Thanks to the fact that nearly all pop culture is shunted out of the US and directly into the rest of the world’s eyes, it’s easy to believe that America represents something of a default cultural position that every other western country deviates from in their own wacky ways. The truth is, though, that Americans are a deeply weird people with extremely strange practices. America is not a normal place.
They boil water in the microwave, they call mains ‘entrees’, they don’t have switches on their powerpoints, they have an intractably ingrained system of tipping because of their steadfast refusal to pay service staff a viable minimum wage. They’re a weird bloody bunch.
Second maybe to the bizarre cult-like institutions of their fraternities and sororities, one of my favourite pieces of batshit American weirdness is the Thanksgiving turkey pardoning, in which the President decides to spare the life of one of the 46,000,000 turkeys destined to be consumed over the holiday.
Although this might seem a bit strange, you have to understand that this treasured holiday tradition dates all the way back to, uh… 1989. While a number of turkeys gifted to the President had been spared before that, the first official presidential pardoning was at the hands of George HW Bush, who saw fit to overlook the supposed crimes of the criminal bird before him. It was continued by all the presidents that followed, with president Bill Clinton introducing official names for the pardoned turkeys in 1999 and George W Bush pardoning the first female turkey (Katie) in 2002. Perfectly normal country.
Because at some point in early November last year we fell into an alternate dimension where nothing makes sense and hell is real for all of us every day, it now falls to Trump to temporarily save one of these birds from the chopping block. Already, it’s getting weird, with the White House asking which of two turkeys should be spared in that most sacred of all democratic processes: an Instagram poll.
He definitely thinks he’s supposed to pick one of the turkeys to die pic.twitter.com/TOkNTlevmb
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) November 21, 2017
Regardless of which turkey the people decide deserves life and which deserves the cold embrace of death, theoretically both will be spared, where they will live out the rest of their lives at Virginia Tech‘s extremely whimsically named ‘Gobbler’s Rest‘ ranch.
Drumstick and Wishbone, neither of which conform to my mental image of what an edible bird looks like, are currently awaiting their fate in a level of luxury traditionally only afforded to human beings and the pets of celebrities.
The White House Turkeys have arrived per @whitehouse Insta pic.twitter.com/UYiWx25iAy
— Julia Manchester (@JuliaManch) November 19, 2017
Tomorrow we will find out which turkey the American people believe deserves life based on absolutely no information other than its name. (I vote Drumstick.)