Occupy Thanksgiving: A Message of Hope, Redemption, and Dada


In a time of 9 percent unemployment, a faltering global economy, toxic levels of political rancor, and the release of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, is there anything left to be thankful for?

Reason offers a message of hope, redemption, and dada.

About 30 seconds. Produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie.

Key moments in Thanksgiving history:

1621: Pilgrims in Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts and Wampanoag Indians celebrate a harvest feast that is generally acknowledged as the precursor to Thanksgiving.

1675-1676: About 40 percent of Wampanoag tribe killed by colonists and other Indians during King Phillip's War.

1777: During Revolutionary War, Continental Congress makes first Thanksgiving proclamation, declaring December 18 a day that no work should be done or fun should be had, thus paving the way for the contemporary tradition of spending time with family and watching dull NFL games featuring the Detroit Lions. The original declaration instructs "That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times innocent, may be unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion."

1863: Abraham Lincoln sets the last Thursday in November as the date for a national holiday dedicated to the idea that even with the Civil War raging, things had been going pretty well when you got right down to it: "Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom."

1915: Preacher William Simmons and 15 others revived the Ku Klux Klan by burning a cross on Georgia's Stone Mountain on Thanksgiving, tying the event to the Atlanta opening the following week of D.W. Griffith's pro-Klan movie, The Birth of a Nation.

1924: First Macy's Day Parade held in New York City featuring live animals on floats. After multiple episodes of tigers and bears eating beauty queens and local politicians, the animals are replaced in 1927 with balloons of Felix the Cat and other characters.

1939: In a bid to lengthen the Christmas retail season, Franklin Roosevelt unilaterally declared Thanksgiving would take place on the third Thursday in November rather than the last, thus giving rise to what was derided as "Franksgiving" and what lives on as Black Friday. In 1941, federal legislation declared Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, marking the last time that Congress passed a law that didn't cost future generations a lot of money.

1987: Ronald Reagan initiates the custom of publicly pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving; lives to regret it when George H.W. Bush succeeds him as president. Subsequent presidents pardon two turkeys each holiday, because two is twice as good as one.

2009: President Barack Obama fattens turkeys with stimulus dollars, predicts swift end to surprisingly persistent economic downturn that he inherited from previous occupant.

2011: In a bid to appeal to GOP voters, free-falling Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry of Texas refuses to review clemency requests and approves the execution of innocent turkeys. For the purposes of school-lunch programs, federal government declares pizza a vegetable and pepper spray a condiment for educational institutions.

Sources: Wikipedia,, Fevered Imagination.


NEXT: What Part of Deficit Reduction Does Congress Not Understand?

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  1. After multiple episodes of tigers and bears eating beauty queens and local politicians, the animals are replaced in 1927 with balloons of Felix the Cat and other characters.

    If they go back to doing it the old way, maybe I’d watch the parade.

    Nah, college football is on. Fuck parades.

    1. Wardrobe malfunctions would draw a wider audience, and get more press.

  2. Favorite Thanksgiving foods, guys?

    Pickled Peaches, for me.

    1. Is that code for something?

      1. Did you lose your secret Reason decoder ring?

    2. Your mom.

    3. The blood of the slain.

    4. Whatever Jamie Oliver won’t publicly shame me for eating.

    5. My mom’s sausage stuffing.

      Seriously, you see God when you eat that stuff.

  3. How could you leave out the 1978 episode of WKRP in Cincinnati?

    1. “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” is still one of the funniest lines ever uttered on network television.

  4. The 1777 Congress may not have recommended “fun,” but they didn’t recommend the Detroit Lions, either:

    “It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; ”that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor”; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance,” etc.

    1. Insert joke about watching [name of bad football team] as form of penance for sins, etc.

  5. Happy Thanksgiving to all REASON writers and readers!

    1. Hear hear! Happy Thanksgiving to all of the writers and readers at Reason.

      Except for Tony. Screw him.

  6. This article is just begging for White Indian comment spam

    1. With gamboling turkeys!
      (until I shoot one of ’em)

  7. Ahem. After a quick look-see of the Thanksgiving (United States) Wiki page:

    The first documented thanksgiving feasts in territory currently belonging to the United States were conducted by Spaniards in the 16th century.[8][9][10] Thanksgiving services were routine in what was to become the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607,[11] with the first permanent settlement of Jamestown, Virginia holding a thanksgiving in 1610.[8]

    On December 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred, which comprised about 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) on the north bank of the James River, near Herring Creek, in an area then known as Charles Cittie, about 20 miles (32 km) upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia had been established on May 14, 1607.

    The group’s charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a “day of thanksgiving” to God. On that first day, Captain John Woodlief held the service of thanksgiving. As quoted from the section of the Charter of Berkeley Hundred specifying the thanksgiving service: “We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”[12]

    During the Indian massacre of 1622, nine of the settlers at Berkeley Hundreds were killed, as well as about a third of the entire population of the Virginia Colony. The Berkeley Hundred site and other outlying locations were abandoned as the colonists withdrew to Jamestown and other more secure points.

  8. Will Reason be posting an “Occupy Ramadan” an “Occupy Hanukkah” an “Occupy Yom Kippur” an “Occupy Festivus” an “Occupy Kwanzaa” so on and so forth, as well?

    1. Occupy Robonukkah

    2. Occupy Christmahanukkwanzadanwalifest.

  9. After multiple episodes of tigers and bears eating beauty queens and local politicians, the animals are replaced

    Did this happen because of proto-PETA activists who lobbied for healthier food for the poor animals?

  10. Pilgrim Girl vs Lobster Girl

  11. Let me just point out that this year the Lions are pretty good, and they’re playing the 10-0 Packers on Thanksgiving. Should be a good game. And the 9-1 Niners are playing the 7-3 Ravens in the Harbaugh-bowl. Go Niners!!

    I plan to have fun watching those games!!

    Happy Thanksgiving, all.

  12. For the purposes of school-lunch programs, federal government declares pizza a vegetable and pepper spray a condiment for educational institutions.

    The irony of the “ketchup is not a vegetable” movement is that most of the participants would campaign for counting tofu as meat.

    1. these days it would be tempeh.

      tofu for today’s hipster vegans

  13. Good Food, Good Meat
    Good God
    Let’s Eat!

  14. What a fun pattern! It’s great to hear from you and see what you’ve sent up to. All of the projects look great! You make it so simple to this. Thanks

  15. After multiple episodes of tigers and bears eating beauty queens and local politicians, the animals are replaced

    When I eat a beauty queen I always shit politicians, that’s why I quit eating beauty queens.

  16. I tried to think so, but I found it was not as the same in the actual process. As you mentioned, I still have doubts, but really thank you for sharing!

  17. thank you for sharing..
    Nice blog post.

  18. test

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