|Sure, the founders were pirates, but even that’s a bit funny|
Thanksgiving Day is here, and as is the fashion, it’s taking a beating. “What is Thanksgiving to Indigenous People? ‘A Day of Mourning,’” writes the onetime daily Bible of American mass culture, USA Today. The Washington Post fused a clickhole headline format with white guilt to create, “This tribe helped the Pilgrims survive for their first Thanksgiving. They still regret it 400 years later.” Even the pundits who didn’t rummage in the past in search of reasons for Americans to flog themselves this week found some in the future, a la the Post’s climate-change take on Turkey Day menus:“What’s on the Thanksgiving table in a hotter, drier world?” [Read Matt Taibbi’s take].
Here’s my question on the Washington Post claim that American Native tribes “still regret” helping the Pilgrims 400 years ago: what is the counterfactual?
Either that the Native tribes didn’t help the Pilgrims or that the Pilgrims didn’t come in the first place?
Do we, do they, does WaPo, imagine that, had the Pilgrims not come, these tribes would today be living in their pre-lapsarian paradise? Which paradise, by the way, is pretty much a fantasy — Native American tribes were warriors and conquerors.
Or, that had they come but the Native tribes had refused to help them, the Pilgrims would have perished, unable to give Thanks? And the tribes still be living, 400 years later, in that fantasy land? That no one else, just not Pilgrims, would have come to settle in these vast and beautiful lands? (美国, Mei Guo, “Beautiful Land” = the Chinese for “America”).
Can we seriously imagine any of these cases as a credible counterfactual?
It seems rather a stretch. But is never discussed in
polite society woke circles. (We used to say “in polite society”, but there’s little politeness in woke-dom; and none among the most hysterical critics of the American origin story, 1619 and all that).