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In praise of orange 

It’s a good time to have an orange-themed weblog.

De Toqueville and pumpkin pie 

Kieran Healy has the most enjoyable Thanksgiving reflection I’ve read.

  Thanksgiving is one of America’s best ideas. Appropriately it is intimately associated with one of America’s worst inventions, the Pumpkin Pie. I say “appropriately” because such antinomies are common in American life. North and South, Red States and Blue States, expensive gourmet coffee and never a spoonful of real cream to put in it what do you mean you only have the kind that sprays out of a can never mind no that’s fine. On such foundational tensions is America built. I’m sure Alexis de Toqueville has a line about this somewhere in Democracy in America. Something about the Pumpkin containing the Seeds of its own Destruction — no wait, that was Marx in Vol. III of Theorien über den Wurzelgemüse. For de Tocqueville, pumpkin pie is the fulcrum of the argument developed in Book II, Chapter 14 of Democracy in America, where he shows “How the taste for physical gratifications is united in America to love of freedom and attention to public affairs.” A taste for physical gratification that is fed with pumpkin pie is sure to kindle a strong love of freedom (from the obligation to eat any more) and a concomitant commitment to public affairs (especially the effort to ban the thing once and for all).

It seems unfashionable, but I like pumpkin pie (and I love turkey). Today is not a holiday here, but we’re going to two different Thanksgiving meals this weekend.

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