Thanksgiving is by far my least favorite holiday. The weather is always crappy, the subways and trains necessary for me to get to my family are packed to the gills with horrible people, and the food is wildly overrated. (Liz Berg and I agree: We'd take authentic Mexican with homemade mole sauce over turkey and stuffing in a heartbeat). Yep, there's nothing quite like honoring the first "settlers" of our great nation like waking up at the crack of dawn to put yourself through all of the above horrors, and then have to do it again on the way home that night, only now you're semi-drunk, full of food you didn't want to eat in the first place, and still mulling over the stupid argument you had with your father about the Iraq war. Oh yeah, and if you're like me, you have to get up for work the next morning. This New Yorker cover by Chris Ware (left) sums up the malaise pretty efficiently, I think.
Call me a crank (everyone else does), but I know I'm not alone when I say that Thanksgiving celebrations need a radical re-thinking. The holiday's problems can be approached from many directions -- the boring food, the travel headaches, the dubious history of the pilgrims, the fact that zillions of Americans use it as an excuse to pay lip-service to "the less fortunate" (but don't actually do anything to assist them), and dare we all forget that it gives the green light for every crappy radio station to start dropping Christmas music into rotation. Sorry Thanksgiving lovers, but there's really no argument to be had here; I've already carried out an extended internal dialog with myself and figured this all out while you were daydreaming about giblet gravy. What we need now is for someone more adept than I to put it all into real perspective. Someone with a knack for a gripping narrative. Someone with vocal timbre so arresting so as to freeze you in your tracks. And most important of all, someone for whom atmospheric trip-hop background music isn't so much a hobby as it is a lifestyle. Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for Joe Frank and an excerpt from his incredible Thanksgiving treatise entitled "Pilgrim".
More on Joe Frank here.