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Squid #63
(published Late in the Year, 2001)
Ask The Giant Squid: "an Indian, digged by some out of his grave"; or, an Absolutely True Account of the History of the ThankYouGiving Day (except the bit about the Spider God, which is educated conjecture)
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
Why do I have to return to this boring job after a wonderful holiday? It feels bad!

Bart Manumission

Dear Bart:

There is a cherry blossom innocence to your country and its beloved Holy Days, especially this Thankyou-Giving time of torn flesh and feasting. Here in this motorized city on the river of Detroit, I spy with my immaculate eye a thousand monkey-spawn in their educational institutions (desperately decrepit buildings though they may be) as they drape themselves in black construction paper hats, shouldering their tiny cardboard blunderbusses, hunting their hand-print turkeys and jolly-gagging about with others dressed as stone-age native tribesmen.

It tenders me, as a muscle-steak beaten with a wooden mallet.

"The Pilgrims and their Indian Brothers." Oh, joy! Luscious and multi-hued happiness grip me now for mankind has embraced each other in comradeship and pleasant peace! The kinds of men and women, whether they be of light meat or dark, together as one people, sit about a magnificent feasting board topped high and precarious with roasted flesh and tender pastries of fruit and squash-flesh! Great giant balloon-men stalk the streets of New York with monstrous grins and candy corn! Likewise, puff-padded young men on fields of green play at mock battles for the amusement of millions. Hunger and fear and war, all conquered and forgotten. Joy! So much to thank the great Monkey God for! So much prayer of pleasingness to spread! Let me share with you my puppy-dog feasts, friend Americana!

I click my beak, even now, with derision.

In 1620, in the Newer England-Land, religious refugees starved and fought and nipped at each other for petty offenses all winter long for they were stupid and ill-equipped for the harsh landscape-Americana. In 1621, luck was with them, and a good harvest was brought in. One of those describes the festival as follows:

Edward Winslow, Of Plymouth Plantation :

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

And that, little simian boys and girls, was the very first ThankYou Very Much Feasting Day. And it did not happen again. It was forgotten. The Indians, quickly, were cast out the following year and all was as before. Then in 1623, during a severe drought, the Black hatted monkey-priests with their shoe buckles and their horn-mouthed firearms, gathered in a prayer service, praying for rain. When a long pelting rain followed that very following day, Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of Thanksgiving, again inviting their "Indian friends". And again, once the bones were picked and cookies crumpled, it was all forgotten. It was not until June of 1676 that another Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed.

October of 1777 marked the first time that all 13 colonies joined in a Thankstogiving celebration. It also commemorated the patriotic victory over the British at Saratoga. Yet this PleaseandThankYouGiving was, as before, another one-time affair. Stopping short, each time . . . afraid of the holiday as much as they wished to continue. And as we see, the Indians drift out of the picture with each passing celebration.

George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789. Again, only a singular affair. No Indians, just the heads of several British Officers used as soup-tureens.

Finally, in 1823, a strapping and powerful female of the species, Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of the acclaimed Boston Ladies Magazine began a forty year editorial campaign for the establishment of an official day of national ToThankYou. Finally in 1863, your El Presidento who, in spirit, I but recently vanquished with my spiny steel-encased tentacles on the field of the mall in Washingtonia Deca, the physical manifestation of the Spider God with his long woolen limbs and his mandibulae obscured beneath the beard, the Abraham Pagan Lincoln, theosophist and sacrificial lamb, declared that the last Thursday in November would be a national and recurring day of Thanksgiving. The observant reader (ah, but are there any such readers among your species?) might note with interest that Thursday is "Thor's Day", named for the great and terrible Fighting God of the Frozen Norseman. Our blood runs forever war-ward, does it not?

A cripple, some years later, at the behest of certain mercantile interests, moved the day to the Third Thursday Day of the Eleventh Month so as to more adequately maximize the Coca-Cola International Non-Denominational Christian Buying Season known in many circles as X-Mas.

And that, ape children, whose sub-cutaneous fatty fascia is to me so delectable, is the official story of your Feasting Holiday.

But I, the great Architeuthis Dux, am left with a gullet packed with interrogatives. Why sporadic? Why Indians once and again, but never consistently? Why feasting? But, that which most floats to the fore of my great and terrible brain-part are those settlers of the America Colonial who predated the starving Pilgrims: the Starving Virginian Men. The Starving Men of Virginia whose crimes were so monstrous and so magnificent in the eyes of the Dark Ones of the Deep, that . . . Ah, but I again am placing the cart before the drag-monkey, am I not?

Note Well: In the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the winter of 1609-1610, there passed a "starving time" during which, crazed for want of food, the primate-sea-farers who you call "Our Forefathers" roamed the woods searching for nuts and berries, dug up graves to eat the corpses, and died in batches until five hundred colonists withered to sixty.

In the Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia is a document of 1619 which tells of the first twelve years of the Jamestown colony. The first settlement had a hundred persons, who had one small ladle of barley per meal. When more people arrived, there was even less food. Many of the people lived in cavelike holes dug into the ground, and in the winter of 1609-1610, they were

" . . . driven through insufferable hunger to eat those things which nature most abhorred, the flesh and excrements of man as well of our own nation as of an Indian, digged by some out of his grave after he had laid buried there days and wholly devoured him; others, envying the better state of body of any whom hunger has not yet so much wasted as their own, lay wait and threatened to kill and eat them; one among them slew his wife as she slept in his bosom, cut her in pieces, salted her and fed upon her till he had clean devoured all parts saving her head . . ."

The "First" Thanksgiving was but a ruse, my gentle reader-friends. It was a sacred feast of remembrance, made mock and cruel by the invitation of the Indians. They were invited in brotherhood so as to display before them the opulence and glory that would be denied them in the years to come, and to quietly laugh at their more central role in feasts of years gone by. The Pilgrims were acting out a petty play of black magic in front of, with the assistance of, their once and future victims. It was a binding spell, homeopathic in its intentions, to fight the success of the Indians with a kind of sympathetic magic. The fear was that these native people would be rich and fat in the landscape Americana, and by their wealth defeat the colonists. So, a multi-century ritual was devised to fight their full bellies with full bellies. The Thanksgiving Day only in those years when the Indian Man and his people lay defeated, which is why the Thanksgiving was so sporadic in the early years of the Colonies and the Republic. As the native strength waned, with it grew the power of the Light Day of Food and turkey.

The original DarkGiving of the Jamestown colony is the real Thanksgiving. It is of white men roaming the forest as silvery tigers, their faces flickering as ghosts in the torchlight, stalking the meaty flesh of the native people, and of their own wives and children. It is a ritual devouring by the white man to prepare him for the future conquest. The heads of his enemies, even now, float in brine buckets awaiting the lean times, their puffy jowels and plump lips like the soft meat of a drumstick or gibblet waiting for the roasting fire of the oven.

Lincoln understood this. He understood that the Indian Wars were fading and that the tide had turned. He knew that we could best now honor our avenging god, the multi-faced deity of destruction that he only personified in one form, would be best loved through the mockery and cultural dissolution of the savage.

And so now, down there in the elementary schools of Michigan, the little boys in their black construction paper hats roam the playground stalking their red-painted friends, and they eat together the hand print turkeys in a passion play of secrets. The Bird itself, once roasted, is pink-to-red in color, with a crest on its head not unlike the ceremonial garb of the Iroquois or Huron, crests on the men made of horeshair and porcupine quills. When they sit down together, the Indian and the White Man, in the figure of the bird they are both eating the ancestors of the savage. Did the Plymouth Natives smile as they feasted on the transubstantiated flesh of their Virginian brothers? Or do they know? Did they know? Is there some greater plan, some secret within the secret which shall someday turn the tables from Indian, to White Man, back finally to Indian again?

Lincoln was reportedly, on top of all other things, of Melungeon descent. That would make him, reportedly, some portion Cherokee. Was he playing at both sides, advancing one and then the other, but always at the beckon of his dark lord who is sometimes seen in the form of the Spider?

Ah . . . Bartholomew, even I do not know the answers.

Revel in your holiday. Feast upon the roasted flesh and make your belly fat and satisfied as you sip at beer and watch the footed ball games upon your Vision-Tele. But as you walk the woods behind your mother's home, as you push through the brown and gray landscape smelling the crisp autumn air, know you this: You are now master of that landscape, and like those ancient colonists in Virginia, it is the Indian Man who lurks in a starving time many winters long. Does he now stalk you through the woods? Does he now dig up your grave? And is it he who slowly chews at the flesh of his wife's face, growing stronger with each bite, and through the horror of his actions stealing himself against the day that you, Bartholomew, The White Man, shall fall to his fist and die and be invited to his dinner where a great white sow is feasted upon and you laugh not knowing that already your time in this landscape has ended by way of an ancient pact with chaos itself?

Sleep well, Bartholomew. Work hard at your petty job. Savor the cranberried relish and the mashed tubers and the GRAY-VEE. It may indeed be your last.

Yours sincerely,

The Giant Squid


  • Wilson, Jerry. "The Thanksgiving Story."
    Note especially the 1676 Proclamation of Thanksgiving. Quite an angry tone taken.

  • Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States of America: 1492-the present. Harper Collins:New York. 1995.

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