Thanksgiving is a controversial holiday, amongst skeptics because it insinuates that one is thanking a deity and amongst normal people because it celebrates a mythical friendship between Europeans and the people they slaughtered.
I think the former concern is stupid (feeling grateful for things has nothing to do with a god) but the latter concern is valid and important to acknowledge. The thing is, I like Thanksgiving in the way I celebrate it, anyway, just as I like Christmas despite disliking all the Jesus stuff people still vainly try to attach to it. I like a holiday where I’m reminded of all the ways in which I have a pretty great life — in a way, I think of Thanksgiving as the ultimate privilege-checking holiday. (Ironically, I can see it that way because I’m not Native American.)
Anyway, I guess my goal is to acknowledge how problematic the holiday is while still going ahead and using it as an opportunity to talk about what I’m thankful for. My list is probably a lot like many of yours, if you happen to be as lucky as me: friends, family, a home, a loving partner, the world’s greatest cats, an amazing team of Skepchick Network contributors (admittedly you may not have direct access to them all like I have, but I hope you’re also thankful for them. These sites wouldn’t exist without them.) My aunt died this week and I made a last-minute decision to drive 8 hours to see the family, thanks to my friends Gary and Jeff lending me their zippy little car. I can only stay for a day before I have to head back to prep for a flight to Australia, but then, I’m thankful for that, too.
I’m thankful to the many conference organizers who invited me out this year, sometimes despite intense pressure from my haters to not do so. I’m thankful to all the audiences I addressed, who were all enthusiastic and supportive. I’m also incredibly thankful to all the people who wrote me supportive comments, messages, and emails. There were far too many to thank individually, particularly after my Slate article (maybe once I stop traveling I’ll have time to try anyway), so I hope this suffices for now. I read and appreciated every one.
I gotta run now because my dad’s gonna teach me how to play the drums. He swears I can learn but frankly he overestimates my talents and/or his teaching abilities. But I’m thankful he’s willing to try.
Terrifying but cruelty-free turkey image from here