Saturday, November 22, 2008

William S. Burroughs’ Thanksgiving Prayer—with Annotations

William S. Burroughs' Thanksgiving Prayer

“Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts. (1)

“Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison. (2)

“Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger. (3) Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcasses to rot. (4)

“Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes. (5)

“Thanks for the American dream, to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through. (6)

“Thanks for the KKK. For nigger-killin’ lawmen, feelin’ their notches. (7)

“For decent church-goin’ women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces. (8)

“Thanks for ‘Kill a Queer for Christ’ stickers. (9)

“Thanks for laboratory AIDS. (10)

“Thanks for Prohibition and the war against drugs. (11)

“Thanks for a country where nobody’s allowed to mind their own business. Thanks for a nation of finks. (12)

“Yes, thanks for all the memories—all right, let’s see your arms!

“You always were a headache and you always were a bore.

“Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.”

--William S. Burroughs, 1986

(1) Some 46 million turkeys will be eaten at Thanksgiving in 2008 (according to Emily Fredrix at Real Clear Markets), one for every 6.6 Americans

(2) “The Centers for Disease Control has found that roughly 6 percent of American women carry mercury concentrations at levels considered to put a fetus at risk of neurological damage.”

(3) The population of native Americans was around 48 million in 2006, of whom 24 percent live in poverty and 29 percent have no health insurance

(4) In the United States, wild bison number at about 20,000

(5) Last year Alaska offered $150 per freshly killed wolf

(6) The top-rated American TV shows are American Idol and Dancing with the Stars

(7) In response to media attention to (or hysteria over) illegal immigrants, KKK membership has surged and new groups have formed. Also the Klan is cooperating more with US neo-Nazi groups, according to the Anti-Defamation League

(8) Just one of many possible examples.

(9) The good Christians of Westboro Baptist Church

(10) Wangari Maathai and Boyd Graves: paranoid or not?

(11) Drug War Clock at Drug Sense.

(12) "’I think we need to be concerned with everybody, including our next-door neighbor,’ [Pat Rose, head of the FBI's Orange County, California, al-Qaida squad] said, adding the FBI gets frequent calls from people who want to tell them about situations like a Muslim neighbor who is changing his license plates or the guy who has nothing in his apartment but a mattress and five computers.” OC Register 05/25/2006


  1. Reading about the poor bastard who was killed at Walmart simply for opening the doors and the two morons who shot it out in a Toys R Us made me think about your post.

    You made it a thought provoking Thanksgiving weekend. Cheers. I topped it off with a few hours with the comedian Bill Hicks (RIP).

    BTW, why do all the beefcake boys seem to have really fair skin? Not as in race, but as in farmer tans? Just wonderin'

  2. You may be on to something there, Tomatohead. I always thought I was into the tall, dark, and handsome (and hairy) types. Maybe pasty but hunky is my new t,d,&h (&h).



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