Legitimate Turkeys

Dear Yahtzee Manifesto,

I’ve been a life-long Yahtzee fan and I read The Yahtzee Manifesto with great interest. It was so refreshing to discover that Yahtzee embodies many of the same principles that are important to me. Each Thanksgiving, my partner and I stage a Yahtzee tournament with family and friends. As part of the tradition, we always watch the president pardon a turkey on TV! As a vegan, I like the message that this sends to families across the country – that there is an alternative to eating animals. Given that Yahtzee celebrates non-violence and the interconnectivity of all life, I’m curious to know your opinion on this tradition.

PS – I apologize for this question being slightly off-topic!


Brenda Wallace
Boise, Idaho

The Yahtzee Manifesto responds:

Dear Brenda,

It’s very difficult to find a topic that doesn’t relate to Yahtzee, as it is so intertwined with day-to-day life. The Yahtzee Manifesto mailbag receives many letters that aren’t specifically related to the game – so no worries!

I think it’s great that you’ve incorporated Yahtzee into your Thanksgiving tradition. And you’re right, this is a holiday steeped in slaughter – not only of turkeys, but in the legacy of betrayal and genocide. However, I don’t agree that the pardoning of a turkey is a symbol of peace or mercy. Rather, it seems to me that this misguided custom is simply a way to make light of capital punishment by injecting a sense of whimsy into a living being’s execution. I see it as another form of indoctrination, as the public is fed the idea that there is such a thing as legitimate murder.

As we saw in this election season, politicians spewed hogwash about “legitimate” forms of violence, most notably rape. The turkey pardon is simply a subtler example of this. And many more of these notions glide along just under the surface of public consciousness. Legitimate terrorism committed by our heroes as acts of war. Legitimate theft of your property as taxes to be spent against your own interests. That’s not to mention the legitimate brainwashing of our rape-loving God under the guise of religion.

So on this Thanksgiving, let’s try to see through the propaganda that any form of violence is legitimate. Because as M.C. Hammer, a man who knows a thing or two about legitimacy, said in the seminal “Too Legit to Quit”, “The dreams that I have in store in my mind, and I know; That I’m makin it, I gotta get mine and nobody’s takin’ it away.”

With love,

Louise Proctor

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