Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon and sacriifical community

Another thanksgiving pardon, another suggestion for you to read Magnus Fiskesjö's The Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon, the Death of Teddy's Bear, and the Sovereign Exception of Guantánamo (.pdf) from Prickly Paradigm Press. Like other PPP titles, it is short and accessible. Also, you should read his follow-up: Fiskesjö, Magnus "The reluctant sovereign: New adventures of the US presidential Thanksgiving turkey." Anthropology Today (October 2010), Volume 26, Issue 5, pages 13–17.

I also want to remind readers about this post I made about a Foer and Bourdain debate. The logic of sacrifice is one that the sacred structures the profane--that the exceptional structures the everyday and the common. Understanding within community, and understanding as being a part of community, is crisscrossed with sacrifice, with a shared sense of the sacred and the profane. This is, of course, easy for any vegetarian or vegan to understand this time of the year, when I have a dozen emails from semi-official sources wishing me a Happy Turkey Day. Over the years I have known many new vegetarians and vegans to falter during their exceptional family get togethers--during Thanksgiving and Christmas and Passover and Superbowl and many other times besides. How we eat and what we choose to eat is at the heart of communion and community, it is at the heart of host and hospitality, it is at the heart of all breaking bread and shared interpellation. Just as the exceptional pardon of the Executive (the one who executes) structures the everyday violence of the sovereign, the exceptional holiday structures the everyday community. Choosing not to eat flesh tomorrow will most certainly change or challenge many of your communities, but it will also open up new ones. New communions, new communities, new commons, new communications, new relations. And maybe one day we will find a time when we can come together outside of the dialectic of the sacred and the profane, maybe one day we will be able to sacrifice sacrifice. Until then, good luck everyone. May you find your communities as rich and rewarding as I find mine.