Tuesday, May 27, 2008

marlon brando, pocahontas and me

Being abroad, I pretty much forgot it was Memorial Day on Monday. I only realized it when I got to work and there was no US news except for barbeque murders and fiery freeway accidents. And of course all that endless relentless undying inextinguishable bullshit campaigning.

In January it always slips by me that it’s Martin Luther King Jr. day. I’d left the country by the time it was instated as a public holiday. I recall that as a kid we had separate holidays in February for Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays, and now they’re conglomerated into the generic Presidents Day. Okay, let’s agree that not all presidents should be celebrated.

I said to my colleagues it’s odd the Germans don’t have a holiday for a person. But in fact the US seems to be one of the few countries, aside from monarchies celebrating a royal birthday, that have national holidays in honor of one person. (Of course, I joked that the US just has better heroes. We even took Columbus.) I think Germany should have an Oskar Schindler Day, or something like that. Von Stauffenberg Day. Marlene Dietrich Day.

I'm leaving out Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and all the saints and holy rollers.

Most countries have a Labor Day, a Memorial Day and an Independence or Unity Day. Myanmar has holidays celebrating the full moon. Ecuador has a day in honor of a battle. Japan has Coming of Age Day. And all UK holidays are in honor of a bank. Which bank I don't know.

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