The Cornucopia Effect: A Thanksgiving Conspiracy

By Emma Carrey

I want you to tell me your first memories of Thanksgiving. Or - should I just tell you? You traced the shape of your hand into a turkey cut-out to hang in your elementary school hallway, even though the only reference you had of what a turkey looked like came DIRECTLY FROM these cutouts.

Ever heard of the Mandela effect?

Why do they keep teaching you what a cornucopia is? Yes - the pilgrims put all of their Thanksgiving goods into those woven horn-shaped centerpieces. But why are they telling you this, really?

Did you ever learn the name for that mug that Santa Claus drinks hot cocoa from? (Refer to: Santa Clause 2 with Tim Allen.) You can’t just blindly assume that the North Pole doesn’t have an elfish word for that.

So, why is the only holiday container we learn about the cornucopia?

God, you’re so naive.

Say it with me: “cornucopia.”

Corn - u - copia...

Corn - you - cope...

Corn as a coping mechanism.

Since the introduction of corn to pilgrims by indigenous peoples (an entirely separate narrative to unpack), there has been a clear hegemony establishing corn as the ideal “American” side dish. We displace our insecurities to perform our “Americanness” onto our corn consumption - despite its obviously tedious process of husking, cobbing, and buttering.

And, why corn? Why do you f*cking think.

What do you do after you eat corn? Floss.

Sound familiar? Look on the internet right now. Yes, the entire internet. What is your Twitter timeline filled with? Instagram discovery page? Go on Facebook. Your little cousin’s entire kindergarten class is flossing in unison on a video your aunt just posted. This dance has literally no reason for its name.

Oh, except for one.

Let me spell it out for you:


You’ve gotta be quicker than this.

F: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

L: Loves

O: Our

S: Silly

S: String

I know what you’re thinking:

“Wouldn’t that acronym spell out as ‘FDRLOSS’?” No, it wouldn’t.

Now, you might be picturing FDR on a hidden camera show called something like “Impractical Reconstructionists.” Stop that. There’s no time.

The silly string we’re talking about here has nothing to do with hijinx of any kind. It’s a clear reference to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Without string this parade would literally just be a televised release of balloons.

How did we even start doing this tradition? What do balloons have to do with Thanksgiving? Well - exactly, yes.

Here’s what they leave out of your history textbooks: In 1945, Macy’s corporate headquarters launched what was dubbed the “F.L.O.S.S.” initiative to convince FDR to televise the Macy’s Parade before leaving office. Thanksgiving morning is a huge time slot on cable television - potentially even to a political degree, attracting one of the largest audiences of American viewers of the year.

Lo and behold, FDR did love their Silly String. And so, Macy’s snagged the spot in 1946.

Why is this important? We wouldn’t know until a few decades later… when we found out what the parade would be priming us for.

See, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade actually isn’t about the parade at all… It’s the mental novacane to prepare you for the moment that the Puppy Bowl comes on TV.

Cute, fuzzy, and distracting propaganda to fuel our insatiable thirst for… the Super Bowl.

Why do we love the Super Bowl so much? Why do we sit in front of our TV eating Tostito’s queso dip every year even when our team isn’t playing?

Two words: The COMMERCIALS.

You’re catching on, I can tell. But, hold on - It’s about to get bumpy.

Commercials. Commerce. Consumer culture. Capitalism. Capitalized Letters. The Capitol?

No. Too far in the wrong direction. Not a Washington conspiracy.

Trace back to the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl. What bowl? Where’s the bowl and why is it super?

Better question: Is it soup-er?

Bowling for Soup.

Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.

Andy Warhol.

Pop art.

Pop culture.

Cultural products.

Products for purchase.

Capitalism. Consumerism. Consumption? Chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side? Never enough. Sodium/soda.




And now, you’re centering a whole day around consuming a turkey. Why did we choose turkey? It’s so dry? I’ll answer this one to save time: the tryptophan.

We think it just makes us tired. We think we’re full from all of the food. And then, we lay down for a nap and wake up completely unaware that it has wiped our memory of any knowledge we gained throughout the day… All of the times that we stopped and asked a relative, “Aren’t these holiday traditions a little off to you?” and “Why did we put marshmallows on the sweet potatoes?”

Why do you think it’s so easy to repress the stomach ache every year that should give us an aversion to the month of November entirely? What possesses any of us to participate in Black Friday?

And why is it called Black Friday? Hm, I don’t know  - Why don’t you tell me how your vision is right now?

You’re in a coma. By the time you wake up half of your family will be gone.

Relax. They went to the mall.

Yes, to go shopping.


Just like you did all day.


Satire, CampusEmma Carey