Today’s Moderately Confused is only confused about what the drama will be, not whether there will be some.
A lot of holidays include a big dinner at some point, but Thanksgiving is the only one where the dinner is the entire point, and it tends to focus things on that gathering. Hence the drama.
Okay, come to think of it, from what I know of Eid al Fitr, that’s also mostly a big dinner, but when you’ve just been praying and fasting for a month, you ought to be able to behave yourself for a few more hours.
In fact, not only is Eid a big feast for family and friends, but the after-effects of Ramadan are such that, in some Muslim countries, the feast is extended to a major come-all-ye for the poor and homeless in the village square.
Dave Granlund offers a Christian version for Thanksgiving, and it’s certainly true that charity, and free turkey dinners, are a part of the holiday for many Americans.
Both religions praise charity and emphasize its importance, but, in Christian-oriented nations, there’s much more giving at this time of year and homeless shelters have to remind people that hunger is a year-round thing.
I don’t know how well the joyous giving at Eid carries over past the holiday, but I note that a lot of the Sufi parables have to do with rich people who refuse to share their wealth.
Marty Two Bulls isn’t a sufi master, but I was touched by the fact that, while a whole lot of sensitive white folks draw cartoons contrasting the traditional picture of Thanksgiving with the coming sorrows of the culture clash, Two Bulls chooses to simply remind us that the Pilgrims were refugees, and to suggest that they received a more charitable greeting than is given refugees today.
As noted before, I am well aware of how that meeting of cultures turned out and of the shortfalls yet to be made up, but, at the same time, I don’t mind celebrating one shining moment when it worked, and holding that up as an exemplar, even if it was an exception.
In fact, I used to show this David Horsey piece from the 90s in my political cartooning program for students, and the salient point is that, while a lot of cartoons make the point that the Pilgrims had been in need of charity, Horsey makes the stingy Indian the villain of the piece.
Both Two Bulls and Horsey emphasize the charity of the moment, which seems more in keeping with the spirit of the day.
Now, back to the drama
Ah, trust Bizarro to come up with something whimsical and slightly demented for the occasion.
Though, of course, the problem here is that the meal lasts forever, because despite the number of knives plunged in, the turkey emerges unscathed.
Back in the days of my marriage, I used to get the job of carving the turkey, which was particularly easy because my mother-in-law, bless her heart, went for the well-done in everything, such that getting the bird onto the platter intact was a magic trick. I wasn’t carving the turkey so much as sorting it.
Dog Eat Doug takes a nice turn at the traditional collapsing-after-dinner cartoon, which usually involves men sacked out in front of football, but in this case features girls.
That is, there is a certain amount of gender-based territorialism involved in Thanksgiving dinner. If women really wanted the men to help with the dishes, they could simply say, “What a great dinner! Let’s all get these dishes done!” and it would take a real heel to refuse to pitch in.
I suspect that division of labor doesn’t obtain in younger households, or, at least, not in homes where men are no longer exclusively responsible for shoveling the driveway.
Still, as I learned as a single dad, there are just as many women who’d prefer you to stay in your lane as there are men who feel that way about women. Pick up that dish towel and you’ll be welcomed in many kitchens, but chased out of not a few.
Not that the territorialism is entirely male/female. In fact, from what I can tell, most of it isn’t, which brings us to our
Juxtaposition of the Holiday
Granted, Sally Forth and On the Fastrack are written by men, but I don’t think they’re wrong in that there is an awful lot of background drama going on at Thanksgiving and guys may be better off on that Barcalounger in front of the game, oblivious to the knives being thrown back and forth behind them.
And now that we have more women cartooning, we’re getting to see how sharp those knives can be.
It’s like that moment when African-American cartoonists came into the mainstream papers and we saw conflicts previously confined to the black press.
In both cases, best us white boys can do is to shut up and keep down and enjoy the show.
And, as seen in Reply All, take some comfort in knowing we’re not the only ones who are puzzled and conflicted by it all.
Oh, and try not to take that “We fake all sorts of stuff all the time” too personally.
Anyway, Reality Check gives me an opening to close out this holiday collection with a bit of all-male insight.
I don’t think there could be a gravy smoothie. You have gravy, or you have a smoothie, the distinction being that anyone, male or female, who drank a glass of gravy would be full, while smoothies only make women feel full.
It’s like those expensive, alleged vegetable soups in a box, the organic butternut squash sorts of things, which, if you have one, you realize wasn’t really soup because you’re still hungry.
It was a hot, fruit-free smoothie.
Compromise, people, compromise.
Hot, it’s a soup.
Cold, it’s a smoothie.
Now go thy way and slurp no more.
And drive carefully.