A note on compassion
Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in their American way, thinking that compassion or giving thanks or gratitude is about showering wealth on the poor. Blithely appeasing some wrathful god, the nation can come together in their shared devotion to wealth. They do this in the innocence of those who do not fear civil war or the terrors of nature undoing everything that allows them even to survive. Americans do mankind credit by showing how kind wealth can be.
June celebrates in the manner of Indiana, helping out the needy, spending time with her family. But she is too poor to get home, so she must do something in New York. She learns how much she has in common with James: He signs up in advance to ladle gravy at some shelter, to have his picture taken by tabloids, helping out the photogenic needy. He needs to look like he enjoys doing – is used to doing – what June truly wants to be doing, but cannot do, because no one will accept her help.
Obviously, the business of making America prosperous is far more cutthroat than June will admit. As for family, Chloe convinces her to go to a casino – help out the Indians, that sort of thing – but instead takes her to her lavish family home upstate. She begs June to teach her how to spend Thanksgiving.
June realizes that she has one more chance to convert Chloe to good old-fashioned American mores, so she accepts. Now she is properly introduced to Chloe’s family. The mother is so helpful & understanding that one wonders how the devil Chloe became her daughter. The father is comparatively aloof. The soul of kindness here, evasive jokes there. Here’s another marriage that makes no sense.
Chloe’s plan is either to destroy her family or to bring them together. She has a low opinion of Thanksgiving & prefers to spend the morning humiliating & threatening adulterous men. Her wit is a much needed spur to keep men on the strait & narrow. She despises hypocrites as only a temptress can – they are weaklings. As God might say, & Chloe would add, rightly, they are the lukewarm.
Chloe does manage to ruin thanksgiving yet again, this time humiliating June as well. The victory of immorality over morality, always fragile, allows us to go on with our musings. Chloe first deceives June into a complicated conceit that would make any comedian proud, only to then unravel it. She makes sheepish June look wolfish by making her seem excessively sheepish. – Chloe wrapped with a bow, pushing morality beyond its breaking point, making money out of outrage. She happily unites her family in hatred of June. Morality is elastic stuff, bounces back…