Categories
art Commentary

Yet More Redskins Stuff: Kudos To The New Yorker

This topic is becoming a recurring them on my blog, which isn’t exactly a bad thing.  Got to walk the walk if you talk the talk.

The New Yorker was rocking it last week. Now scroll down for the article link.
myer

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2014/11/24/beneath-the-covers-the-real-story-behind-the-new-yorkers-thanksgivingredskins-cover-so-arrogant-and-clueless-a-mascot-that-it-lends-itself-to-some-kind-of-exposure/

Categories
Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Food…For Thought

1965029_10153971409855237_1528491701_n

Way back in April, I followed a link to the awesome photo above, which itself had been taken from a twitter post by “Cleveland Frowns” and read through a few, mostly outraged, comments.  The overall tones of the discussion were understandably angry, with a strong dose of condemnation over the general disrespect and insensitivity of America’s Caucasian mainstream for our Native brothers and sisters.  The reactions varied between pity and calls for violence–if the post and comments are still available on line you can read some for yourself– as is generally the case with this discussion, which I’ve reviewed in various incarnations before.  Indeed, I’ve delved into the subject before, albeit from a more dispassionate perspective here, and then followed up here–decent posts that sum up my feelings and the road I took to get to them.

In the ensuing months, my opinion hasn’t changed–a country built on the ideals that I was taught to believe in–however idealized and romanticized those ideals might be, should not condone the continued, systematic humiliation and 741degradation of an entire race, especially given the historic, genocidal treatment of that race by the colonizing mainstream and their “Manifest Destiny.”  It’s important to remember that while Adolph Hitler and his Nazis were responsible for about 11 million non-combatant deaths (about 6 million of them Jews), the number of Native Americans killed during the period of American colonization is estimated to be as high as 80-90 million, with conservative numbers somewhere in the 50-60 million range.  And that’s no laughing matter.

Thanksgiving, the holiday during which we count our blessings, is a good time to take a deep breath and remember that there aren’t a whole lot of Native folks throwing down a turkey on the table and reminiscing about the good old days.  Many of us know that the Thanksgiving we learned about in school was pretty much invented during the Lincoln administration as a way to salve the divisions created by the civil war–a ploy to get folks to sit down and have a meal together and appreciate what we have.  Politically, it was genius–we’re still doing it today, right?  And isn’t it fun to consider that Honest Abe Lincoln is sort of the father of Black Friday?

But I digress.  More accurate–and quite fascinating, historically–accounts of the first Thanksgiving are available here and here.  You’ll note that the story wasn’t wildly changed from what we learned in school, but those changes were highly significant.  Those colonists, far from the first that the Wampanoag had encountered, were tolerated, if not enthusiastically welcomed, despite the previous visits and depredations (disease outbreaks, skirmishes, and the abduction of Natives who were pressed into slavery among them) largely because the pilgrims had women and children in their party–and it was decided that only peaceful people would travel with their women and children.  The Wampanoag held the pilgrim’s fates in their hands, and that tolerance and assistance allowed the colony to survive–but did they ever sit down and have a big, celebratory meal?  Not by native accounts.

That doesn’t mean Thanksgiving isn’t a good idea, but that we should look honestly at the truths behind our holiday as presented to us, and the solemn and violent history that has elapsed over the nearly 400 between then and now.  For many Native Americans, thanksgiving is considered a National Day of Mourning, and rightly so, but others look wistfully at the mythological incarnation of the holiday and less at the actual, depressing history and contemplate what the holiday can be, and what we as a people and as a nation could have been.   As quoted in the article cited below, Ramona Peters, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer said, “As a concept, a heartfelt Thanksgiving is very important to me as a person. It’s important that we give thanks. For me, it’s a state of being. You want to live in a state of thanksgiving, meaning that you use the creativity that the Creator gave you. You use your talents. You find out what those are and you cultivate them and that gives thanks in action.”

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I have to admit that I rarely give thought to pilgrims on Thanksgiving–except for those little accordion-fold paper turkey figures with the pilgrim hats and collars.  Love those.  Like most people, I’m thinking about getting together with distant family, sitting around drinking beer, scarfing shrimp cocktail and cheese and crackers, talking  whether there will be enough stuffing left over for seconds, maybe thirds (my capacity for stuffing is boundless), about apple pie, about going out to the lake to see the opening of the big Christmas Lights display, about how I wished I’d had the initiative to put up my own Christmas lights three days ago when it was warm because they’re calling for snow all week, and finally about football–and how in a short span of days–hours, really–everyone will disperse and go back to their far-flung lives, and how the holiday–any holiday that brings us together–never, ever lasts long enough.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/11/23/what-really-happened-first-thanksgiving-wampanoag-side-tale-and-whats-done-today-145807
Categories
Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 5 (late)

It’s actually the morning of Day 6 because, on the heels of my my vapid post ever I was too 1) Shell-shocked with shame, 2) Quietly Bemused, or 3) just distracted doing a bunch of other crap, that I didn’t the Day 5 post out.  On behalf of the entire Old Road Apples staff, which is pretty much me and the geriatric dog, we beg your forgiveness and understanding.

Bad puns, anachronistic but appealing garters and hose on the pilgrim lass, and foreshadowing of the coming strife betwixt colonist and indigenous, and some Freudian imagery –I dare say this photo has it all: history, pyschology and literary instruction as well as the obvious sex appeal.  God bless America and pass the sweet potatoes. Also, interestingly enough, not a turkey to be seen.
vintagethanksgiving12

Categories
Commentary

Football Thoughts 9/22

connerI had written a couple of football-themed posts last week, but faced with finishing them up and posting them here, I just wasn’t feeling it.

Perhaps it was because my beloved Steelers looked terrible over the first two weeks of the season, especially getting hammered by the hated Ravens in week 2–but I don’t so.

It’s been a real up and down season for my favorite teams.  The local high school has been masterful and dominant at home, with the players I knew personally having very good performances, but both of their away games have been resounding defeats. It’s good that they’re winning at home in front of family and friends, but those losses have to be just as difficult as the wins are gratifying.

My university alma mater, IUP, has been similarly up and down, losing an ugly one last week after an initial blowout win, then winning yesterday–albeit barely–over a feeble Lock Haven team.  It’s difficult to get excited about that, but until this weekend Pitt was chugging along behind an old school running back, James Conner, and a quarterback, Chad Voytik, with a heart of Everest proportions.  It is difficult not to cheer for a high character kid like Voytik, and his very young and inexperienced Pitt was 3-0 and looking like they’ll be competitive as the season moves. Still, they blew it Saturday against Iowa.  They just let it slip through their fingers  Pitt has been mediocre since–since forever, it seems–and just good enough to raise our hopes before dashing them with a late season collapse. I hope that’s not what we’re in for this season.

I realized Sunday that it is all the controversy over domestic violence and child-beating that has let the air out of my NFL fandom.  Jonathan Dwyer, the latest player to be accused, played for the Steelers until last year.  He allegedly gave a head-butt to his girlfriend when she turned him down for sex, then threw a shoe at their 18-month old for good measure. Not the best seduction tactic, eh? As numbskulls go, he’s worse than the spreadsheet guy. The idiot.

But seriously: you make a million bucks to play a child’s game, and you head butt a woman?  As I said: idiot.

He had a lot of promise, and a few good games, but never managed to stand out.  Still, I cheered for the guy.  I hate that most of all because I feel like I got played for a sucker. I hoped he’d get things going and succeed. Now, I hope to hear that he’s flipping burgers after a nice vacation in a very small room.

I was talking to a fellow today who was trying to make the point that lots of guys hit women and kids, not just football players, but the media goes after athletes because they’re famous–and because most of them are black.  While I wouldn’t rule out a racial factor in terms of enforcement, the argument that “lots of people do it” doesn’t carry a lot of water, and I told him so.

He said, “it’s that German word: Shay-don-froid.”

Schadenfreude?

“Yeh, that one.”

And I suppose it’s true.  Charles Barkley famously said that he was not a role model, and not coincidentally he has been one of Adrian Peterson’s more vocal supporters, taking the “its a southern black thing” route.  It makes me wonder how those folks feel, having Charles Barkley calling out the entire group as child abusers–but more importantly, Barkley is wrong about being a role model.  It’s not something he gets to choose, or dismiss.  Part of cashing that check and living in those rarefied heights–all for playing a child’s game–is the public stage.  For all an athlete would like to say that he gets paid to perform, not to be a celebrity, there’s a compact he’s making, an agreement to be our hero, to thrill us and disappoint us.  It should be no surprise, when they fail us so completely, not as athletes but as human beings, that we are compelled to cast upon them our amplified, collective scorn and disappointment.

Adrian Peterson has earned several hundred million dollars between his salary and his corporate sponsorships, all because people enjoy watching him run up and down a green carpet 16 weekends a year.  It’s a pretty good gig.

The Steelers played the late game, at 8:30 pm.  I wouldn’t have watched if it had been regular mid-afternoon game.  I had better things to do, like mulch the flower beds, and as it was I didn’t bother to raise my “Steel Nation” flag on the porch, but I did watch the game, though without my usual rapt attention.  There’s something about my fandom that died when Rice cold-cocked his fiancee, and I’m not sure that it’s going to grow back.  The Steelers won convincingly last night, with both LeVeon Bell and LaGarrette Blount running for over 100 yards–a rare feat, and just the sort of football I love: hard-nosed rushing.  At the end, I was pleased by not exhilarted, as I’ve been after some games.  I couldn’t help thinking of perspective: in the pre-season, the young, bone-headed Steelers running backs got busted for posession after firing up a joint in traffic, in broad daylight, in a fancy black camaro convertible–because nobody in Pittsburgh, a city that is not only still working out it’s racial issues, but as invested in it’s football team as any city in the nation, is going to notice a pair of  handsome, young, muscular African American dudes in an enviable car firing up a big joint at a red light.  Duh.  A lot of folks probably recognized these guys on sight.  There were calls for their suspensions after their arrest,  not so much for the drugs but for missing the team flight.  Now, compared to the alleged crimes of their NFL brethern, those charges are mentioned only as an afterthought, which actually is a good thing (but that’s another post).

Categories
Funny and/or Strange Uncategorized

Cannibalism at Jamestown

Researchers have found conclusive evidence of cannibalism at Jamestown, the earliest known site of European hubris in North America and, not coincidentally, the place where I was given my first and only tricorne hat. I’d been under the assumption that the flesh-eating Briton thing was understood. Those first colonists pretty much sucked at…um…colonizing.  Their attempts at agriculture were abysmal.  They tended to shoot at the local “savages,” who were, in turn, understandably reluctant to provide a pilgrim-style deus ex machina for the clueless white trespassers. The Virginians were, however, wildly proficient at dying.  They were aces at it, dying like mad.

Now, archeologists have determined that this cannibalism was unquestionably committed by the English settlers, because the meat was boiled down to a tasteless grey clump and served with sodden cabbage and a puddle of “pudding” on the side.

Knowing what we know about English cuisine, a good grilled slice of teenager was likely a welcome departure from all that boiled muck and internal organs.  It’s also possible that the adolescent whose gnawed bones were found, trapped in that tiny fort all winter, was just asking for it, sighing and complaining that nobody could possibly understand how she feels, not ever; leading her to be consumed in the way that grizzly bears sometimes eat people: not because they’re hungry, but…just because they can. Like saying “screw you” but with teeth and claws like pitchforks.

How could the English not be cannibals.  Just look at this guy:

Maybe this isn’t so far beyond the realm of imagination?