Author Topic: Thanksgiving 'myth'?  (Read 882 times)

peter_speckhard

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2021, 09:20:39 AM »
I think I posted this last year for Thanksgiving but it didn't turn up in my keyword search, so here it is again. It is in two parts for length.

When we picture the classic, stereotypical Thanksgiving scene, what are we picturing? The glow of candles, the golden turkey, the large table laid out with the feast, the family gathered in their Sunday best on a Thursday, perhaps with a “kids’ table” in the background—it has always been more of a Norman Rockwell-esque idea than a reality for any particular family. The real pictures of what is going on in tens of millions of homes around the country on Thanksgiving Day would show tens of millions of distinct, unique variations on that theme. They would have a certain, central aspiration in common, as well as a few details, perhaps, like pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce. If there be such a thing as the best of American culture, Thanksgiving gives it a concrete shape.

Thanksgiving is aspirational. Some years the turkey gets ruined, or the flight gets cancelled, or everyone has the flu. And a few people might serve ravioli or roast beef instead. Many people don’t have a large family to gather around the proverbial board, or even a formal dining room table to gather around, much less any gaggle of young cousins to fill out a kids’ table. Many places lack a horn of plenty tastefully overflowing as the centerpiece. In fact, in my personal experience, everyplace lacks such a cornucopia; such things exist only in catalogs and postcards as some sort of platonic ideal of the holiday. Every actual Thanksgiving meal falls short of the aspiration in some way or another, but that is what makes every unique attempt important. Not everybody succeeds in manifesting every aspect of the vision, but everybody sees it as worth trying again and again. The millions of yearly attempts give us a pretty clear picture of a cultural aspiration even as the details differ from place to place.

What are the ingredients of the aspiration itself? What are all we millions of households shooting for each year? What are the particular flavors of the ideal, archetypal Thanksgiving? Set aside your personal reality for moment—what goes into the postcard version of Thanksgiving? What is Thanksgiving supposed to be like? How is Thanksgiving in the abstract a picture of American aspirations?

First, there is more than a dash of religion to the thing. Gratitude transcends any particular church, religion, or conception of God, but every religion must somehow give outlet to gratitude, which is something that mankind can’t help but sense we owe to something higher. Americans are a particularly religious people, as this quintessentially American holiday shows. We have no official, national church or religion, but culturally we are religious in general, and Thanksgiving gives shape to that fact. Families that don’t “say grace” at any other meal of the year instinctively sense that some such ceremonial act befits Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving has an object, even if that object is different in every house. The gratitude goes somewhere.

Another prime ingredient of the holiday, more important even than turkey, is the idea of family. The giant harvest table in the postcards stands ready to be surrounded by people who are related to each other. They fulfill archetypal roles like grandma and grandpa, crazy uncle and widowed great aunt, baby in a high chair and even dog begging for scraps. This family focus is true of nearly every traditional culture of any ethnicity, and America at Thanksgiving simply combines them into one amalgamated celebration of kinship. You have a place at the table where you belong, and it is among your relatives. Many people don’t have much kin, of course, or live too far from them to make get-togethers feasible, but everyone makes do as best they can. The realities vary, but the vision of Thanksgiving is a vision of family.
 
The meal aspires to show forth the very best. Not paper plates, but the best tableware, the stuff reserved for company, the heirloom china that makes an appearance only a few times a year. Crystal wine glasses, even if it is fake crystal holding fake wine. Candles. The cynical teenagers in the crowd will complain that dressing up is hypocritical. They’ll say they’d rather be “real” and comfortable than phony and presentable. But that is the whole point of aspirational things. We can’t always look our best, but at least there is such a thing as looking our best. We are capable of it. The house can’t always be decked out like a showcase home. But doing it one time a year shows that it can be done. Dirt may be normal for us, but we are capable of cleanliness. The clutter may be almost insurmountable. But it is not totally insurmountable, because once a year we conquer it. We can’t always eat like kings, but we demand to be people who can say we know what it is like to eat like kings. Once a year may be enough, but we ought not be completely ignorant of feasting. The house itself has its own Sunday best to surround the holiday feasts. For this reason, it is important that the feast take place in the same house that gets lived in normally all year. It is the same house transformed by the holiday. The kids in a studio portrait might look better than they normally look, but they ought to be the same kids, not photogenic stunt doubles. Same with the house on Thanksgiving. It is the dumpy, messy, regular house presented at its best. That’s how aspirational things work.
 
Aspirational Thanksgiving nearly always features a strong element of tradition. Not just delicious food, but old family recipes are best. Not just fancy tableware, but heirloom tableware if possible. The platonic ideal of Thanksgiving is a multi-generational event. The picture of this Thanksgiving feast carries with it the blurry memory of Thanksgiving feasts from long ago, before the children were born or some of the oldsters died. Everything that happens glows with the ceremonial gravitas of something that has always been done. Carving the turkey, offering a particular toast, lighting the candles in a centerpiece, whatever it is, we have to be able to compare this year to years past. Changes and innovations grow gradually. One new thing this year becomes the way it has always been at Thanksgiving as the children grow older year by year.

Traditional roles are also allowed to make a temporary comeback at Thanksgiving. Moms who rarely cook may become queen of the kitchen without offending their liberated sensibilities. Dads who need instructions to handle a carving knife nevertheless have permission to play the role of pater familias in the proverbial Rockwell portrait of Thanksgiving. It is okay for men to feel manly and okay for women to feel womanly on Thanksgiving. The throwback, old school, traditional feel of the event confers such permissions. The house so bedecked speaks well of the homemaker, and the feast itself heaps praise on the breadwinner. The real thing may not match the model, but Thanksgiving keeps alive the memory and glory of those distinct roles in a world that has blurred them almost entirely. 
 
Thanksgiving also echoes with farm life, rural scenery, and connection to the land. At root, after all, it is a harvest festival. Few people live on farms today, but most people have ancestors somewhere in the family tree who lived on farms. Thanksgiving somehow hearkens back to that kind of life with connection to the seasons of sowing and reaping. Postcard holiday meals happen disproportionately in farmhouses and old fashioned small towns in which even non-farmers have strong cultural connections to an agrarian, outdoorsy way of life, usually New Englandy, but sometimes Midwestern or Southern. No matter how many generations of suburban life have intervened, something about Thanksgiving just feels inseparable from the land and hunting wild game in a place with agrarian roots.

Thanksgiving as a national holiday is especially aspirational about America, American history, and American stories. Catholics, Lutherans, even proud atheists and hedonists can have a whiff of Puritan in them at Thanksgiving. The story of the first pilgrims and the natives are part of America’s ideals no matter how or why one’s ancestors came to America. The holiday is about the best of who we are and where we came from. There is a worst, to be sure. Plenty of it. But this day celebrates the best.

Modern detractors miss this crucial point. They think the gauzy, feel-good story is merely propaganda, an attempt to gloss over or hide the bloody realities of American history. But that is the same as the cynical teenager’s complaint that the nice clothes and table-setting are phony because the reality is usually much different. The pilgrims sitting down with the natives and sharing a feast in gratitude to Providence inspires the ongoing story of America. There is time to acknowledge the hideous things; let there also be a time to focus on the good, and let that time be formative. That’s what Thanksgiving gives us. Religious people, people from big, loving families of any ethnicity, traditional people, farmers and rural people, and people who love America for what it is in their hearts despite the flaws—these all sense that somehow Thanksgiving puts it all together to form a mental picture of a cohesive cultural aspiration that is truly glorious and worthy of celebration.

Culturally unifying things are tough to come by in a country like the United States. We’re a nation of immigrants, of various indigenous people and a crush of people from around the globe. Even the flag and the national anthem have become divisive. But Thanksgiving remains as something distinctly American that we have in common. So it matters that people celebrate it at least in some ways according to the pattern. It isn’t just great to have turkey and stuffing. It is great to have turkey and stuffing on a day when practically everyone else is also having turkey and stuffing. Finally, something we have in common. Even people who do variations on the theme by serving tofu burgers or lamb chops recognize the traditional turkey meal with all the trappings as the theme they’re doing a variation on.  At least they used to.

For several years now, Thanksgiving dinner has been a source of controversy. An annual barrage of articles offers advice about surviving the ordeal of Thanksgiving dinner. Until last year I considered such articles to be complaints about the disconnect between the ideal and real. The turkey wasn’t hunted, it was factory-farmed. The crazy uncle wasn’t a beloved old man but a somewhat creepy and obnoxious boor. The family togetherness was faked by people who spoke ill of each other the rest of the year. More alcohol was consumed than the church ladies were ever going to know about. I considered these articles the collective voice of the teenagers objecting to church clothes. It would be one thing if it were enjoyable or if it represented reality, but it isn’t enjoyable and we should own up to the reality rather than pretending.

The main objection in these articles has tended to revolve around the political—how could one deal with relatives who actually supported Trump? It was as though differing views on Trump were not a political difference but a religious difference. These writers being asked to attend Thanksgiving with their yokel MAGA relatives back home seem to feel like observant Jews being expected to celebrate Christmas. They treat it as a moral, even spiritual imposition. But last year I concluded that the annual spate of articles objecting to Thanksgiving dinner were not really just about Trump and politics. They are really objections to the ideal, not the reality, of a traditional Thanksgiving. It is the mental picture these anti-Thanksgiving writers perceive and reject, not the particulars of any actual Thanksgiving dinner, theirs or anyone else’s. Trump just gave them a handy thing to put their finger on and give a name to their formless larger objections. I think they would probably have issues with the holiday regardless of who might be president. The ingredients of the national holiday are mostly bourgeoisie ingredients. They glorify and idealize bourgeoisie values. The annual opinion writers’ problem is not the dinner they’re actually going home to. The problem is the Rockwell-esque, archetypal picture the dinner aspires to be.
   




peter_speckhard

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2021, 09:21:19 AM »
Last post continued

I used to think there was just a perennial complaint about Thanksgiving. Now I think there is really a counter-ideal to it. Thanksgiving has competition. I saw it embodied perfectly last year in a picture. Well, a tweet actually, that contained a picture and a caption. The photo struck me immediately and profoundly with the impression that I as looking at an archetype. The people and setting seemed to represent something larger and abstract, a whole culture captured in a snapshot. They embodied the fulfillment of a competing set of ideals and aspirations with a kind of holiday of their own, every bit as concrete as a family gathered around a golden turkey embodies Thanksgiving. Here was what those who don’t aspire to the mental picture of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner actually do aspire to. The sort of people who deal in “how to survive Thanksgiving at home” articles and conversations might look at this picture and think, “There! That’s it! That’s picture I’m shooting for. That’s the cultural life I want. That is the fullness of what my own attempts amount to a hopeful shadow of or variation on.” It could function as the Normal Rockwell painting of a holiday for people who don’t like Thanksgiving and probably can’t stand Norman Rockwell paintings. It takes all the ingredients of dissatisfaction with traditional Thanksgiving and puts them together into a cohesive, cultural expression of a different culture.

The now famous picture shows five youngish professionals, three women and two men, happily enjoying drinks and appetizers in a nice restaurant decorated for the holidays. The caption reads, “Merry Impeachmas from the WaPo team!” I want to stress that I know nothing about the people in the photo. They might all be traditional conservative Christians with lots of children at home for all I know. I’m not really even interested in them as individuals, I’m interested in how the picture itself struck me as something many people who don’t like Thanksgiving could see as aspirational, something that combines various social ingredients into a cohesive cultural expression. The Seinfeld sitcom gave us the joke holiday Festivus as an alternative to Christmas and Hannukah, with the crazy Kramer character embracing it as “A Festivus for the rest of us.” I think this Impeachmas photo could strike certain people the same way. We don’t want Thanksgiving. We want this instead. Considering the picture as an archetypal ideal, what are the key ingredients of the scene and how do they compare to Thanksgiving? 

The religious element of this scene, such as it is, is one of playful irreverence. “Merry Impeachmas” as a joke greeting among progressives has been around for several years, ever since some congressman said in Trump’s first year in office that he would be impeached before Christmas. The WaPo team would not likely tweet out Merry Christmas even on Christmas, and one does not get the impression these people likely said grace before the picture was taken. But the faux holiday greeting unconsciously captures the spirit of this replacement celebration. In this picture, political significance has replaced religious significance, and the news of the day has replaced anything timeless. It would have to be WaPo or the NYT for full effect, the flagship newspapers of the only cities that could make plausible claim to be where the most important people live. The picture is of a fun holiday gathering of cool people who are successful at important, insider-type work, and the greeting befits those who consider politics to be as close to holy as life in this world gets.
 
The kinship element of Thanksgiving has been completely replaced in this picture by the team of colleagues relaxing after a day of important, newsworthy work. There is no kids’ table in this picture, nor are there any sleepy old people. Certainly there are no gender roles. The sexes are interchangeable. The matriarch has been eradicated altogether. This is a breadwinners-only club. Importantly, the scene is set in a restaurant, not a home. In this scene the people don’t decorate, cook, or clean up. They’re going to pay to have those things done for them. Homemaking, like child-rearing, simply isn’t part of the aspirational vision. There is nothing domestic about the scene, not even a dog begging for scraps. The culture this holiday expresses has little if anything to do with hearth and home. 
 
As absent as the hearth is the family tree. The multiple generations of Thanksgiving have been compressed by lopping off the ends. No ancestors or descendants here. The people in this scene are all roughly the same age, or at least of the same generation. They are not newbies, but they’re young enough to be ascending the career ladder, more at home among college students than among retirees. The picture expresses no filial piety toward some old man, or mandatory patience for some pouty preteen. It depicts no excited little girls wanting to hold the baby. There are no heirlooms on the table or old family recipes on the menu.

Casual, trendy and upscale in this picture replace the formal, traditional and “down home” flavor of Thanksgiving. The picture wouldn’t work if the restaurant were a common diner like Denny’s where anybody might hang out. Not a stuffy, formal place with a maître d in a tuxedo, either. It has to be someplace where cool people who are also important and have money to spend might go to celebrate.

The scene is of an interior. Nothing in it betrays anything geographical. The caption, of course, sort of gives it away that it must be near Washington D.C., but nothing in the picture itself gives it away. It could have been taken in Oshkosh, Wisconsin or Macon, Georgia for all the viewer knows. But no… no it couldn’t have. Literally, maybe it could have, but not according to the ideal. The archetype requires not only be a trendy restaurant but a trendy city surrounding it. Where Thanksgiving has an unmistakably rural flavor, the WaPo picture is distinctly urban. You can tell just by looking at it. If these people aren’t urban dwellers, they certainly wish they were. And not just any city, but a city (usually New York, but also D.C., San Francisco, or Seattle) where kids who dream of “getting out” dream of going. So, not Indianapolis or Cincinnati. Someplace hip.
   
Where Thanksgiving has a generally conservative flavor, Impeachmas is unapologetically progressive. The Washington Post tried to apologize for the appearance of partisan bias in the tweet by saying the caption expressed no opinion either way on the impeachment itself, it was just that impeachment was what was on the mind of these reporters unwinding after a long day of covering it during the holiday season. But nobody of any political persuasion believed that explanation. The archetype wouldn’t work if had been the impeachment of Bill Clinton they’d been working on. Progressivism might not be officially mandatory, but Impeachmas is as politically progressive as Thanksgiving is autumnal.
   
Obviously, there can be a time and a place for everything. One can celebrate with colleagues in one way and with relatives in another. There is no reason someone couldn’t love a traditional Thanksgiving and yet also love the idea expressed in the WaPo picture, too. They are in many ways opposites, sure. Thanksgiving is religious, familial, traditional, conservative and rural where the other is irreligious, political, collegial, trendy, and urban. Even if they are different as night and day, nobody has to hate the one to love the other. Both can be good in their own ways. But they have come to be rivals because they vie to represent the soul of America. How is America culturally expressed? Where Thanksgiving has the Pilgrims, Impeachmas has the 1619 Project. Both are aspirational, but they aspire to mutually-exclusive ideals with contrary tellings of the American story. The two paradigmatic holidays can coexist in America, but they can’t both be the quintessentially American thing. A culture combines various ingredients into one cohesive expression, and we increasingly have two separate cultures in America with less and less in common.

More and more people are losing touch with traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Families are smaller. There aren’t many homemakers left. Few young women aspire to me matriarchs. Fewer dads are willing to be serious for a moment and lead the family in saying grace or offer a genuine toast. People have been career-minded and mobile for a few generations now; fewer people have an ancestral hometown. Life is disconnected from the land and from rural pursuits. Feel-good stories about the history of America have largely been banished. The number of people who don’t bother with a traditional Thanksgiving at all, or who don’t make much of it, or only endure it is probably growing. And the number of people who could look at the photo in the WaPo tweet and see an archetype of what should replace Thanksgiving is probably growing. They all can’t be up-and-coming journalists covering presidential politics, but they can all see that picture as the ideal that their own efforts are a variation on. It embodies their cultural aspirations just as surely as someone cooking a turkey can see the perfect, archetypal Thanksgiving dinner in their mind. 

To me, the test of the holiday is the place it gives to prayer. A cultural expression in which prayer is inappropriate or atypical expresses a hollow culture. The center of meaning is gone. Neither politics, nor youth, nor education, nor work, nor trendiness, nor fun can bear up under the weight of receiving reverence and prayer. Until the people who find Thanksgiving objectionable have a replacement that calls them to pause in reverent prayer, they haven’t found a lasting replacement. When they do, I think they will have found their way like pilgrims back to Thanksgiving.

John_Hannah

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2021, 09:35:57 AM »
The New York Times gives thanks for Midwestern Lutherans today with a major spread on Frankenmuth, Michigan in the Food Section.   An interview with and photo of Dorothy Zehnder, a waitress playing the accordion, explication of the Franken migration and mission to native americans, the chicken dinner, and a recipe for Butterhorns.   Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/23/dining/frankenmuth-restaurants-thanksgiving-dinner.html

Dave Benke

Two of my close friends and classmates married women who grew up in Frankemuth. They were sisters from a farming family and not part of the modern commercial (dining/Christmas ornaments) enterprises. Wonderful people, indeed!

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

peter_speckhard

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2021, 09:39:34 AM »
https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2021/11/on-being-thankful-for-america-at-thanksgiving

RJN's close friend George Weigel writing for First Things about Thanksgiving.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2021, 10:03:29 AM »
I would imagine that giving thanks for America will be seen by some as another example of "American exceptionalism."  I hope not.  We are not perfect. We know that. But there is so much in this country for which we can be thankful.  As a Christian and as a pastor I am thankful especially that I will be able to gather with my people in church to give thanks, free of coercion or restrictions.  I am thankful for my children who have found great opportunities in this country to learn and grow and serve their neighbor. We have much yet to do, and many things remain undone, but we have opportunity.  We have the freedom to serve. 

A blessed thanksgiving to all on the Forum!
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Dave Benke

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2021, 10:17:54 AM »
The New York Times gives thanks for Midwestern Lutherans today with a major spread on Frankenmuth, Michigan in the Food Section.   An interview with and photo of Dorothy Zehnder, a waitress playing the accordion, explication of the Franken migration and mission to native americans, the chicken dinner, and a recipe for Butterhorns.   Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/23/dining/frankenmuth-restaurants-thanksgiving-dinner.html

Dave Benke

Frankenmuth is one of the places I miss about Michigan.  I served in that district for 13 years and on at least one occasion we had a pastor's conference there.  It's a true German-American treasure.  For Michigan it's like visiting Machinac Island.  It should be on the must-go-and-visit-list.  Zehnder's chicken is legendary, but if you visit, especially given this season, you have to check out Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.

Judy and I give thanks early, often and always for Michigan Lutherans, even though our birth home is on the other side of the lake.  During a time of stress in our lives twenty years ago, I was invited multiple, multiple times to speak and receive respite in that fair state.  Many of those opportunities were in and around Frankenmuth.  So one April, I spoke after dinner at a gathering at Zehnder's.  Wally Bronner (+) asked if I'd take a short ride with him, and off we went.  On the way it began (Michigan!) to snow.  And when we stopped and got out, we were at The Silent Night Chapel, which he opened for us.   And it was Christmas in April, right then and there.

Dave Benke

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2021, 11:19:34 AM »
Thoughts from Bp. Curry and Rabbi Braus on Thanksgiving.  Interestingly, from what I heard, no mention of God, to Whom we give thanks, by the religious leaders.  I guess that's a difficulty with all "how to" messages. "Now thank we all our God/with hearts and hands and voices":
https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/peopleandplaces/bishop-and-rabbi-offer-timely-perspective-on-how-to-give-thanks/vi-AAR5nrT?ocid=msedgntp

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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2021, 12:59:41 PM »
As a descendent of Mayflower pilgrims, I thank God for the kindness of the Wampanoag and the alliance they formed with the English. The alliance lasted about 40 years and was mutually beneficial as the Wampanoag were under attack and pressure from tribes further west. Smallpox was spreading among the Wampanoag before the Mayflower arrived. There is nothing wrong with commemorating the positive events or even mentioning them in sermons. Of course much went wrong in English-Native American relations later. But that is true of human history generally (including Native American history). Keep Thanksgiving with the facts straight. If someone wants to add a day of mourning for the sins of the settlers, that would be fine. We already confess national faults in hymns like O Beautiful for Spacious Skies. But don't throw out Thanksgiving, urged by great Americans such as Washington and Lincoln. It's a great holiday.
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Dave Likeness

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2021, 01:16:17 PM »
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation
to thank the Almighty God for the blessings of fruitful fields and their
bounties.  He stated that the last Thursday of November be set aside to
offer praise to our divine Father who dwells in the Heavens.

Bottom Line: He never mentions the Pilgrims/Plymouth Rock, instead
in the middle of a Civil War he asks the nation to thank God for His
bountiful blessings.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2021, 01:27:06 PM »
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation
to thank the Almighty God for the blessings of fruitful fields and their
bounties.  He stated that the last Thursday of November be set aside to
offer praise to our divine Father who dwells in the Heavens.

Bottom Line: He never mentions the Pilgrims/Plymouth Rock, instead
in the middle of a Civil War he asks the nation to thank God for His
bountiful blessings.

Here's a link to Washington's 1789 proclamation, which refers to God's providence before the founding of the nation. This is why folks connected the holiday to the Pilgrims.

https://www.mountvernon.org/education/primary-sources-2/article/thanksgiving-proclamation-of-1789/
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2021, 02:04:16 PM »
As a descendent of Mayflower pilgrims, I thank God for the kindness of the Wampanoag and the alliance they formed with the English. The alliance lasted about 40 years and was mutually beneficial as the Wampanoag were under attack and pressure from tribes further west. Smallpox was spreading among the Wampanoag before the Mayflower arrived. There is nothing wrong with commemorating the positive events or even mentioning them in sermons. Of course much went wrong in English-Native American relations later. But that is true of human history generally (including Native American history). Keep Thanksgiving with the facts straight. If someone wants to add a day of mourning for the sins of the settlers, that would be fine. We already confess national faults in hymns like O Beautiful for Spacious Skies. But don't throw out Thanksgiving, urged by great Americans such as Washington and Lincoln. It's a great holiday.
The native tribes were frequently at war and conquered one another quite apart from anything Europeans were up to. Pilgrims did not bring the idea of violence or tribalism with them to these shores; those things were here already. The accusation that settlers stole land by violence and slaughter can only be made by people who stole it by violence and slaughter themselves. There just isn't any written record of it because they didn't have a written language, at least not one that has been preserved. That's why the big issue among the natives at first was not that new people were here, but whose side they would be on in ongoing wars. Most of the real racial problems came much later and once it became clear that the two culture were too different to assimilate and coexist. 

Violence and slaughter are terrible things. They just aren't distinctly or even particularly white things. They're fallen human things. 

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2021, 02:57:04 PM »
As a descendent of Mayflower pilgrims, I thank God for the kindness of the Wampanoag and the alliance they formed with the English. The alliance lasted about 40 years and was mutually beneficial as the Wampanoag were under attack and pressure from tribes further west. Smallpox was spreading among the Wampanoag before the Mayflower arrived. There is nothing wrong with commemorating the positive events or even mentioning them in sermons. Of course much went wrong in English-Native American relations later. But that is true of human history generally (including Native American history). Keep Thanksgiving with the facts straight. If someone wants to add a day of mourning for the sins of the settlers, that would be fine. We already confess national faults in hymns like O Beautiful for Spacious Skies. But don't throw out Thanksgiving, urged by great Americans such as Washington and Lincoln. It's a great holiday.
The native tribes were frequently at war and conquered one another quite apart from anything Europeans were up to. Pilgrims did not bring the idea of violence or tribalism with them to these shores; those things were here already. The accusation that settlers stole land by violence and slaughter can only be made by people who stole it by violence and slaughter themselves. There just isn't any written record of it because they didn't have a written language, at least not one that has been preserved. That's why the big issue among the natives at first was not that new people were here, but whose side they would be on in ongoing wars. Most of the real racial problems came much later and once it became clear that the two culture were too different to assimilate and coexist. 

Violence and slaughter are terrible things. They just aren't distinctly or even particularly white things. They're fallen human things.

Archaeologists are exploring Native American sites and finding them full of human remains with tomahawk, spear, arrow, and knife wounds reportedly before the arrival of Europeans. No surprise, Native Americans fought and killed one another frequently in tribal/warrior society. Add "noble savage" peace notions to the myth pile.

I've seen this infighting from personal experience. I grew up four miles from the Oneida (Iroquois) Reservation. Had lots of Oneida classmates and played lacrosse with them at the Res. When they started fighting at the Res, the president sent his sons to stay at the Engelbrecht farm in case things got out of hand---and they sometimes did.

Today, the gambling money is empowering Native Americans in new ways so we are likely to hear more about Native American interests going forward, which is fine though I don't care for the gambling.  We are also likely to see more people claiming native heritage to cash in.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2021, 03:26:08 PM »
Elizabeth Warren?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2021, 04:27:01 PM »
Elizabeth Warren?
Yes!  Ask and ye shall receive...Big Poultry!

A press release on her official Senate website:
https://www.warren.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/warren-calls-for-doj-investigation-into-top-poultry-companies-anticompetitive-practices-as-americans-face-record-high-turkey-prices-ahead-of-thanksgiving

Warren Calls for DOJ Investigation into Top Poultry Companies’ Anticompetitive Practices as Americans Face Record-High Turkey Prices Ahead of Thanksgiving
Poultry Companies Have Been Gobbling Up Competitors; Warren Asks if “Consolidation, Price Fixing, Vertical Integration, and Plain-Old Corporate Greed” are Roasting Americans’ Wallets

WASHINGTON, D.C. — United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to Jonathan Kanter, Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division, calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate major poultry companies’ anticompetitive practices that have lined the pockets of executives and shareholders while raising prices for families at the grocery store ahead of Thanksgiving. The price of turkey has increased by 24% over the past year, far outpacing other Thanksgiving foods, while poultry prices soared to all-time highs this year. Poultry is one of the most heavily concentrated industries with the dominant “Big Four” poultry companies — JBS Foods, Tyson, Perdue, and Sanderson — holding a combined 54% of the market. In her letter, Senator Warren called out big poultry companies’ corporate greed and urged the DOJ to investigate schemes to eliminate small competitors while raising prices for consumers, cutting pay for American farmers, and reporting massive profits.

“Lack of competition in the poultry industry is allowing these massive companies to squeeze both American consumers and farmers to fuel record corporate profits and payouts to shareholders. When companies have monopoly power as massive suppliers, they can jack up prices of the goods they sell. And when those same companies have complete or substantial market power as large employers or buyers of inputs, also known as monopsony power, they can suppress their own costs for those inputs, including workers’ wages. This is the worst of all worlds, where wages are held back while prices are jacked up,” wrote Senator Warren.

Major poultry companies — which have a history of price-fixing and inflating prices for consumers in order to increase CEO pay, increase profits, and pay more in dividends and buybacks — have enjoyed record profits and shareholder payouts this year. Tyson raised the prices of chicken 19% during its fiscal fourth quarter and announced its intention to continue increasing prices in 2022 to offset “inflationary costs.” But in 2020, Tyson Chairman of the Board John Tyson and CEO Noel White received pay raises for the third year in a row, earning approximately $11 million each in total compensation. Additionally, JBS Foods — owner of Pilgrim’s Pride, the second-largest chicken company in the U.S.— “had ample cash to buy back shares and reduce net debt by 17%,” and proposed a 74% increase in dividends, a record payout for shareholders. Pilgrim’s Pride annual net sales increased by 24% with a nearly 14% increase in marginal profits in 2021. Meanwhile, several lawsuits and investigations into big poultry’s price-fixing schemes have found evidence of collusion that has inflated prices for Americans at the grocery store and dinner table. Simultaneously, farmers have been getting paid less. The National Chicken Farmers reported that chicken farmer pay has fallen more than 6% since 1988. Farmers have long argued that major poultry companies were a “cartel” engaging in anticompetitive and predatory behavior, and just this year, Perdue Farms and Tyson agreed to a $35 million settlement with chicken farmers over allegations that they used long-term contracts to lock farmers into “unprofitably low” compensation ranging between $12,000 and $40,000 a year. 

Senator Warren continued: "Given the apparent connection between rising poultry prices for consumers and the history of anticompetitive practices in the poultry industry, I ask that you open a broad investigation into the impact of price-fixing, wage fixing, and consolidation in the poultry industry on consumers and farmers.”

Senator Warren asked for a response by December 20, 2021.


You can't make this stuff up (i.e. not the Onion or the Babylon Bee, but maybe the latter has already on this one).  I'm confused as to whether inflation is a myth (since the White House has already assured us our Thanksgiving meals are not really more expensive, and MSNBC has suggested we should just serve less food if it is, including skipping the turkey), or a corporate conspiracy.  I guess both.   ::)

NB: for the record I did not purchase mine from Big Poultry.  My local Wegman's had a shopper's club discount on birds from a nearby local/family farm, very reasonable price.  Got my head start on Small Business Saturday.  Spatchcocked yesterday, it's on hour 25 of dry brining in my refrigerator, decided not to cook it the day ahead.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2021, 04:32:51 PM by MaddogLutheran »
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Thanksgiving 'myth'?
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2021, 05:30:11 PM »
Elizabeth Warren?

I wasn't thinking of the senator but the fair skin blondes I would see on the Res. I think you have to have an Iroquois grandparent to qualify for tribal membership.
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