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Friday 26 November 2010

Some Gave Thanks

In the UK, by this time of the year we are beginning to look forward to Christmas and the New Year. Not so over in the USA. So, partly because there are an increasing number of readers of this blog in that country, and partly to appreciate those things that make the two English speaking sides of the north Atlantic different, I’ve paused to think about Thanksgiving.

And, yes, I paused a day too late, as this year the celebration was yesterday, on November 25. Thanksgiving is an event that goes back a long, long way – it predates even the independence of the US by many years. The celebration has its roots in an act of goodwill between the Pilgrims and their Native American neighbours in the autumn of 1621.

The history, though, tends to get lost in the fog of commercial opportunity and the hijacking of the event by opportunists. Yesterday’s opportunist was the deeply unpleasant Rush Limbaugh, who appears to be getting more desperate as the years take their toll. Rushie was ranting at his President, whining about how much got paid over for Manhattan (but nobody in the real estate business ever did), and working “socialism” into his spiel.

Fortunately, Media Matters have also done their homework, and noted that the presidential address that so distressed Limbaugh bore a striking similarity to that given by one Ronald Reagan in 1981. Rushie would never diss Ronnie, so no doubt it was just a slip of the tongue.

Meanwhile, we in the UK will do our own version of familial overeating (and all the rest) next month. Then, as the USA has done today, the sales will start, signalling another irrational trek to the shops.

At that point, I will be thankful for on-line retailing. Happy holidays!

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