This Thanksgiving, I’m Thankful for being neither a Dirty Capitalist/Communist nor an Eunuch

Thanksgiving, like Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day, is an arbitrary day given special meaning for the purposes of brainwashing propaganda and/or mass consumerism. For instance, why does one have to eat turkey on the 4th Thursday of every November (since none of us really know whether the pilgrims ate turkey at the first Thanksgiving)?

However, thankfully, most of us don’t really care anyways. I don’t care, because:

  1. it’s a holiday, so instead of doing work, there’s more time to be spent on sleeping, playing computer games, writing, and procrastinating
  2. I like eating cranberries. I like cranberries.
  3. I can arrogantly scoff at another mass propagandizing of history through mutual celebrations – bread and circuses, bread and circuses, bread and circuses
  4. it’s fun – despite the propaganda – getting to spend time with family and friends and something sappy sappy
  5. I actually like tofurkey, unlike most non-vegetarians, vegetarians, and vegans. Also, you just have to know which type of tofurkey to get, since there are several brands.

That being said, I figured I would compile a list of 25 random things I am currently thankful for. It would be a proper ritual and offering to my glorious ancestors whose lineage stretches back to the most noble and erudite scholar-gentry of Vietnam and China. Unfortunately I don’t know about any of my ancestors beyond my great-grandparents, so they’d probably be pissed as hell.

Anyhow, below in no particular, are 25 random things I am currently thankful for.

  1. I am thankful that I know how to use chopsticks. Otherwise, I would bring great dishonor to the nations of Vietnam, China, Japan, North Korea, and South Korea.
  2. I am thankful for music without lyrics, as it seriously assists my imagination.
  3. I am thankful that the Liberal Arts still exist so that slacker, lazy, disgraceful, parasitic-to-society, science-and-math-hating Asians like me still have opportunities to shame our ancestors.
  4. I am thankful for anti-American propaganda, which provides an interesting – and sometimes even more far-fetched – counterbalance to American propaganda.
  5. I am thankful that I can watch anime for the economics.
  6. I am thankful for my brain, as well as the other useful organs such as… of my body.
  7. I am thankful that Japan didn’t take over the world, contrary to what everybody in America thought in the 1980s.
  8. I am thankful for the most honorable US Congress, which continues to insist that tomato sauce on crappy, cheese-and-grease-and-oil-messy school pizzas counts as a serving of vegetable.
  9. I am thankful that I only had to buy a lunch entrée from the cafeteria once during High School (thereafter I had a throbbing throat and stomachache for several days).
  10. I am thankful for my mom and grandma, who often made me nutritious (albeit blander) lunches while I was in Elementary, Middle, and High School, so that I wouldn’t have to eat crappy school lunches.
  11. I am thankful that double-headed eagles exist.
  12. I am thankful for my friends, at least those who understand the complexities of running a Senate.
  13. I am thankful that I know that Europe isn’t the only place where civilization and history happened.
  14. I am thankful for French fries. The non-overly-greasy, delicious kind.
  15. I am thankful that I am not in the trenches of World War I nor will I ever be.
  16. I am thankful for my gods of fiction, namely, The Catcher in the Rye, Azumanga Daioh, The Lord of the Rings, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and Grave of the Fireflies for inspiring me in my younger years.
  17. I am thankful that I don’t cry anymore when I watch sappy movies or TV series (well… except with once during Clannad… twice… thrice… no, that was it, three times… well, no, one time it was my nose that cried)
  18. I am thankful for being able to pronounce velar nasals at the beginning of words, unlike the average non-Vietnamese.
  19. I am thankful that I love rain.
  20. I am thankful for being tall, but not too tall.
  21. I am thankful that I tower over most girls.
  22. I am thankful for my family, since they are reasonably intelligent, relatively sane, and respectfully good people.
  23. I am thankful that I have food, shelter, water, clothing, and other clichéd necessities. For now.
  24. I am thankful for knowing how to read. Literacy is good. For instance, I could not have written all of this without knowing how to read. It increases my erudite machismo pride.
  25. I am thankful that I can feel anger. Feeling anger helps notify me that I am feeling upset, or frustrated, or disgusted. I am not an android, by the way.

Finally, and completely independently of the 25 thankful-nesses above (since I am OCD), I want to thank the Senate. You guys and your atrociously inefficient, massive, bloated, broken, useless, corrupt, disorderly, fraudulent, cumbersome bureaucracy absolutely rock.

Also, I suppose I should be thankful that you, dear reader, have reached this far in my rant. So, this Thanksgiving, be thankful for a whole bunch of random things, honestly. Also, be thankful that that that turkey unwittingly (unwillingly?) sacrificed its life for you.

Because the Byzantines did. They sacrificed their lives for freedom, democracy, liberty, and 21st century notions of civil and political rights. Turkey seized Constantinople from the Byzantines, and it wasn’t a nice thing to do.

Pic unrelated

Asian Parents Aren’t the Only People who Think Humanities and Social Sciences are Useless

Because Florida Republicans have converted to that mindset. Or at least Florida governor Rick Scott did.

The governor recently stated in an interview about how college students need to focus more on subjects dealing with science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) instead of less “practical” subjects – which pretty much by definition would include anything in the Humanities or Social Sciences. Okay, fair enough. I strongly disagree with that, but I consider it a legitimate (if misguided) idea. However, he went a bit further, with Anthropology as his choice (of all the wonderful non-STEM subjects) for lashing:

“Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so.”

He added in a later interview:

“It’s a great degree if people want to get it. But we don’t need them here.”

The backlash from Anthropologists, particularly those in Florida, was intense, and justifiably so. The governor, so it seems, holds an erroneous, stereotypical idea of Anthropology that most of us also hold: that Anthropology is a subject concerned with only studying isolated tribes in the middle of some jungle. Most of us who have had exposure to Anthropology know better. Anthropologists have found employment in various places – including international corporations, the government, ICT companies, the military, and so forth – where their knowledge of culture and society are needed. Surprising as it is to some, Anthropologists study people – regardless of whether they are from the Bagwere tribe of Uganda, downtown Chicago, business settings in New York, or an Iraqi village near a US army base. The field is far from useless, especially with the advent of so-called globalization. But I won’t really rant too much about that here; if you want to read more, go search google (although two articles (here and here) are good places to start). Or, heck, just talk to an actual anthropologist.

Governor Scott’s sentiments are nothing new for us Asians. Stereotypically, Asian parents have always had distaste for the Humanities and Social Sciences. However, I find it a dangerous mindset. The only degree that can guarantee you a job is either a medical or engineering degree, right? I admit it’s probably true. Statistically, apparently, those who major in STEM or economics/finance/business tend to have higher starting salaries and are blessed with better job demand. Fair enough. But here is what I think is a problem.

Not everyone can or should get STEM. Imagine the problems that would happen if 90% of graduates got STEM degrees. Or, heck, even if 50% of graduates got STEM degrees, that still poses a big problem. I simply don’t think employers are looking for that many people. Alright, I admit I don’t have the statistics for this, but I think my point still stands. It is impossible to have so many jobs available for just a select amount of sectors.

And furthermore, there is a need for people in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Because those majors teach you to analyze and study people, their behavior, and their attitudes. And that’s important, frankly, because, cliché as it sounds, humans are social animals. Some types of jobs and careers simply demand people who might not necessarily know as much about STEM subjects. As an example: who would you trust in dealing with intense international negotiations – an Engineering major or a Political Science major? Honestly I’d trust neither, but I’ll be more willing to place my bets that a PoliSci major has more knowledge about how to conduct international relations.

I love Western-style freedoms.