Friday, 25 November 2016

turkey in the straw, turkey in the hay

Reeling collectively still with the news of the untimely but recent natural death of Courage—the first turkey that was graciously pardoned by President Barack Obama in a strange ceremony that annually reasserts the dominance of humans over overfed domesticated fowl, we learn, via a historical newspaper clipping spotted by Weird Universe that the tradition of clemency (and I’d like to see a turkey that could commit capital crimes) is a fairly recent one.
Until the administration Ronald Reagan, turkeys presented to the White House were in general not allowed to retire to greener pastures and were dealt their death knell at the hand of the president. I had believed it was at least as storied and established as some of the other strange folk-practises that the US has cultivated—seemingly for lack of the mythos of other, older nations, like having a groundhog forecast the weather or Columbus Day. On the occasion of Eisenhower’s gala feast, as the article states, an animal psychologist urged him to subject the sacrificial birds to hypnotism in order that they be killed more humanely and so they’d taste better, having not been seized with a rush of adrenaline before going in the oven. With the long life of Tater and Tot secured just yesterday, Obama has set free his last turkey and I wonder if going forward, whoever goes afoul of the court won’t be able to count on its mercy.