So long, and thanks for all the fish November 22, 2012Posted by Mark Folse in Fortin Street, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
Tags: America, Thanksgiving
It is too easy to slur Columbus Day and ignore Thanksgiving, for fear of upsetting the neighbors. Today we sit down to celebrate the complete incompetence of European settlers to feed themselves and contemplate the gratitude they showed to their Native neighbors, to offer our thanks to their omnipotently paranoid god who blessed the casual erasure of humans and bison from sea to shining sea, to engorge ourselves on indigenous corn and potatoes and African yams without a thought to their origins, eat thick slices from the engineered breast of a native bird bred like Chevrolets in a feed house it could not survive without constant dosing with antibiotics.
There is nothing America cannot conquer, master and seek to improve if it but sets its collective mind to it. All that is needed is a willing bit of trickery over those less blessed than us and there goes the neighborhood.
Let’s just fess up and admit our model of a republic is Roman not Greek, that we are setting out to a gourmand’s banquet at which we will eat until we are barely able to bend forward and reach the bottle to pour yet another glass of wine. I am Orleanian to the bone and have no problem with this. The gods of my hearth are not cosmic, are small and indigenous to this place and take great pleasure in our banquet. They are the absent ancestors whose places we have taken at the table. I will give thanks not to a remote god but to the stooped-back women who picked the cranberries and the men who wielded the power knives of the slaughter house. I will wish them joy of their possibly-distant families, camaraderie over food as best they can manage, and a day of rest.