This day during which we are supposed to be giving thanks to someone, or something, or some unit that measures our value as part of a whole, what is the percentage that I singularly constitute?
Is the value measured for what I give to others for whom I am thankful or should I be expecting the thanks of others for the value of which I confer upon them?
Why are we celebrating?
Historically the event for which we (supposedly) are to recognize as "Thanksgiving" was a 1621 political meeting between Plymouth Colony Pilgrims and Native Americans, the Wampanoag. Women were not participating but rather charged with the cooking and serving of the meal. The foods consumed as "traditional" Thanksgiving fare are only traditional in so far as they hark back to the propaganda of early mass-marketing of themed cookbooks for the creative and competitive homemaker who couldn't possibly seem out of date, behind the times, or ignorant to the new vogue. Most of the commercialized tradition of Thanksgiving is sold to us as a concept easy to repeat (reselling through advertising yearly on the success of previous campaigns) even though it is not history.
A fabricated history is the history of how we buy and sell each other one winner's ideas of what we should be as a people, let alone a person. Ideology made material plus shipping and handling. Who expected the Industrial Revolution to ring in the New You, Call Now! Who expected - But Wait, There's More!
The cornucopia of harvest on the table would not have had, for the Pilgrims and their Native guests, marshmallow-topped candied yams, mashed potatoes in pools of gravy and butter, creamed sweet corn, cheesy creamed spinach, sweet condensed cranberries, stuffing made with sausages, apple pie, apple cobbler, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, a la mode with your favorite gelato, coffee and espresso, cream or sugar, pumpkin ale, that vintage wine, bourbon in your cider, seltzer.
The original dinner featured wildfowl bird (including turkey but also likely pigeon, goose, duck), corn (multi-colored "Indian," as bread or porridge), and venison. Additionally enjoyed were probably eel, lobster, clams, mussels, smoked fish. The Wampanoag knew to harvest chestnuts, walnuts, beechnuts, beans, pumpkins and squashes. No butter, no cranberries, no wheat flour.
The esteemed traditions are held so rigidly today in their bizarre specificities that anything different is considered radical and exotic and unpatriotic. Thanksgiving was an Americana marketing pitch to President Lincoln by the powerfully influential ladies'-journal editor Sarah Josepha Hale. As someone who knew how to successfully dictate the shoulds and woulds of the inner mechanics of nineteenth-century homes, Hale campaigned - like the President's own Secretary of Homemaker Defense - that creating such a national holiday would be a wise move for strengthening the morale of unification during the Civil War. The holiday was made official in 1863, by which point women were all ready to deck their tables with the same dishes for the feast, thanks to Hale's proactive publishing of recipes knowingly leading up to Lincoln's consecration.
Thanksgiving or political maneuver for personal profit?
The holiday's very history is one of propaganda: If you do this, we will win them.
Who is giving thanks to whom?
I feel unwell. I have not eaten all day on this day of excess and overindulgence; I don't work on my projects; I don't keep up my correspondences. A shower does not wake me nor stir me, but at least I am clean sliding half-conscious into someone else's sheets for the night. I am here, I am giving, thank you for this bed.