Let’s have a Black Celebration by dixē.flatlin3
This morning I came across something a friend had written yesterday regarding those who may have not celebrated and shared with their families the American holiday known as Thanksgiving. First, let me acknowledge that I do not presume that every person on the planet knows there was a holiday in America yesterday. Secondly, regardless of where you live, if you are on social media, and have American friends, it must have been nearly impossible to ignore that the most Yanks were über friendly and not talking about politics for most of the day.
Yesterday was the American holiday known as Thanksgiving. A holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November. A day we eat a lot of food. I believe there was once some sort of bullshit history lesson wrapped into the gluttonous holiday, but given the historical facts of how this nation was stolen, er, I mean settled, they’ve sort of glossed over that part. There is also the matter of how to accurately depict the oft referred to celebration between the involved parties. Pilgrims and Indians are all wrong for the whitewashed 21st century. It is not politically correct; does not adhere to the Newspeak standards and offends the delicate sense of many of the comrades.
As a child in the American school system we use to dress-up for the holiday. Including those for whom English was a secondary language. We were directed by school officials to put on plays in honor of this day. Can you imagine how this would ruffle the feathers of so many gluten allergy affected patrons in the year 2014? America is no longer a melting pot; it is now one big salad bowl of pluralistic inclusion. Gone are the days of immigrant grandparents telling the children to speak English because they are Americans. This is how my peers and myself came to lose the native tongues of our ancestors. Italian, German, Gaelic, Slovak, Vietnamese, Chinese, Hindi, and many other dialects went the way of the dodo bird with our parents, and perhaps their parents’ parents. The customs associated with Thanksgiving have evolved. It has shifted away from a nationalistic, family-centric celebration to more of a day full of preparations for an imminent capitalistic spending frenzy.
My friend and I worked in the same industry for many years. This industry in particular was once known for drawing in the disenfranchised, artistic types. People who typically did not have strong family ties to begin with. Which was why I decided to host what I labeled the Freak Holidays. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I had noted that a lot of our coworkers had no intention of spending time with their families. This could have been due to the fact that many had come from other states for the opportunity to work in a particular business. However, many simply preferred to not spend time with their families, which was my personal preference as well. I then decided to invite every person I knew to come and celebrate the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas at my home. I did the majority of the cooking and provided the staple items. The only items I did not supply were booze and drugs, but I did have a room we called the Playroom. A room dedicated to the art of smoking pot, which was where most of attendees congregated
The first Thanksgiving was a huge success. I cannot remember how many people came and went that day, but it was a lot. We did not have the luxury of having Black Friday off because we were expected to helm the various shops where consumers would be looking to part with their hard earned cash. But the amount of food leftover meant that after-hours my house was full of people. This extended the holiday and drew out some who had chosen to avoid the initial celebration itself. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, word of the event had spread. There was a shitload of people at my house for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Of which more than a few slept wherever they could in my apartment.
I continued this tradition for several years. The transitory nature of the industry meant that there were always new faces in the crowd. And eventually there came a point when I no longer felt a strong enough sense of camaraderie to open my home to strangers. The floodgates to the industry had swung wide open, and those coming in were not cut from the same cloth as those I had grown up with. The invites became limited to a select few, and then that list dwindled as my years in the industry grew. But my memories are fond ones, and I was reminded of these by another friend yesterday.
I received an email from someone I had not heard from in a very long time. She wished me a happy holiday and reminded me of these gatherings of yore. She said that she had heard a song and it brought back memories of spending Thanksgiving at my house. She had fallen into the job opportunity bucket and did not have the funds or time to venture home for the holidays. She explained that she had felt like an outsider upon her arrival to work amongst us, but that after spending time with others in a non-work environment, it had been easier for her to adjust to her temporary home. That was 18 years ago, and it was a song that initiated her contact. She asked if I could still be found dancing around the kitchen and singing horrific pop songs while I cooked. This made me laugh because I suppose that image is hard to juxtapose against a house full of heavily tattooed, mostly male guests.
The words of another friend on social media caused me to contemplate this all. What exactly does Thanksgiving represent to Americans in the 21st century? What will become of the once sacred traditions now that they have been tainted as exclusionary by some? What does it mean to be American? I do not I pretend to have any answers, but I do know that the visage of my country has evolved into one that is frighteningly reminiscent of Big Brother. There is very little meaning left that is not directly consumer related. All of humanity’s woes fall to the wayside when Americans are given an opportunity to buy another television set at a slightly discounted price. That can then be put on display somewhere in their home, which they likely cannot afford, and they can gather around and watch the images of lives they cannot afford. But it is America; everybody has the exact same opportunity to be that special, little snowflake deemed worthy enough for mass consumption. Every American has an equal opportunity at being exploited by the machinations of the Capitalism. Regardless of whether or not they know it.
Now, leave your families and go forth and buy something, for fuck’s sake! This is ‘Murika! We’re at war! Feed the machine! And may gawd help us all as we slide into the holiday that celebrates the destruction and assimilation of paganism worldwide. Do not let the pangs of separation stop you! You have a device in your pocket that keeps you connected. And I assure you that connection is felt more deeply than any familial ties any human has every experienced.
Blessings upon you all.