military press releases and faxed their reports to their editors as “eyewitness news”. It was mainly through the photos taken by Arab journalists and independent media that we learned of the actual horror, of the children’s bodies lying in the street alongside the tanks as American soldiers surveyed the scene.

The NY Post ran a picture of one of those soldiers and captioned him the “Marlboro Man,” the generic embodiment of what it means to be a “man,” rugged, oil-smeared face dragging on a U.S. cigarette. It’s not the individual grunt’s fault that the corporate media needs to invent its heroes in such caricatures, but forgive me if I look elsewhere — perhaps to the Zapatistas and to the huge mass-movement sweeping Mexico, to the hundreds of military resisters in Israel as well as the U.S., to the immigrants rounded up for simply existing, to the Wall Street Occupyers and to political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier and Chelsea Manning for reclaiming what it means to be human in an era of robots and banksters.

Comedian Jon Stewart put the same issue thusly:

“The danger of oppression is not just being oppressed, it’s becoming an oppressor. Because that will deteriorate a society as quickly as being oppressed. And that’s a real danger.”

But for the U.S. corporate media, the policies of Israel are sacrosanct (let alone acceptance of that country’s existence — or any country’s existence — as a religious state. It rarely questions the huge wall the Israeli colonists have built — basically, a concentration camp — around and through Palestine, paid for by U.S. tax dollars. The Palestinians are to Israel what the Pequot are to the U.S.

The mindset that created the first Thanksgiving in the 17th century on the bodies of murdered Pequot Indians runs through the same veins today four centuries later, over the corpses of murdered Vietnamese, Salvadorans, Chileans, Somalians, South Africans, Iraqis, Afghanis, and Palestinians…

[continues at Mitchel Cohen’s blog]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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18 Comments on "Why I Hate Thanksgiving"

  1. I couldn’t agree more! When I think “Thanksgiving” I think of what was done to native Americans. It ends there for me.

    • kowalityjesus | Nov 27, 2014 at 11:04 pm |

      That’s like saying “when I think of the the Iriquois harvest festivals, I think of what happened to the peaceful Michilimackinac tribes that preceded them.”

      You have to realize that whatever was done to an indigenous people by a more technologically advantaged people, was something that was most probably to have been done reciprocally were the shoe to have been on the other foot. Not that I condone the 19th century policy of one-sided war and eye-for-an-eye attitude, but I say stop whining.

      • terrasodium | Nov 28, 2014 at 8:29 am |

        that’s like saying “I’m uncomfortable with the conversation ,this is ancient history so stop talking, it upsets my digestion” . Shop On Murica

        • kowalityjesus | Nov 29, 2014 at 7:41 am |

          not really, it’s saying “you’re possessing a double standard so recognize it and don’t git yer britches in a bundle”

  2. Ignatius J. Reilly | Nov 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm |

    Meh, whatever. I have no use for any U.S. spectator sports, I am mostly vegetarian these days, have no desire to either over eat or get drunk . . .
    Had at least three different invites for TG dinner. Could not be arsed to battle traffic or deal with a bunch of people.
    Just another lovely day in SoCal. Went for a nice long bike ride along the beach.

  3. There’s a difference between the holidays and the narratives that the dominant culture uses to co-opt them. Harvest festivals are common in many cultures throughout time. The same is true of the winter solstice (Christmas). These observances exist independently of how they happen to be celebrated by most people in our particular time and place.

    If other people want to use the holidays as a platform for imperialist myth-making or religious hegemony, why should we let that ruin it for the rest of us? The social elites are always going to try and take anything we hold sacred and somehow make it about them…why give them that?

    Celebrate in your own way. Be subversive. Start your own traditions.

    • Thank you. A holiday isn’t so easily defined by whatever spin govt or religion puts on it in any given generation. To me, the thanksgiving meaning has always been about hospitality and kindness, because we’re all strangers in a strange land, eking by on what we can.

  4. terrasodium | Nov 27, 2014 at 5:31 pm |

    transgenetically modified veggies and pharmed meat with a high fructose corn syrup dessert, supplied to you by your technologically superior owners, and all watched over by machines of loving grace, welcome to the reservation America.

  5. BuzzCoastin | Nov 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm |

    what’s a better way to celebrate
    the invasion, subjugation and genocidal slaughter
    that made aMerka what it is
    than with football, booze and a gmo turkey

  6. Some dispute?:

    ‘Media feasting on Bush ‘fake’ turkey claim; false story still repeated 10 years on’

    ~ http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/27/media-still-feasting-on-bush-fake-turkey-claim/?page=all

  7. Mmmmmmm, that Turkey looks yummy!

  8. kowalityjesus | Nov 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm |

    I don’t at all agree with the wars of aggression the US has engaged in during the last 15 years, but can we at least agree that uranium, especially in its depleted form, poses no radioactive threat. Uranium is very, very minutely radioactive. Uranium TOXICITY can pose a threat, and since a DU bullet ignites on impact, bioaccumulation from inhalation can certainly be a problem. However, if you are within inhalation range of DU bullets, I imagine bioaccumulation is one of the last things you are worrying about.

    But stop this nonsense: “poisoned the agriculture and water supply for the next several billion years.” Not advocating war, no sir-ee, just would like to stop the ignorance.

    • Hmm. Sounds like SOMEONE isn’t having a very happy Thanksgiving…

      • kowalityjesus | Nov 28, 2014 at 12:31 am |

        If you’re implying that I am not having a happy thanksgiving as opposed to the limited, simple happiness of the ignoramus that wrote this, you are wrong. I had a fan-fuckin-tastic Thanksgiving, thank you! I wish the same to you! Remember kids, when something is radioactive for a billion years, it means it’s hardly radioactive at all. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle, G I JOE!!!!

  9. Rick Casey | Nov 28, 2014 at 10:21 am |

    Historian Jeremy Bangs takes down the perennial “T-day celebrates genocide” meme (as well as the liberatarian” T-day celebrates capitalism” meme) http://www.sail1620.org/Articles/thanksgiving-on-the-net-roast-bull-with-cranberry-sauce

  10. Less well known is the hidden truth of thanksgiving…when humble Puritans found themselves starving on the shores of a new continent, with game scarcer than they had imagined…


    17 feet tall and weighing more than a ton, the fearful bird beast had scavenged and devoured all prey and fodder for miles in any direction. It took the combined efforts of local indigenous tribes and poorly armed travelers from another land to bring the hateful creature down at last! To this day we celebrate the defeat of Turklor by savaging and wolfing down his lesser kin.

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