All purpose vertically integrated publishing empire for cynicism, hopelessness and misanthropy. Mild nausea is common when using this product. Other symptoms may include, but are not limited to: dizzyness, headache, homicidal rage and yellow discharge. Rarely, users may begin to hear voices urging them to kill. If this occurs, discontinue use and seek psychiatric attention. Do not read when pregnant or nursing; the author thinks that's gross.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


A New TraditionInspired by Jeffrey Rowland, of Overcompensating (see comics here, here, and here, as well as the current frontpage comic (for Thursday, Nov. 27th)) this year the roommate and I created our own turkey-day celebration.

Our holiday differs from the traditional Thanksgiving in two important respects: One: it's actually fun (as opposed to something most people dread), and Two: It doesn't attempt to whitewash one of the world's most successful genocides.

The fact that we have to face as a society is that Thanksgiving, as a holiday, is really fucked up. The core story has been turned into a legendary symbol of peace and tolerance, and is used as an annual ritual, both to assuage white guilt and forcibly bond families together over gluttony. This is a holiday based on excessive eating, on gratuitous travel, and on the fetishization of the family.

Don't misunderstand; I'm not saying everyone who travels to see their families on Thanksgiving is a self-deluded glutton suffering from white guilt. But collectively, it's a fair description. Millions of Americans travel hundreds of millions of miles to see people they don't particularly care for once a year, eat food they don't particularly like, recall a hagiographic version of a long ago historical event of dubious import as a more pleasant symbol of what really happened in the history of this nation, and then go home. As a bonus, they might spend hours on the couch, watching football, or a parade featuring corporate advertisements blown up to the size of a Japanese movie monster.

Some quick historical correction:

--The Pilgrims were a cult with missionary ambitions. Their leaders were also corrupt schemers and cheats.
--Squanto, the friendly Indian guide who conveniently knew English? It's true, he did speak the language... because he had been captured as a slave years before and taken to Europe.
--The friend Indians they settled near? The Wampanoag? They were less friendly and more decimated by plague and unable to resist -- most likely that old friend of the Native American, and ally to white european conquest, Smallpox.

Though, for what it's worth, the Pilgrims did negotiate for their land, and apparently, according to the History Channel, they did have a celebratory meal. So, there you go. One good day in the history of the conquest of North America.

Hence, Thankstaking, a new, inclusive holiday, with new traditions drawn from a healthy fear and respect for Whitey, plus the desire to have actual fun.

Thankstaking Day Celebration
First, Thankstaking is held the day before Thanksgiving. This is to throw Whitey off the scent, so that, if he does find out about your gathering, he will show up too late to steal it. (Future Thankstakings may have to be rotated to different days on or around Thanksgiving -- Whitey is crafty and may figure out the deception eventually.)

For Thankstaking, you only invite people you actually want to spend time with. There is no obligation to spend all day hanging out with your crazy bible-thumping relatives.

Thankstaking day is casual dress. You don't have to wear that itchy sweater that your Grandmother gave you last year, just to keep the peace. Thankstaking day is a low-stress holiday.

On Thankstaking, you may prepare a turkey meal, or any other sort of food you wish, but gluttony is right out. Make a comfortable amount of food for the people you wish to serve; the idea that you have to cook an enormous bird so that you can have two weeks of unhygienic leftovers sitting in the fridge? Leave that to Whitey.

Thankstaking is a secular holiday. No need to worry about saying grace, or finding a common religious ground to organize the meal around. This is about having fun, not starting interfaith warfare. (We can invent another holiday for that)

Finally, Thankstaking entertainment. Skip the football, the parades, the boring, hypercommercial stuff. Instead, for Thankstaking, select the movie in your library that contains the most dead Whitey. Our selection this year was Zach Snyder's Dawn of the Dead (unrated director's cut too, extra gory). Bonus with this film: Whitey die of a horrible plague.

Extra bonus for me: It takes place largely in Wisconsin.

This is merely a suggested movie, there are a number of good choices. The important thing is, for one day at least, let some fictional Whitey receive their karmic just desserts, in a friendly atmosphere that everyone can enjoy.

Now you know how to celebrate Thankstaking. Enjoy!

(PS: I know I shouldn't use wikipedia so much, but this information is already common knowledge, and I read most of it already in a hardcopy of National Geographic that I still have lying around somewhere. In future I will work harder to avoid The Wiki Cult)

Time Keeps Slipping

OopsI meant to start daily posting at the start of the month, again, but things kept getting in the way. I suppose if I really intend to use this space for writing I need to make a rule that I put up at least one post a day.

So that's going to be the plan. I'm putting this down in writing to try and shame myself into actually doing it from now on.

Heh. Guilt trip.