Thursday, May 3, 2012
May Day May Day
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - There's a phrase that I really have a hard time with, and yet you hear it often enough to make you wonder if it's true. If you give something to someone and then subsequently take it back it's said to be "Indian Giving,"making you an "Indian Giver."
So let's think about that. The term was in the 1860 Dictionary of Americanisms referencing the thought that whenever an Indian gave anything away, "he expects something equivalent back or to have his gift returned".¹
Then there were the English. On May 1st, 1328, the English gave Scotland back their own Kingdom. The wars of Scottish Independence ended in a treaty that had the Kingdom of England recognizing the Kingdom of Scotland. On May 1st, 1707 - the 'Act of Union' once again saw the English take Scotland's independence away and formed the United Kingdom. And Scotland has been itching for its independence ever since. So... maybe there is something to this "Indian Giving", but the English had that covered centuries before. May 1 is now largely recognized as May Day, which was once a celebration of spring, and Maypoles, and dancing, and festivals, but that was soon taken over by the labour movement - like a union on a factory - like Oprah on a ham - like a fat kid on a Smartie - like a union boss on a rampage.
May Day now is often marked with union marches, touting brotherhood (with non-relatives and the lazy fat guy who sleeps on the job but won't be fired because of his seniority), and solidarity. It is no wonder these marches often turn to ugly protest, often by self proclaimed anarchists who bask in every syllable of Sol i dar it y. What's hard to understand is that if someone feels so passionate about that solidarity, about not conforming, about anti-rule, why do they have to cover their faces whilst smashing storefronts and lighting rubbish bins? Is there a moral in their strife?
Would Mother Goose have written a tale about it? There was an anarchist, lived in a hole, had so many issues they'd taken their tole. He went to the markets with a bat and a mask, and smashed up the windows in hate he did bask.
So while some may march with their breathren, and some may smash storefronts and call it a cause, some may also want to pull out their Mother Goose collection and celebrate Mother Goose Day.
1. Wikipedia.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_giver