Will Taylor Swift and the Rock save Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving fares poorly as a holiday in the 21st century.

Some people argue the holiday represents the oppression of Native Americans and the violent seizure of their land and resources by white, European colonists.

These people probably have a point. Certainly, our history is more complicated than the cartoonish myth of Native Americans and European colonists having a hearty turkey dinner.

Most stories told us as children are bunk. George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth. “Honest” Abe Lincoln almost certainly told a lie.

There’s no way Batman can beat Superman in a fight unless Superman agrees not to kill Batman with his heat vision from space.

I digress.

I doubt Americans are going to calmly discuss the flaws in our history.

We can’t even calmly discuss the officiating during a Kansas City Chiefs game.

Besides, Thanksgiving’s big problem is not its historical baggage.

Americans excel at seeing only what they want to see when it comes to history.

Thanksgiving’s big problem is that it has nothing to sell.

Halloween offers costumes, candy, and decorations.

The National Retail Federation estimated Americans spent $10 billion in advance of Halloween.

And Christmas? Christmas is used to sell everything else.

Americans are expected to spend $960.4 billion on Christmas this year, per the retail federation.

That’s “billion” with a “b.”

Bah humbug to inflation. Let’s shoot for $1 trillion.

Entire industries depend on how well they sell their wares during the Christmas season, which starts the day after Halloween.

Thanksgiving has become more like halftime in the middle of shopping a marathon spree.

I don’t know what can be done about it.

I love Thanksgiving.

Whatever its troubling historical roots may be, it celebrates my two favorite deadly sins: gluttony and sloth.

If the tryptophan in the turkey isn’t sedating me, surely watching the hideous Detroit Lions play well.

I like the food.

I hate the endless lists by alleged news outlets ranking the best side dishes.

I like the fellowship, even though in recent years I’ve favored a smaller celebration with Parents 2.0 and maybe one or two other relatives and friends.

I like football games, even though the games are usually terrible.

Food, fellowship, and football should be enough to make Thanksgiving second only to the Fourth of July in patriotism.

Instead, it’s a placeholder for Black Friday sales.

Another advantage Christmas has is movies and shows.

The Hallmark Channel plays nonstop saccharine holiday stories.

From “A Miracle on 34th Street” to “Die Hard,” people love their Christmas movies.

Thanksgiving has one great movie: “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”

Nobody throws that on a marathon on TBS the way they do “A Christmas Story.”

Charlie Brown has a Thanksgiving special, but it’s a pale imitation of the greatest holiday special of all time, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

So, what is Thanksgiving to do?

It needs juice. It needs pizazz. It needs hutzpah.

It needs a spokesman.

Christmas has Santa Claus.

Halloween has all the rest of the characters.

Thanksgiving needs to do some recruiting. It needs to find the voice that will sway Americans’ attention away from the glitter of Christmas and Halloween and toward the simple pleasures of giving thanks and counting our blessings.

There arere only two people in the world who have enough charisma to inspire us to focus on Thanksgiving: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Taylor Swift.

If the two of them combine their powers for good, Thanksgiving could rise from the afterthoughts of American holidays.

All we need is one of Swift’s “sick beats,” because we all want to “smell what the Rock is cooking.”

And people will be saying “Happy Thanksgiving” in America again.

Even though they never stopped.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: newsmanone@gmail.com.
Venmo@newsmanone.
PayPalpaypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Podcast 101: The trouble with buying a new computer; plus RIP Kevin Conroy and Gallagher

102: Qatar vs. Budweiser, Taylor Swift vs. Ticketmaster, and Dan’s new wheels Talking Paragraphs

Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022 1. New vehicle 2. Qatar vs. Budweiser 3. Man U. vs. Renaldo 4. Browns vs Bills game in Detroit 5. Bedlam 6. NIL rights for LSU gymnast 7. Michael Jordan is dead? 8. Taylor Swift Shakespeare class 9. Fox News and Taylor Swift 10. “Festive” season 11. Reddit on Sacramento Kings 12. 8 billionth person in born in Philippines. 13. “Observably stupid.” Kanye 14. Showboats return to Memphis 15. Spielberg “Bullit” spin-off — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/talkingparagraphs/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/talkingparagraphs/support
  1. 102: Qatar vs. Budweiser, Taylor Swift vs. Ticketmaster, and Dan’s new wheels
  2. 101: The trouble with buying a new computer; plus RIP Kevin Conroy and Gallagher
  3. 100: Takies chips “bag licking good;” Kyrie and Kanye’s race to bottom; and farewell Ray Guy
  4. 99: Distancing ourselves from Kanye; Sexy Wordle Halloween costumes; FedEx sacks Roxo the self-delivery robot; and why you shouldn't walk from Spain to Qatar
  5. 98: Taylor Swift’s album awesome; Iowa Iowa facts haunt Paul family gathering; Kanye does dumb stuff

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: newsmanone@gmail.com.
Venmo@newsmanone.
PayPalpaypal.me/paragraphstacker.

Your ‘I Voted’ sticker doesn’t impress me much

The election is over.

It’s safe to watch football games again without being bored by candidates’ attack ads trying to convince you a vote for their opponent plunges us into the apocalypse.

We can go back to the good commercials where Flo dates Jon Hamm in insurance commercials, AT&T deals on the latest iPhone detailed by LeBron James, and testosterone supplements hawked by former star athletes Frank Thomas and Doug Flutie.

Even if she likes it, too, Frank, was it worth your dignity?

I digress.

I am as glad as anyone sane to have the latest campaign end.

It’s not the attack ads that get me, though; it’s the “I Voted” stickers.

Good heavens, America.

Is this all it takes to lure you into action?

America, we’ve got to set our standards higher.

These stickers aren’t even scratch-and-sniff.

What would you do for an “I Voted” sticker that also smelled like hot, buttery popcorn?

My sixth graders would at least demand candy and chips before being dragged into something like voting.

Let me be clear: I’m not discouraging voting. I’m not encouraging it, either.

If all you want is to get a sticker and post something self-aggrandizing on social media about how crucial voting is, maybe you shouldn’t be voting.

Some people who do this will inevitably cry, “How dare you, sir! I post that sticker as but a humble reminder that it is Election Day and encourage their participation in their democracy.”

I don’t believe that for two reasons.

First, people who wear stickers after they voted are like people who post grumpy columns to their blogs They want attention.

Second, if there are people that didn’t know Tuesday was Election Day, they definitely shouldn’t be voting.

My old Drake University journalism professor, Herb Strentz, recently wrote on the lefty website Bleeding Heartland: “Every election in a democracy — from township to presidency is threatened by voters who are ill-informed, misinformed, and/or uninformed.”

Now, of course, in a free country, people with dumb, bad, or no ideas are allowed to vote.

Sometimes it seems like they’re the only people who vote.

Or maybe it seems like those are the only people who get elected.

I voted.

I posted a picture of me throwing my absentee ballot into the mailbox.

I didn’t encourage anyone to vote.

The only reason I mentioned I voted was to be able to other people who asked me if I voted that I did and to please not talk to me about the election.

I’ve done all I can.

I’m not going to tell you who I voted for.

I don’t want to know who you voted for.

I absolutely don’t want to talk about what the election results mean for the next two years.

What I want is for Americans to take their democratic participation seriously.

Stop selling out for stickers.

And don’t roll over for candy and chips, either.

Hold out for money.

Cold, hard cash.

The very rich have already bought and paid for the politicians.

If we’re going to go through this charade of pretending politicians are swayed more by voting results than cash donations, we, the voters, ought to get paid for our role in the play.

I figure an individual vote for a local election — city, county, and school boards — is worth about $50.

Random ballot issues are about $25.

State elections are $75, $100 for the governor.

National elections: $150 for the House, $200 for the Senate, and $500 for the president.

This is all tax-free and in cash, of course.

You’re not going to get rich off this money, but you’re not going to get rich anyway.

You might as well have a few extra bucks in your pocket to bet on the football games.

At least we can watch them now without those damn ads.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: newsmanone@gmail.com.
Venmo@newsmanone.
PayPalpaypal.me/paragraphstacker.