Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Putting a Little Heat in Thanksgiving: Occupy History!

So, I’m thinking … the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the fixins’ is kinda bland.  Not much in the way of gastronomic punch.  Basic bland gravy.  Basic bland potatoes.  Basic Bland Bird.

So, what to do?

Well, now I’m thinking that the folks at UC Davis Police Department may have had the right idea after all. 

Nothing like a little pepper spray to liven things up. 

After all, the good folks at Fox News – in the person of Ms. Megyn (“it’s a food product, essentially”) Kelly – have apparently decided that military grade pepper spray is some kind of tasty food item, and therefore, eminently suitable for the Thanksgiving table.  After all, it’s derived from pepper (which lots of people eat) and even appears with other edible peppers on the Scoville scale (see above)  -  although it’s somewhat off the charts, being ten times "hotter" than habanero peppers.   

You can get more info about this kind of industrial-strength pepper spray from Pulitzer Prize author and science writer Deborah Blum’s blog here.  

I guess that for Fox News viewers, the mustard gas used in World War One would be some kind of condiment as well, to add zest to those bland Boche sausages…

Of course, if you watch a lot of Fox News, you’re likely to have a somewhat skewed view of reality.  At least that’s what a recent study done by the folks at Fairleigh Dickenson University seems to show.  

Sure, I know it’s hard to believe that watching Fox News can actually make you about 18 percentage points stupider than folks who watch nothing at all, but the study seems to show that to be the case. 

For example, Fox News viewers and radio talk show listeners think that the protesters in Syria have already effected regime change there.  Apparently nobody’s told Syria's Bashar al-Assad that he’s out of work and, chances are, he doesn’t watch Fox News. (Of course, to some folks, all those Middle Eastern types all look alike.  Al-Assad, Gadhafi, Mubarak… what’s the difference???)

Chances are, you’ve never lived in a “third world” country.  I have.

Chances are, you’ve never experienced the militarization of the local police before.  I have.

Chances are, you probably think that if you just mind your own business, don’t get too deeply involved and just spend your time doing your genealogy, everything will be all right.  It won’t.

When Thanksgiving rolls around in a few days, and you brush off your family group sheets and remember your Mayflower ancestors, remember also that they were Separatists and Dissenters. 

Whatever the "status quo" was at the time... they were not a part of it.

They were not the folks in power and they were not the folks in political control in their own country.  They had more in common with the folks at Davis who were pepper-sprayed than with the folks in uniform with the canisters. In many respects, they were much like the Occupy Wall Street (or Oakland, or Albany, or Boston or Paris.... well, you get the idea....) folks.

Oh no, you say... my Pilgrim folks were all about religion, not politics.  Quick reality check: in the 17th century, religion and politics were pretty much inseparable.  The concept of "separation of Church and State" was still a long way off.

Chances are, there were also powerful folks in England in 1620 who thought that those annoyingly scruffy Mayflower passengers could greatly improve their lot in life if they’d just take a bath and get a job.

Sound familiar?


  1. I wonder how the Revolutionary War would have turned out if today's people were alive at that time. We sound a lot more like loyalists these days than revolutionaries. Great piece, as always.

  2. Thank you for a great way to start my blog reading this morning. still chuckling. I was expecting a post about how to spice up my turkey with some hot pepper. This was much better!

  3. Thanks for a point of view that isn't often expressed. I loved how you tied all of the elements together. Great post! (BTW - my son-in-law is from Venezuela. Can you say Chavez? I can identify with what you said about a militarized police force).

  4. I bookmarked your blog quite some time ago and am finally getting around to perusing it. Plan to use some of your great tips on organizing my photos from several branches of the family tree. As a food blogger, I sometimes find a way to work a little family history into a post. My last post mentioned my Mayflower history.