We’ve reached that inevitable point in the middle of the summer months that dooms all bloggers. That is, the stretch of time where there is just nothing to write about. No movie or sports news—we are still waiting for a little bit of both. Because of that, I thought it was about time to finally set pen to paper on an idea I have had for a new television show, one that would combine history with the single item we can all find common ground on: food! There are an endless amount of documentaries on all time periods in history (though that number has been shrinking in recent years due to a mass-encroachment from mindless “reality”-based shows), but how many of them ever take the time to go into detail on the food consumed in whatever particular time period they are focusing on? The only one that comes to mind is one of my favorites, The Naked Archaeologist, hosted by Simcha Jacobovici, which I love for its simplistic, down-to-earth approach to archaeology, making it fun, interesting, and easy to learn for everyone. The reason why the show is titled as such is because he peels back the layers, so to speak, making the archaeology “naked”. Many times his shows will include little tidbits on food and lifestyles, which I always found fascinating. I think it is a topic that could do very well as a show of its own, because if there is one thing that can humanize a group of people who have been dead for hundreds or thousands of years, it would be details about, and demonstrations of how to cook the food they ate.
To all my readers, who I am very thankful for, I would like to wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings! This has been a heck of a year, and I’m sure all of us can appreciate finally having a day off to spend relaxing [and eating] with friends and family. Let’s hope for no family arguments or oven catastrophes this year, eh? As always, I would also like to share this link with you, which is an excerpt from a book written by American Indian activist Russell Means, called Where White Men Fear to Tread, which tells a Thanksgiving story that you may have never heard before. I am not going to villainize the pilgrims now as I have in years past, but I just want to show that there are two sides to every story.
In about a week, we will celebrating everyone’s favorite day of encouraged gluttony: Thanksgiving! This was long the holiday that could not be commercialized, because nothing could be bought except food, and the activities for the day include eating, spending time with family and friends, and perhaps watching some football. In recent years, though, the actual day of Thanksgiving has been pushed aside, as merely the precursor to a day of insanity and lunacy, which is shopping on Black Friday. Sure, it used to be charming; waking up early and going to hunt bargains, but now, it has become madness, which has seen people literally being trampled to death in stores by nut jobs with shopping carts. This is yet another great day of traditions being destroyed in this country, in the name of the almighty dollar, and there is really nothing we can do to stop it. As I always say, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying”, so I offer up this poem to you in order to help celebrate these two great days of destruction. I hope you enjoy!
‘Twas the day after Thanksgiving, it has come at last
The memories of yesterday’s feast, they are all in the past
Getting up at midnight to do your shopping
The blood vessels in your eyes are sure to be popping
The turkey you ate, it has not even been digested
And you know hundreds of morons will soon be arrested
Rush your family out of the house, you need to get your rest
Will you become immersed in Black Friday madness, the ultimate test?
Who really cares about Thanksgiving, it’s just an ordinary day
The pilgrims who we celebrate, they were murderers anyway
So come on, get your wallet, and fill it with cash
5 a.m shopping at Wal-Mart is going to be a bash!
When you cannot buy your favorite items, you are filled with sorrow
You’re too dumb to realize, they’ll be there tomorrow
You lash out at the cashier, you attack your loved ones
A barbarian you look like, even to Attila and his Huns
Running through the store you go, a maniac with a cart
Like a killer you pounce, with a black hole for a heart
In the sporting goods section, someone was strangled with a fishing net
Hey, it beats getting run over by a shopping cart in Target
Every store offers such great discounts
In hospitals and trauma centers, the number of wounded amounts
People just don’t understand, this is the American way
Destroy all that you want, just make sure that you pay
The stores open so early, they call it “Moonlight Madness”
The crazed psycho shoppers fill me with sadness
Trampled to death someone will be
As they always are, by a 400 pound woman who has a bum knee
When you get to the checkout line, you realize the store told a lie
Remember when you came through the turnstiles wondering if you were going to die?
But you don’t care, you got what you came for
Just make sure to get dad’s gift at the discount liquor store
The Macy’s Parade, you had watched it the day before
When all you wanted to do was shop, my, what a bore!
You come home late at night, and watch the news reports of all the shoppers that died
But you got your child the latest toy, and are more than satisfied
Pretty soon, it will be the Christmas season
We have to call it the “Holidays”, for a non-offensive reason
A month later, the stockings will be hung by the chimney with care
As I hope the apocalypse soon will be there
All kidding aside, I truly hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, one spent with your closest family and friends. Remember, as tempted as you may be to go out shopping at ungodly hours the next day, or even that night, remember there are more important things in life than hunting that great bargain.
Last night as I was watching a History Channel special titled, The Real Story of Christmas, and saw how the holiday changed over the years (mostly negatively), I began to wonder about some of America’s oldest traditions in storytelling, such as Santa Claus and Frostie the Snowman. Being the cynical person that I am, always quick to point out how easily people overreact to the smallest matter, and in today’s world, where everything we create and advertise is driven by political correctness, I pointed out that a lot of the famous pictures of Santa that we recognize today consisted of him smoking a pipe (Pall Mall cigarettes even went so far as to use the jolly old elf to market their brand in the 1920′s) and of course, you cannot complete the Frostie the Snowman rhyme without saying, “…with a corncob pipe and a button nose.”
So there we had two staples of Christmastime promoting tobacco use. I thought it was pretty funny and was almost amazed that the lyrics of Frostie had not yet been changed because the youth of America may see his pipe as a sign that it is okay for them to smoke, thus creating an entire generation of little children addicted to pipe tobacco. As for Santa’s pipe, cartoons drawn of him today seem to omit the tool that he always use to light up after he sat down from a long, tiring journey of spanning the world to drop presents off to little children.
Political correctness has gone way too far in this country, and to write about that would require enough space fitting of a doctorate thesis, but I just hate the fact that everything is “Happy Holidays” now. You can’t say the word Christmas, or even Hanukkah or Kwanzaa for that matter, because you may offend someone who does not celebrate that holiday. Where this mentality came from, I have no idea. I’ve said “Merry Christmas” to Jewish people, and maybe you’ll be surprised to find out that they did not punch me in the face for doing so. Furthermore, Jewish people have said “Happy Hanukkah” to me, and that just gets me so angry that I want to say it in return to them.
Nevertheless, last night I decided to post on Facebook what I was thinking about Frostie: “How long before politically correct America lambasts Frostie the Snowman for having a corncob pipe, because it promotes tobacco use in children?”
I expected a few laughs, but nowhere near the twenty comments this simple status received. It was hilarious what people wanted to change about Frostie in order to fit him into today’s society. I enjoyed what my friends had to say so much, that I doctored up this Photoshop to get the idea across at how silly being politically correct is.
Warning: If you are allergic to snow, do not click to enlarge. I can’t afford to have a lawsuit from the ACLU on my hands.
Isn’t this world we live in today great? I would like to know where it all started to go downhill for the
Christmas Holiday season. Watching that documentary last night, and seeing clips of people’s home movies of Christmas morning from the 1950′s and 60′s almost made me sad, because life (and the toys children were receiving) were so much more simple back then, and everyone made due with what they had, and had a lot of fun doing so as well. Today, I look at children and see mostly spoiled brats, who don’t deserve nearly a quarter of what expensive, electronic gifts they receive. So I’ll propose the question to you again, and feel free to leave a comment or send me an email: Just where did it all go wrong?
This is Volume 1 of what I hope will be an ongoing series. As more ideas arise, I will jot them down. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please send them to me. One more thing: lost in all of this was how much I thoroughly enjoyed watching that History Channel special. Hats off to them, because for the first time since the late 1990′s, they have redone all of their holiday shows, including ones on the origins of Halloween and Thanksgiving. The old ones, hosted by Harry Smith, were excellent, and I have them saved on DVD, but for a general history lesson, these new one needed to be made. I highly recommend giving it a view.
I would like to wish all of my readers a very happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully everyone will have a great day, see their loved ones, and enjoy great food. But I also want to make note of the fact that American Indians treat this day as a Day of Mourning for their people, since the arrival of the pilgrims, who we now celebrate, signified the beginning of the end of their culture, as within three hundred years, virtually the entire native population was killed off, forced to live on reservations, or assimilated into “normal” American culture.
Let us give thanks to what we hold dear to us, but also, to never forget the history of such a day. For additional reading, please check out this excerpt from Where White Men Fear to Tread, by Russell Means.