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Posted at 4:53 PM ET, 11/18/2010

President Obama, don't pardon the Thanksgiving turkey! Save the holiday!

By Alexandra Petri

Next week is Thanksgiving, and the country is gearing up. Wander a CVS aisle, go into a coffee shop, stroll down the street, and you'll be overwhelmed by Christmas music. At the rate they play it, they should change the title of the song to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Random Day In November." Santa is already sitting at the mall, looking creepy and lonesome. And everyone is tweeting about Black Friday, which I assumed was some sort of Satanic holiday until I looked it up and it turned out to be even worse.

These days, Thanksgiving is tied to the train tracks, and Christmas is barreling towards it at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour.

Surely this was not what the founders had in mind.

Here's a memo to Tea Party Patriots, regular patriots, and anyone who loves America, or really likes America but doesn't want to commit: Care about our way of life? It's time to rescue this holiday!

Thanksgiving is the most American holiday there is. Fourth of July? Please! That's just a day to light things on fire and generate noise complaints and disfiguring burns. I know it's intended to celebrate our independence, but I'm not sure why we didn't pick a more original way of doing it -- England has Guy Fawkes Day, which is basically the Fourth of July except that you get to burn people in effigy!

No, Thanksgiving is the true American holiday.

Americans used to be fit, believe in mobility and freedom, and feel confident that our lives would be better than the lives our parents had. Now, we're not so sure. Thanksgiving drives this point home. It forces you to return to the place that you have spent your life trying to escape so you can eat fattening food in the company of people you do not enjoy, all the while noticing how much higher their standard of living is than yours will ever be. Sure, they're family! But family is just another name for "People You Aren't Friends With On Facebook."

And you're eating turkey! The turkey is the avian Ben Franklin wanted to be the American national bird. This makes sense. It looks ridiculous, has a lot of excess dignity, and hates air travel.

Thanksgiving has its finger on the pulse of America these days. "Civil discourse and real news is dying!" everyone says. "Also, Americans are excessively obese!" Want proof of this? Try to talk about politics at a Thanksgiving dinner table. Everyone will yell at everyone else, and someone will insinuate that the president is an illegal alien. Then your mother will respond by giving everyone more mashed potatoes. You will remember that you have been meaning to move to Canada. But you won't. (This is another American tradition.)

Not many non-Americans have Thanksgiving. I guess this makes sense -- what do non-Americans have to be thankful for, besides socialized health care, control of the majority of the earth's oil supply, and the ownership of a large share of America's debt? But if we allow Christmas to stampede this poor holiday to death, we'll be letting them win. The last thing we Americans need is another commercialized holiday -- largely because we are out of money.

But it goes deeper than that. After the first Thanksgiving, we understood what being American meant. Being American means being civil and eating what you're served, even if the person who serves it is new to the neighborhood and you worry he might be carrying smallpox.

Sure, it seemed incongruous: one group of people who were amazed that they had survived another year, eating food with another group of people who had no idea that eventually the first group would decimate their hunting grounds, overrun their homeland, and later feel bad about it and give them casinos. But they ate; they enjoyed themselves; they managed to be civil; and then they returned to their homes. What could be more American than that? We're a country of strange bedfellows. Plus, if there's one thing all Americans have in common, it's our love for seasonal gourds.

So this year, in honor of this peculiarly American tradition, I want to issue a call to our president. President Obama, don't pardon the turkey. Eat the turkey, with relish -- or at least cranberry sauce. After this lame-duck session, we don't need another bird going to waste.

Pardon the holiday. Have Michelle put aside the fitness initiative for once. Invite a bunch of people you usually avoid over to your house, and complain to each other about your respective upbringings until you are overcome by tryptophan and everyone has to lie down. And encourage Americans to stop with the Christmas carols and the commercialization, forget Black Friday, and just be glad we're here and not, say, in France, where I hear they have an extremely limited appreciation for seasonal gourds.

By Alexandra Petri  | November 18, 2010; 4:53 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama, Petri  | Tags:  Barack Obama, Thanksgiving, turkey  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rank the week's wackiest moments! And chat Friday at 11:30
Next: Mulligans: At Tom DeLay trial, hammer nails himself


This column is more like an Easter egg hunt than a Thanksgiving feast. Gentlemen, start your search engines.

Last things first. I found a French Bule (boo-lay) Gourd on Amazon that got 5 stars from this reviewer: "Bought last year for my mom for christmas; we planted them this year and we grew a ton!! Let's just hope they dry right."

I'm not sure what a boo-lay is, but I say boo-yah!

There's another French gourd that ghoulishly googled up. It might make a good Black Friday present... but it's too bloody Louie to be the Easter egg. As the REAL Louie sang, "It's a won-der-ful wuuurld."

That's all the eggs I found so far, but I have my staff working on it. We'll get back to you next Guy Fawlkes day.

Posted by: divtune | November 18, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Seriously` Two,

In my first serious comment, I compared Petri’s writing to “John Stewart on crystal meth”.
November 17, 2010 3:06 PM

However, I failed to consider that a ComPost column also includes the gross, rotten, fetid, and nutrient-rich comments at the bottom. Gene Weingarten says, “It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots.”

My apologies to Ms. Petri, but I think the comments are the “steak”, not the “maggots”. Commenters say the darnedest, funny-nasty things. Taking this into consideration, I would now say that,
“Petri’s ComPost columns are like John Stewart and Tom Green’s love child on crystal meth”.

Tom Green is not very funny, but he is outrageous. For example, while sitting next to Judge Judy on the Tonight Show couch, he opened his mouth really wide and attempted to lick the judge’s nose. But the judge ruled against Jay Leno when she asked, “Why didn’t you tell me who the other guest was going to be?”

I can see why the Green-Barrymore marriage ended in disaster, but I still think Her Honor’s “tongue-lashing” of Jay Leno was the funniest part. Here are some other Tom Green clips that show that the reactions (like the comments) are what’s really funny:
Thanks to purpledrank for his comment with the Weingarten quote. You are the wings beneath my wind. And Alex… my nose is always available.

Posted by: divtune | November 18, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

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