Culturally Discombobulated

American Snaps #16: Thanksgiving Day Parade

“​Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.” Mark Twain

New York, Nov, ’16

A Trumpian Thanksgiving

A peaceful Thanksgiving this year would seem to be dependent on limiting conversations about a rigged contest with a divisivie winner purely to the results of the Westminster Dog Show.

It’s a curious thing, this trope of bad tempered political arguments being conducted the Thanksgiving turkey.  There doesn’t seem to be the equivalent of it in the UK, nobody there seems to dread the Christmas dinner in quite the same way, there’s no feeling that there will inevitably be a disagreement about current affairs. If there was our pop culture would seek to play on it, but, as is clear from any Christmas episode of Eastenders, we’re happy to fight over the turkey, just not about voting.

Perhaps Americans are simply more engaged in the political process, perhaps they lack the ability to laugh something of, or is it simply that during an American holiday the focal point is less on television? They’re certainly not a television culture in the same way the British are, and instead of the holiday being a banquet of special editions of everyone’s favorite television shows – a blessing that allows the British family to spend time together without having to actually engage with each other – the American family is left with the awkwardness of having to actually interact with each other. The mood is not helped in that Thanksgiving and the election season are always so close to each other, nor in the fact that the average Thanksgiving meal leaves the body confused and irritable; the turkey makes you lethargic while the unnecessarily sweet sides make you hyper. No wonder it causes the average nuclear family to combust.

Melania and Waldo

A video of our new First Lady, and then Charlie Brooker on similarities between Trump and the Waldo episode of his series Black Mirror. The unironic and the ironic; that’s pretty much the next four years, I guess.

John Bull in New York

The first meeting between the President-Elect and a British political figure took place at Trump Tower, though not with a cabinet official or a former PM, but with a man who has stood and failed to be elected to the House of Commons on seven occassions. Yes, Farage is back, Roderick Spode-ing his way around Manhattan though he can’t even be said to even represent the party that he is notorious for, but here he is, ol’ John Bull-shit grinning as he ascends to the Trump penthouse.

The cultural divide in this election was measured by David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, by an innovative method he devised: look at how people voted in the 493 counties that have Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, and in the 184 counties with Whole Foods stores. In 2012 Obama carried 75 percent of the counties that had a Whole Foods and 29 percent of the counties with a Cracker Barrel. But that spread was exceeded this year—in the other direction—with Trump winning 76 percent of counties with Cracker Barrel stores and just 22 percent of counties with Whole Foods.

How It Happened – Elizabeth Drew -The New York Review of Books


Protestors near Trump International Hotel, November ’16

A promise is a promise

The one electoral promise I really hope he keeps