Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'Tis the season, sigh, again

IT IS EASY to lament the mind-bending superficially of our annual holiday season which, god help us, kicks off tomorrow on Thanksgiving. Like many a reflexive scold, I intended to go all "bah humbug" on you. But the always clever writers at the Economist beat me to the punch. To wit:
"NO HOLIDAY is safe from the scolds. ... Now here we are on the cusp of Thanksgiving. Other than lamenting the white man's plundering, murdering, colonising ways (ask an Iroquois) what else is there to say to take the fun out of the national day of gluttony here in the home of the bravely obese? Plenty! Before you stuff yourself to the gills with the flesh of innocent birds fattened in disgustingly inhumane conditions, please read this discourse on "Thanksgiving as 'System Justification'", by Jon Hanson, the Alfred Smart Professor of Law at Harvard. In a nutshell, "system justification" is the socio-psychological process by which turkeys come to welcome their impending slaughter. Every society is rife with injustice. System justification is how we convince ourselves it's all for the best."
There's no topping that, eh Ebenezer? So I'll skip to the moral of my story: You are not obligated to perform in the perennial drama (which the Economist labels as "the sickening display of consumerism run amok") that comes pre-packaged with the holiday season. Granted, that may come as breaking news to some. But Thanksgiving is what you, dear reader, make it. Shut out the crassness and gracefully celebrate the harvest we call American democracy and the good fortune that you and yours live in it. Yes, it is messy and, at times (like now), seemingly unmanageable. But, as Churchill said, it is still better than all the rest. Just ask the envious owners of those foreign noses that are pressed against our American window.

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