On Thanksgiving and Gluttony

U-News Staff

Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, purge, and repeat: the festive cycle of the Thanksgiving. Following the meal, your uncle releases a series of binge-induced flatulence in the melody of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off,” the men watch “America’s Team” in the spirit of the country’s patriotism, the women are reduced to the sexist stereotype of cleaning up the kitchen, and grandpa keels over with a heart attack. Damn, you’ve got to love Thanksgiving.

When I sit down at the table every year, I can’t help but wonder: Should we pursue this endorphin-inducing gluttony? Are we allowed to gorge ourselves? What are the implications? In order to answer these questions, I turn to my friends at the Calorie Control Council. According to the CCC, the average American ingests 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, more than twice our recommended daily caloric intake. This is in addition to the leftovers consumed over the course of the next week—a sad thought that makes Michelle Obama cry at night. With these stats, it’s reasonable to believe that we easily absorb a week’s worth of sustenance in the span of a few days.

However, many Americans—mainly the obese ones—don’t care for caloric argument. So in order to figure out if these actions are justifiable, I decided to look at the history of the holiday beyond the elementary school fabrications. Let us look beyond your turkey hand garnished by decorative feathers purchased at Hobby Lobby, and the perception of the 1950s, “Leave it to Beaver”-esque family meal where father carves the turkey and the young children (dressed in their dapper cardigans) wait eagerly to break the wishbone. The real first Thanksgiving involved Europeans committing mass genocide and beginning the maltreatment of Native Americans. In hindsight, this falls in line with the true spirit of America — taking and oppressing. Thanksgiving was not truly founded on thanks if you think about it.

The public-friendly perception of this holiday starts with the intent of the Native Americans to help those who were hungry and the pilgrims giving thanks. This is nowhere close to the present-day stuff-your-face-until-you-have-to-undo-your-belt-then-eat-some-more gorge fest. So, with each bite of white meat (or dark if you so prefer), be sure to give thanks to our genocidal ancestors who made this bountiful feast of gluttonous celebration possible. Or, perhaps the right thing to do, in the true spirit of this fabricated holiday, would be to shed the gluttony illusion of the season and volunteer at a homeless shelter, helping to feed those in need.