Kilometres Deboutish

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer.

Kilometres Deboutish is a character in an annually reprinted newspaper column by the late humorist Art Buchwald that parodies the French perception of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday by purporting to explain the American holiday to the French. According to Buchwald's confidential source, it is "the only time during the year, [when the Americans] eat better than the French do."[1] It was originally published in the Paris Herald Tribune (now the International Herald Tribune) in 1952, when Buchwald was a new and virtually unknown columnist for that paper. It was then reprinted annually in that newspaper for many years and, eventually, after Buchwald became an internationally famous syndicated columnist, throughout the rest of the world as well.

The story plays on the name of the historical Miles Standish and of John (Jean) Alden in their pursuit of the apparently untranslatable flower of the Plymouth Colony, Priscilla Mullens. The story is explained in "fractured French" with respect to Thanksgiving Day, which Buchwald translates into literal schoolchild French as le Jour de Merci Donnant—the actual name in French is le jour de l'action de grâce."

Le Jour de Merci Donnant was first started by a group of Pilgrims (Pelerins) who fled from l'Angleterre before the McCarran Act to found a colony in the New World (le Nouveau Monde) where they could shoot Indians (les Peaux-Rouges) and eat turkey (dinde) to their hearts' content.

They landed at a place called Plymouth (now a famous voiture Americaine) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai) and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pelerins was when they taught them to grow corn (mais). The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pelerins.

Buchwald's tale does not suffer from an excess of historical accuracy. It is believed that if the Government of the United States were, under other circumstances, to suggest Americans ate better than the French, the French Republic would, at the least, respond with a stiff demarche, and might even consider it a casus belli.