November 24, 2010

Every year around Thanksgiving the Herald would print Buchwald’s “€œLe Grande Thanksgiving,”€ which purported to explain the unique American holiday to our snail-eating friends. He wrote:

Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of Pilgrims (Pelerins) who fled from l’Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World (le Nouveau Monde) where they could shoot Indians (les Peaux-Rouges) and eat turkey (dinde) to their hearts’ content.

They landed at a place called Plymouth (now a famous voiture Americaine) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai) in 1620. But while the Pelerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pelerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pelerins was when they taught them to grow corn (mais). The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pelerins.

In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pelerins’ crops were so good that they decided to have a celebration and give thanks because more mais was raised by the Pelerins than Pelerins were killed by Peaux-Rouges.

The piece goes on in this wacky fashion to include Miles Standish, or Kilometres Deboutish in French. The full text is available here.

Don”€™t get me wrong. I laugh at the jokes (see addendum), but I am also an admirer of French literature, gastronomy, and culture.  And who can forget that great French contribution to mankind—the invention of the blow-job. I am aware that France is America’s oldest ally. It is said that the French under the Comte de Rochambeau had more troops deployed at Yorktown than General Washington did. It is certain that the French fleet’s role under the Comte de Grasse was instrumental in securing the British surrender on October 17th, 1781. I wonder whether they stuck around for the grande fête de merci donnant.

Joke #1: WWI German General von Moltke was said to have laughed only twice in his life. The first time was when he was told that his wife had run off with an actor. The second was when an aide told him, “€œThis French position is impregnable.”€ Taki told me this one.

Joke #2: “€œI would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.”€ “€”General George S. Patton

Joke #3: “€œGoing to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion.”€ “€”Jed Babbin, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense in the Bush I Administration


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