The First Thanksgiving: How the history affects the celebration of the holiday today.

  In 1620, the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. During their first winter, half of the original 102 passengers died. At this point, they met a native to the continent and a member of the Patuxet tribe named Squanto. Squanto had been captured by an English sea captain and taken to London where he learned to speak English before escaping. Squanto taught the pilgrims many things that proved key to their survival including how to plant corn. He also helped them make an alliance with the local Wamponoag tribe. When the first corn harvest was successful, the pilgrims held a celebratory feast of thanksgiving and invited a group of members of the Wamonoag tribe including the chief Massasoit. 

We do not know exactly what was served at this meal. We do know that William Bradford sent four men “fowling” but we do not know what birds they were hunting. The idea of turkey comes about because of the vast number of turkeys in that region. We also know the Wamponoags brought five deer as a gift to the dinner. Besides this, we can assume they ate many crops and vegetables native to the area. We also understand that there would have been no desserts because the pilgrims lacked any kind of oven.

This meal was not called “Thanksgiving,” but the purpose of it was to give thanksgiving to God for what He had provided them with. This meal was by no means “the first thanksgiving”. It is more likely copied off of some European thanksgiving celebration. The meal set a sort of precedent among the new colonies, and it continued to be celebrated in different places throughout the coming years. After the Revolutionary War, multiple presidents dedicated days of thanksgiving. In 1817, New York became the first state to declare an official day of thanksgiving. Finally, in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln encouraged the last Thursday in November to be a day of thanksgiving and to pray for the ongoing war effort. Since then, except for a few years during the Great Depression, Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the last Thursday in November. 

  One of the important things to think about when you celebrate a holiday is, what are you actually celebrating? Put simply, Thanksgiving is a national day where we are encouraged to be thankful. We are also celebrating and remembering the meal that the Wamonoag tribe and the Pilgrims shared together. Some people seem to take offense at this second portion of the holiday. The argument seems to be that it is falsely painting Native American and European relations. 

When we celebrate thanksgiving we are celebrating the moment of peace: the meal that was shared between two peoples. We are not denying the war between them, or the atrocious acts of violence. It is a day where we give thanks for the peace we do have. This does not mean things are perfect. They are far from that. But I believe it is healthy in the midst of whatever trial or sad event currently controls your life to stop and to be able to be thankful for one thing you have been blessed with.

Sources: Britannica, History.com

Pineapple on Pizza: A lighthearted perspective on the opinions and origins of Hawaiian pizza.

Pineapple Pizza–my ears hurt at its mention. How does that even work? Have you heard of people putting raspberry jam on asparagus? Or caramel on sausages? It is so simple. Fruit does not belong on pizza. Just like vegetables do not belong on ice cream. For example, brussels sprout ice cream would be disgusting.

Most importantly, pineapple pizza goes against the natural order of creation. Creation has set rules. There are such things as universal laws. Things that go up must come down.

In the same way, certain things just don’t mix like water and oil. A lesser known but still important rule is tomato, cheese, and pineapple don’t go together. If you were offered a bowl of smashed tomatoes, melty cheese, and pineapple, would you be ready to scarf down the bowl of tomato, cheese and pineapple goodness?

For some reason, when a person is handed the same combination on a pizza, it is okay. I am here to tell you that it does not belong on pizza!

Every time I see someone eating pineapple pizza, I just sadly shake my head and think, “Poor sad lost soul.” It would be understandable if you thought I was disrespecting Hawaiian culture by saying this, but did you know Hawaiian pizza has nothing, I repeat nothing, to do with Hawaii? It was invented by a Greek born

Canadian, by the name of Sam Panopoulos. Panopoulos invented it in his diner in Canada. I have nothing against this man. I am sure he was a great father and husband. I am sure he worked hard. 

I have no doubt he was a wonderful human being. But, why oh why, did he have to come up with such a despicable version of pizza? Here’s my point, the pizza you’re eating, besides tasting lousy, is a lie. It has nothing to do with Hawaii, except for the pineapples, and that is a stereotype.

Pineapples originally came from South America, and many pineapples are still produced there. So, this pizza should be called Canadian pizza because that’s where it was invented. I guarantee, if it was called that, sales would drop 50%. Canadian pizza just doesn’t have the same ring.

They say it is important to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to understand other perspectives. I will try to do this. Why would I, or a person in general, enjoy this pizza? As the completely objective, unbiased person I am pretending to be for the moment, I should be able to think of a reason. Maybe it is because they like tomatoes with pineapple. I somehow doubt this. And I also doubt people like pineapple and cheese together.

The funny thing is the more I think about it the more I can’t think of a reason. Why would somebody want to eat a random bunch of edible items all jumbled together on some crust flatbread? All the people I have asked always say, “I just like it.” However, I haven’t met anyone who can give a reason.

I wonder if it’s kind of like other things people enjoy that make no sense. Soap operas, guacamole, which should be called smashed avocados, WWE, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, communism, cable news, musicals except for the “Sound of Music,” sweet potatoes, a rip off on real potatoes, weightlifting, or working out in general for that matter, late night television and basically most, if not all, pop music fall into this category. Why people enjoy these and about a million other things I don’t know. I guess I will just have to add pineapple pizza to this list.

I want to close by saying if you disagree, please email me. Maybe I will be able to show you your mistake and put you back on the right path. It is never too late to make a change.

 

Sources: Tasting Table

Movie Spotlight: “Sunset Boulevard”: A look at a Hollywood classic.

Two weeks ago, I went to watch the 1950’s film, “Sunset Blvd.” at a local theater. Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes. From the trailer, it seemed like the usual depressing, dialogue-ridden, black and white noir film. To both my suprise and delight, it was something different.

I must make the assumption in writing this that most of you haven’t watched “Sunset Blvd.” Though it is a Hollywood “classic”, I have yet to run into someone who has seen it. The film is about the movie industry, hence the caption, “A Hollywood Story”. William Holden plays a struggling screenwriter, who has given up on producing art because of his struggle to make money. When the creditors from the bank come to take his car, he becomes desperate and becomes entangled with aging film star Norma Desmond. This leads him down a rabbit hole of sometimes strange, and often tragic story twists.   

 All of the acting in the film is quite superb, but Gloria Swanson’s performance as Norma Desmond overshadows everyone. She plays a film star from the silent area, who was swept to the side when “talkies”, movies with sound, became mainstream. I found the similarities between her character and Charles Dickens’s Miss Havisham quite striking. My suspicions were confirmed when William Holden’s character made a reference to their similarities. 

In essence, Norma Desmond is a modern Miss. Havisham. She lives in the past, she still believes herself to still be a great start, and she is very bitter. She watches her own movies over and over, and her house is covered in photos of herself. 

Actress, Gloria Swanson, does a simply remarkable job of portraying this fading star, who is yearning for love and praise. Her ability to act as a silent star, in a movie that involves sound, is more than impressive. Gloria Swanson had been a silent actress herself, and Sunset Blvd. was a return to the screen for her, so in a way, her acting was reflecting a slice of reality. 

But Gloria Swanson is not the only reason to watch this movie, Billy Wilder directing is also praiseworthy. His camera work is crisp and smooth. His shadowy atmospheres contribute immensely to the movie’s darker themes, of greed and pride.

Another fascinating aspect of the movie is its narration. I hate films with narrators. So often they are used as a shortcut to make up for visual deficiencies. In a film, the director is supposed to show the audience an image. He is not supposed to tell them what to think about the image. The image should speak for itself. Somehow, William Holden’s narration is quite convincing, and actually adds another layer of complexity. 

Greed seems to be the central theme of the film. Each character is interested in themselves and their careers. Every action taken by a character is motivated by greed. William Holden’s character is willing to sacrifice too much for his dreams of wealth. It is also a warning against living outside of reality. Like a classic noir film, the ending is not pleasant. But the closing scene, (which I will not spoil), is one of the most fascinating and dramatic endings to a film I have ever watched. Not to mention one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history.

The Supply Crisis: A student weighs in on lack of supplies and lack of urgency

I don’t think anyone can deny there are supply shortages. Why they are happening, and how drastic they are, is certainly up for debate, but all across the spectrum, from CBS, to CNN, to Fox News, there are reports. Photos emerged over the last week showing massive amounts of ships sitting idle off the coast of California. But this event is just one instance among many, of supply chain problems. Over the past year we have had rising prices, and low unemployment. This situation economists call stagflation. It is caused by a drop in short run aggregate supply.

 One of the reasons for this drop is that businesses are struggling to find workers. During Covid, the government issued multiple stimulus checks, and increased unemployment benefits. This can certainly be argued as fair considering the government prevented many industries from reopening. But as business started reopening, government stimulus and benefits did not decrease at the same rate. This caused a problem. For many lower income workers, going back to work made them earn less. Their income was less than the government unemployment benefits. It made sense for them to stay home and be paid more in benefits. As more workers stayed home, employers had trouble finding employees, which led to less productivity, which began to cause supply shortages.

There is an opposing idea that this shortage is due to rising demand. This is partially true. It does seem like as people have come out of lockdowns, they have been more willing to spend money on things they were too scared to during Covid. Also, with all the stimulus money, people have had more to spend. But there is no denying the supply shortages all over the world.  

 One of the main reasons for the supply shortage is the shipping crisis. During shutdowns, shipping became backed up and delayed. This caused shortages for companies who then in turn could not supply goods to other companies. Before long, the entire supply chain began to fray.

 There is a large shortage of computer chips. Nearly 75% of computer chips are made in Asia. Because international shipping is not in sync, many U.S. companies cannot obtain the number of chips they need in order to produce what customers demand.

While the Biden administration says they are committed to sorting out the supply chain, transportation secretary, Pete Budigiug, was just given paternity leave. It does seem a bit strange that while our nation is experiencing what could be considered a supply chain crisis, our secretary of transportation is out on paternity leave.

So, who is responsible for this problem? I don’t think it is one individual, but it does seem that the shutdown may have longer lasting effects than we thought. You cannot just turn an economy on and off like a faucet. Supply chains are complex, and when parts are shut down the whole can collapse. It seems like the right course of action going forward would be to open the economy up as close to normal as possible, as fast as possible, and to encourage people to return to their jobs. This would involve cutting down restrictions on businesses, and not offering additional benefits to unemployed workers. 

Scourse: CNN, Fox news, CBS, USA today

Acknowledging Bias in News Outlets: Calling for open and honest discourse across the political aisle.

On August 29, the US ordered a drone strike on a suspected ISIS-K target, in Afghanistan. This is about a month after Biden pulled America out of Afghanistan in a chaotic and messy operation. In the aftermath of the strike, the target turned out not to be an ISIS-K target, but a vehicle containing 10 civilians, seven of whom were children. All of these civilians were from the same extended family. This event caused outrage among conservatives while it only garnered minimal reporting attention from liberals. I counted three articles on MSNBC related to the Kabul drone strike, compared to nine on Fox News. 

In an article, MSNBC did not connect the botched strike to the Biden administration until the second to last paragraph and then very vaguely, while most Fox News articles mentioned Biden and his administration in the first or second paragraph. I was interested in finding out what the reporting would look like on botched military activities under a republican president. 

After a little research I found that the first military raid under Donald Trump had resulted in the death of thirty civilians. I found scathing articles from MSNBC and The Independent, which both connected the incident to Trump in the first paragraph. On the other hand, I was unable to find reporting of this event on some of the main conservative websites, meaning it must have either been reported sparsely, or perhaps not at all. 

This brings up a point that bugs me about politics, they are too political. Over and over, it is the same story. When my opponent’s party is in the White House, I get outraged when civilians are killed. When my own party’s president is in the White House, I don’t mind civilians getting killed, after all, it’s just another part of war. We see this in most reporting in the general mainstream media among both conservative and liberal outlets. Even the most prestigious news agencies on both sides of the aisle fall into this trap. Worst of all, the outlets that claim to be neutral, (CNN), are blatantly biased. Both Media Bias Fact Check and Allsides.com have categorized CNN as having left leaning bias.   

It is interesting that many people trust one news source and believe anything their one particular source says. The people who watch Fox News and believe what their favorite anchor says, and vice versa with MSNBC. Even worse, people only believe what CNN says because they are “neutral”. Biases are natural, and so there is no news organization that is free from it. This is why it’s important to read a variety of views on an issue. There is no one consistent source of truth when it comes to news. 

If you’re a conservative, you might want to remember that President Biden is not the one flying the drone, or probably authorizing the strike. If you’re liberal, you might want to report on the fact that this is happening under the Biden presidency and perhaps even because of policy he has put in place. The killing of innocent civilians, especially children, is always a terrible event. But let us remember to feel pity for these civilians whenever this happens, not just when the opposing party is in power. We must also remember that this is warfare, and there are terrible situations where civilians will inevitably become casualties. 

Truth is at great risk in our society. Lies are everywhere. Both sides of the political aisle accuse the other of lying. Let us attempt to rise above politics and put truth first. I don’t mean abandon principle, but I do mean search out the truth, and be willing to admit that we are wrong. Admitting we are wrong when we are, is the only road to finding out what is true. We must do this because who wants to believe a lie?   

Sources: Allsides.com, CNN, Fox News, Media Bias Fact Check, MSNBC, and The Independent.

Is It Really Pro-Choice?: A critical review of the pro-choice movement.

  Recently, Texas passed its controversial “heartbeat” law, banning all abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected. As usual, with any law involving abortion, the winning side, conservatives, praised the law, and the losing side, liberals, criticized it. The usual phrases, murder, constitutional right, fetus, child, pro-choice, pro-life, have all been thrown around in the media. As I drove home from college, I turned on NPR, and heard reports of doctors crying because they could not complete the number of abortions demanded at the last minute by mothers. “What will these desperate women do?” a worried NPR anchor said. What she seemed to be saying was, “these women will be forced to raise their unwanted children”. 

 Our society has decided that abortion is the best option for an unwanted pregnancy. According to Planned Parenthood, 4 in 10 women with unplanned pregnancies choose an abortion, and 1 in 4 women have an abortion by the age of forty-five. Abortion is considered normal, rational, and even loving, as suggested by Planned Parenthood’s website. But is it really? Many women regret their abortions and suffer emotionally from their decision for years. There has not been a clearly defined statement released by the government as to when a human becomes a human and is given rights. The legal question remains: up to what point can an abortion be performed? Can a full-term newborn baby be killed if the parents do not want it? Finally, the actual facts about what an abortion is, how much pain a fetus suffers, and what is used in the process of aborting babies, is often not explained to the mother receiving the abortion. In addition, the physical pain, health hazards and emotional fallout for the mother are mostly ignored. 

Despite these facts, our government continues to put abortion first and foremost in its funding. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, Planned Parenthood receives 543.7 million dollars through a combination of title X, Medicaid, and multiple other government programs. By contrast, the government’s main way of funding adoption, which many argue is a better option to abortion, is through tax credits.  Parents who adopt a child receive a onetime $10,000 tax credit, but the government gives very minimal, if anything at all, to the adoption agencies themselves. In a nation where 47% of the population identifies as pro-life, according to Gallup polling, the government continues to direct most funding solely towards abortion. If the government is going to spend millions of dollars on unwanted pregnancies, maybe they could distribute it a little more evenly between the options of abortion and adoption. A private adoption costs around, $20,000- $45,000, while an abortion costs between up to $1,500. 

     Many women struggle to find alternatives to abortion. The very name pro-choice would suggest offering more than one choice.  But how can a woman make the right decision if she is faced with the option of only aborting or raising her child alone? If we are going to become the pro-choice, open society, we are encouraged to be, we must first, be honest and open about what abortion really is, and second, we must give women alternatives to abortion, so that they have all the information and options to make an informed and ethical decision.