Before Thanksgiving gets too far into the rear view mirror, I wanted to talk a little about the holiday itself, absent its role as the now failing bulwark against Christmas Creep.
The holiday actually proved to be the breaking point in a previous relationship. Now, that relationship was already winding down peacefully, and it ended, blessedly, with almost no acrimony, but an argument about the third Thursday in November really tipped the scales. See, it had become a long distance relationship, with her living in Minnesota and me in North Carolina, and I was asking her to come down to visit for the holiday. It seemed obvious enough -- Thanksgiving has always been a great holiday in my family, and she'd have plenty of time off from work. No, she argued, it was a holiday all about consumerism and centered around eating turkey (she was and remains an adamant vegetarian), and she wanted nothing to do with noting its passing. In the end, I convinced her that the turkey was an afterthought amongst the stuffing and vegetables and rolls and pie for us, and that our celebration was all about coming together. So she changed her mind, dropped in for the holiday, we all had a marvelous time, and the two of us promptly, very amicably, broke up.
I bring this up not to bore everyone with a relationship story, but to highlight Thanksgiving's murky meaning in the America of 2007. I'm not going to even get into the question of whether Thanksgiving represents the start of European conquest of American Indians, other than to note it here. (It always seemed to me to be commemorating the English being a bunch of idiots, but aside from that...) What I mean to focus on is first, whether the holiday has just become nothing more than sanctioned gluttony and sloth, and secondly, meaning of "Black Friday," and the various attempts to protest or resist it.