Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Thanksgiving Story

I like Thanksgiving because the holiday brings family and friends together to enjoy conversation, down-home cooking, and contemplation about what we are thankful for in our lives.  Of course, we embrace the mythic aspects of the holiday-- the underbelly of the historically dubious Thanksgiving story involves the genocide of Native Americans by a swarm of religiously conservative castaways from Europe, and a near future legacy of enslavement of people, destruction of nature, and global military dominion.  And then there is the horrific modern invention of Black Friday, which is nothing short of a consumerist zombie-orgy-- capitalist diarrhea.

Nonetheless, the holiday is grand if you are not working retail, or eating alone.  Most Americans choose to spin the holiday in a positive direction, and focus on gratitude.  I like to extrapolate the underlying message of Thanksgiving-- that we are all immigrants in this world, with something to bring to the table to share with others.  

I created this piece, “Undocumented Pilgrim,” in 2006.  It was published in American Illustration 26.  It hangs in my apartment, and I’m not sure if I ever want to part with it.  In my mind, the greatest thing about living in an American city is the rainbow of cultures represented in a metropolitan area.  With the exception of Native Americans, all Americans descended from immigrants.  Thanksgiving is an immigrant story.