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25.11.16

A Far Side Thanksgiving 2016

Before launching into the usual diatribe, we want to offer our US readers (wherever you may live) a somewhat belated, but nevertheless heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving!  May your plates be full and your hearts be grateful throughout the coming year.

For our non-US readers, perhaps a bit of background on Thanksgiving, which happens to be the biggest holiday of the year here at the Far Side Global Headquarters (FSGHQ).

The legend, perhaps even myth, is that early European settlers in North America were suffering from a poor harvest and faced almost certain death in the coming winter.  They overcame their xenophobia and befriended some of the local heathens, who in turn showed them what flora and fauna were good to eat in the local food chain, including a heretofore unknown plant called "maiz" or what we call "corn."

Being saved from certain starvation, the European settlers pulled together a massive feast, inviting some of the local heathens to join in before they started the wholesale genocide.  This event went on to become a tradition known today as Thanksgiving.

The true story is a bit different.  President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, seeing that the rights and freedom of the Southern States were about to be fully and successfully trounced by the evil Union Army, declared a national holiday of Thanksgiving, to whatever god it was he worshipped, to celebrate the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of humans.

Granted our interpretation is a bit skewed, favoring the side of liberty, States' Rights and freedom, but the facts remain.

So anyway, Lincoln declared that Thanksgiving would be held every fourth Thursday in November, and in the intervening 150 years, it has become one of the most insane holidays in America.

It begins with a massive feast, traditionally involving turkey, dressing/stuffing, cranberry sauce and any number of side dishes, topped off with pumpkin (Yankee) or pecan (normal people) pie, and an on-going war between those who must have sage stuffing in the turkey, and those who prefer to foul the fowl with cornbread stuffing...or even worse, those who don't stuff but serve on the side as "dressing."

The day is marked by massive parades of commercial messages and marketing displays filled with celebrities earning kajillions of dollars to endorse various brands.  These parades are followed by sporting spectacles in which pituitary cases purchased in slave markets called "drafts," suit up in quasi-military uniforms and beat each other senseless over a ball.

Thanksgiving is immediately followed by Black Friday, in which consumers throughout the land, drunk on liquor and tryptophan, run out and max their credit cards in an orgy of consumption, ostensibly buying Christmas gifts, but really just taking advantage of the sales to fill their houses with all-new crap, like the latest giant-screen TeeVees on which to watch the sporting spectacles.  It is called Black Friday because this is typically when retailers finally pay off their taxes and regulatory expenses and actually become profitable (in the black).

This consumer orgy officially launches the "Holiday Season," which actually started after Halloween when the Xmas decorations started going up in stores.  The original "Holiday Season" included Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebrations, but now is further stuffed with made-up events like Kwansaa, so liberals can feel like they are being oh-so-inclusive and diverse.

Though forms of thanksgiving celebrations are held all over the world, and have been for millennia, the American version is a distinctly American holiday of commercialism, since most Americans haven't worried about things like harvests and surviving winter in generations.  The overwhelming message from American media is that each citizen has a moral, ethical and traditional obligation to spend as much money as the banks will let them have, based on income, assets and other demographics.

Here on the Far Side, things are little quieter, more dignified and more traditional.  Turkey is far too expensive, requiring a bank loan guaranteed by the title to my house and a day-long hunt to find the one store in Jakarta that sells Butterball.

Instead, we get a couple of freshly slaughtered and hand-plucked chickens from the neighborhood bazaar, steam up a mess of cauliflower and/or broccoli, whip up some sage stuffing and homemade cheese sauce, while my wife fixes some Indonesian favorites like sapi rendang and opor ayam, and we make a tank-full of tropical fruit juice spiked with tequila.

There are no parades or football games on the non-existent TeeVee.  No girding for battle at Bloomingdale's or Macy's.  No consumeristic orgy.  Just a few friends and family gathered for a feast to remind ourselves of how truly good we have it, and how great it is to have a few friends and family to share it with.

Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday, even though we don't really get a holiday here, just the regular weekend rest on which to hold our feast.  The local heathens enjoy the smorgasbord of exotic foods and flavors, and appreciate the idea behind the celebration of being thankful for the good things in our lives, even if they have never experienced winter or the possibility of starving to death for lack of food.

Although I suppose we can be grateful that another year has passed without earthquakes reducing the house to rubble or the local volcanoes roasting us in our shoes with pyroclastic clouds and searing-hot lava.

Yes, it's a wonderful holiday here on the Far Side.  We enjoy good food and great company as we remember all the blessings in our lives, even if we are just one of a handful of homes in the entire country celebrating, and even if the Krismis decorations at the copious malls studiously avoid anything having to do with Christ or Christianity, as they attempt to entice us with American Cultural Imperialism to spend ourselves into oblivion.

Oops, the chicken is burning in the tiny electric oven, so we have to run.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all of our loyal readers out there in Cyberland.  See you on the Far Side!

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