Archive for Thanksgiving

Banksgiving

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2016 by rgwallace

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dayton-turkeyThe explosion, at last, lies down. As if, though–the two drug enthusiasts who got in and out of its last moment insist–out of pity, rather than because it must. –China Miéville (2015)

A season’s greetings may mark as much a farewell as a salutation.

By a full-throated onamonapia we channel our near-national bird, which, when the other national holiday is upon us, is suddenly lined up for death in the millions. And gobble gobble we continue throughout the day–and into the new year–gnawing Viking drumsticks while watching Meat Packers bludgeon Rust Belt Steelers into what for the team owners are lucrative cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

By way of zooarchaeologist Stanley Olsen, Heather Horn dates our enthusiasm back before the country, to the Mayans, who among others domesticated the ocellated turkey long before the arrival of the conquistadors. Raising them caught on so wildly in Europe that the birds–mislabeled Turkey in origin by explorers who once thought themselves in India–were brought back to America by colonial Patriots bound for Massachusetts and Virginia.

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Breeding Influenza: The Political Virology of Offshore Farming

Posted in Evolution, Influenza, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by rgwallace

What better way to medicate against a holiday’s genocidal origins and the hunger now swelling worldwide in the wake of a banker-brought recession than with a bellyful of turkey, stuffing, yams, and pumpkin pie? Despite its dark ambiguities, Thanksgiving remains my favorite American holiday. Take a breath, eat well, love your family, make time for friends, and, a few drinks later, curse God, badmouth your boss, and regroup for the descent into winter. Here in Minneapolis, dusk is approaching its solstice nadir. Five in the afternoon and pitch black.

Thanksgiving obviously reminds us too of the pathogens the livestock breeding that produces the birds most of us will be chowing on also offers. If the bone breaks your way, you might with sardonic irony wish for a way out of this and subsequent pandemics. It isn’t, of course, merely a matter of a little luck (although that would help). There are due causes for the bad things that happen, often specifically related to the decisions people in power and in the money make. I believe we can think through these fixes and with enough courage to act in the face of threats to life and fortune change the world’s course.

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