Oh thanksgiving! Oh oh oh, thanksgiving!
The time-honored American holidays where we celebrate not with elaborate rituals (Christmas trees, Halloween costumes, or even heart-shaped Tums with pithy phrases on them) but just by eating too much. At this point cultural sensitivity and a more informed approach to history have pretty much consigned the buckle-hatted founders of this holiday to the Peanuts gang and middle school plays (although children everywhere are still making turkeys out of outlines of their hands as we speak, so not all is lost).
Well, I’ll tell you what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving: Nicole Westbrook. That’s right… Nicole Westbrook – the star of the recent viral YouTube hit, “It’s Thanksgiving.” What you haven’t seen it? Please, allow me.
Let me play Nostrada-Matt (see what I did there?) for a second and offer a prediction. Right from the start of the video you were thinking to yourself: “Wait, haven’t I seen this before? Why do I feel compelled to celebrate Fridays right now? …Oh no…”
Oh yes, my friend. Oh yes. It has the same bouncy bubblegum pop beat, the same affected delivery, practically the same tween singer, even the same random guy who pops up for the rap verse and chorus. In fact, both “Friday” and “It’s Thanksgiving” are both produced by that very same guy… Patrice Wilson. (And yes, he’s the one dressed up like a turkey in the Thanksgiving video).
Even though this song is just about as ridiculous as its weekday-themed ancestor – I mean, she uses a turkey leg as a microphone… a turkey leg – there just might be a gem hidden under all of that tween energy. After a few moment of lyrical genius that Paul Simon only wishes he could match (I got ribs smelling up my neighbor’s cribs, anybody?!?!), Nicole sings: “It’s Thanksgiving and I’m trying to be forgiving / I gotta give thanks for you / can’t be hateful, gotta be grateful.”
In some ways, I couldn’t fight her gratitude if I tried. After all, St. Ignatius exhorted everyone who will listen that gratitude is amongst the most important qualities in the spiritual life. It’s gratitude that opens the way to forgiveness, gratitude that opens us to love in the face of hate. The message is: to be grateful is to forgive and to forgive is to love. Being thankful helps us remember who we are.
The message is Jesus’ message. The unlikely messanger? Nicole Westbrook.
Not bad, Nicole, not bad.