The United States of America’s misplaced Xmas celebration is rolling round again, and this year I can’t go to either of the Thanksgiving parties my Yankee friends are organising, dagnabbit. Until next the opportunity returns, instead of a gigantic glut of rich food I’ll just have to be satisfied with a bunch of online writing on the subject — starting with the surprising fact that the whole thing is science fiction anyway…

Thanksgiving is a Science Fiction Story

it’s obvious, really, once you stop and think about it

— by Scott S. Alexander

“Make it snow” (sorry, sorry, that’s Christmas again, isn’t it?)

Mr. S, an ordinary American, is minding his own business outside his East Coast home when he is suddenly abducted by short large-headed creatures like none he has ever seen before. They bring him to their ship and voyage across unimaginable distances to an alien world both grander and more horrible than he could imagine. The aliens have godlike technologies, but their society is dystopian and hivelike. Enslaved at first, then displayed as a curiosity, he finally wins his freedom through pluck and intelligence…


One Hundred Dead Pilgrims

this story unveils how, if it was the pale-faces who’d died out, high school plays might now be very different

— by Eleanor Henderson

Look, everyone’s happy, smiling and having a great time!

Then came the email. One girl’s mother, a professor of Native Studies at Patuxet State, sent a note to the drama teacher, CC’ing all the parents in the grade, to remind her that Squanto’s role as charitable neighbor turned turkey worshipper was much contended, that, indeed, the date and site and circumstances of the first Thanksgiving had in recent years been challenged in any number of fields. Though there was some evidence of a number of British deaths in the Patuxet colony, it was widely acknowledged among scholars that there was no provable correlation between the consumption of fowl and the colonists’ eventual demise, and if there was a correlation, it was almost certainly a simple bacterial infection, such as salmonella, due to unsanitary food preparation. “A single interpretation of this controversial holiday,” she concluded, “is insufficient for the impressionable minds of our diverse population of children.”


Native Intelligence

just in case you don’t believe the sci-fi, here’s the article that convinced that guy of the truth

— by Charles C. Mann

Was it really like this? Was it? REALLY?

Divine providence,” the colonist Daniel Gookin wrote, favored “the quiet and peaceable settlement of the English.” Later writers tended to attribute European success to European technology. In a contest where only one side had rifles and cannons, historians said, the other side’s motives were irrelevant. By the end of the 19th century, the Indians of the Northeast were thought of as rapidly fading background details in the saga of the rise of the United States—“marginal people who were losers in the end,” as James Axtell of the College of William and Mary dryly put it in an interview with me. Vietnam War-era denunciations of the Pilgrims as imperialist or racist simply replicated the error in a new form. Whether the cause was the Pilgrim God, Pilgrim guns or Pilgrim greed, Native losses were foreordained; Indians could not have stopped colonization, in this view, and they hardly tried.

But beginning in the 1970s, historians grew dissatisfied with this view. “Indians were seen as trivial, ineffectual patsies,” Neal Salisbury, a historian at Smith College, told me. “But that assumption—a whole continent of patsies—simply didn’t make sense.” Salisbury and other researchers tried to peer through the colonial records to the Indian lives beneath. Their work fed a tsunami of inquiry into the interactions between Natives and newcomers in the era when they faced each other as relative equals.


An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Not every Thanksgiving celebration is a disaster in waiting, right? Cast your hearts and minds back to the good old days…

— by Louisa May Alcott, November, 1881

the roaring fire, the happy voices of your family… maybe someone will read a psalm

I don’t mind saying to you I’m dreadful dubersome about the turkey.”

“It’s all ready but the stuffing, and roasting is as easy as can be. I can baste first-rate. Ma always likes to have me, I’m so patient and stiddy, she says,” answered Prue, for the responsibility of this great undertaking did not rest upon her, so she took a cheerful view of things.

“I know, but it’s the stuffin’ that troubles me,” said Tilly, rubbing her round elbows as she eyed the immense fowl laid out on a platter before her. “I don’t know how much I want, nor what sort of yarbs to put in, and he’s so awful big, I’m kind of afraid of him.”

“I ain’t! I fed him all summer, and he never gobbled at me. I feel real mean to be thinking of gobbling him, poor old chap,” laughed Prue, patting her departed pet with an air of mingled affection and appetite.


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Turkey Recipes

alternatives to “sandwiches” for all your dry-bird leftovers

— via Lists of Note

Just because you’re a great writer doesn’t make you funny.

6. Stolen Turkey: Walk quickly from the market, and, if accosted, remark with a laugh that it had just flown into your arms and you hadn’t noticed it. Then drop the turkey with the white of one egg—well, anyhow, beat it.

7. Turkey à la Crême: Prepare the crême a day in advance. Deluge the turkey with it and cook for six days over a blast furnace. Wrap in fly paper and serve.


So there you have it: valuable proof that creating something as perfect as The Great Gatsby doesn’t mean you won’t churn out the odd turkey too.


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