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John Green debunks Thanksgiving, and it ain’t pretty.
Happy Thanksgiving, Americans! Did you know that pilgrims never wore those little hats? Do you feel as betrayed as we do? Is everything you knew about Thanksgiving a lie? Pretty much, as Vlogbrother and general all-around debunker John Green tells us in a special holiday video for Mental Floss.
It takes a YouTube celebrity as affable as John Green to break the terrible news to us about our favorite culinary holiday. In “25 Little-Known Facts About Thanksgiving,” Green takes us on a dizzying reminder that history never happens quite the way we tell ourselves. Sure, Thanksgiving probably started in 1621 with a three-day fest hosted by the Pilgrims, but no one ate turkey or wore buckles, and Native Americans may not even have shown up.
Popcorn wasn’t even a peaceful gift shared between Native Americans and colonists. And although harvest-time festivals were celebrated around the colonies, it took nearly 250 years and the efforts of a Thanksgiving zealot named Sarah Hale (who incidentally wrote the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”) to spur President Lincoln into making it a national holiday.
Is there no truth to the lie of Thanksgiving?
Nope. Just wait til you hear what you should be eating instead of turkey and cranberry sauce.
Green, the award-winning Young Adult novelist and Nerdfighter, cut his teeth writing at Mental Floss, which specializes in dispensing humorous, little-known factoids. He’s been hosting videos on its YouTube channel since March. In this video, as in others, he punctuates his facts with a “science” experiment, in this case attempting to eat a slice of bread with a knife and spoon.
Why? Forks hadn’t been invented yet.
“So this year I challenge you to celebrate like real Pilgrims and share a lovely meal of passenger pigeon with your family on Thanksgiving,” deadpans Green.
Too bad they’re extinct.
Just like all your Thanksgiving illusions.
Screengrab via YouTube
Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.