• Post-Covid 2021 Thanksgiving Tips

    November 25, 2021 // 9 Comments »

    Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving (Not in Iraq)

    It’s time to admit America is facing a crisis. Families are going to have Thanksgiving together this year.

    Nobody wants to admit “We may die of Covid” was a better excuse for not getting together last year than “I’m stuck in O’Hara.” Nobody wants to admit chicken tenders from the microwave and a Friends marathon was actually more fun and way less stressful than cooking a mutant breasted 27 pound bird for 12 hours only to find that it was still a little under done. Even the Friends episodes where Jennifer Aniston wore all her underwear were better than Grandpa Mark’s retelling of some event from his childhood or the War of 1812 or whatever the heck he was talking about after four Amarettos. It is thus little surprise seven out of 10 young Americans prefer Friendsgiving to Thanksgiving with the fam. Surveys show two out of five young people anticipate biting their tongue during Thanksgiving dinner. It is unclear if they mean holding back on saying something or actually looking forward to self-inflicted pain as a way to get through the day.

    No, this year, because of the Thanksgiving Mandate, it is gonna get ugly. This year it’s family of origin not family of choice. Here are some survival tips.

    For Everyone: Anything with three letters is off-limits: AOC, SNL, NFL, BLM, CRT, CNN, Fox, Joe, Vax. Same for anyone known just by a single name: Kyle, Karen, Fauci, Beto, Greta, Brandon, Pete, #, Maddow, Hannity, and unless you have immediate family named “George” or “Floyd,” just no. Same with Loudon County, unless you actually live there and even then it’s weather only. Anyone without an advanced degree in the subject cannot discuss how supply lines, inflation, vaccines or masks work. In fact, things are the way they are in America such that microbiology in general is banned as dinner table conversation. Same for anything to do with law in Texas, Atlas Shrugged, Handmaiden’s Tale, and 1984. Nobody ever really read To Kill a Mockingbird or Tom Sawyer anyway, we just heard about the racist parts somewhere, so skip those, too.

    For Younger Folks: This would be a good time to admit your old man was right when he told you for four years democracy was not dying in darkness, Trump was never going to set up labor camps for LGBTQ illegal immigrant POC refugees, and a few Nazi cosplayers were not the same as Kristallnacht. Set some boundaries for yourself. You are allowed only one eye roll and one snarky remark per holiday gathering, such as when your dad says “So Trump wasn’t so bad after all” you can reply “Neither was Hitler — at first.” Also youngster folks, just let the heaving carcass of the turkey sit untouched on your plate; do not say “I guess no one remembers — again — I’m vegan.” Your parents haven’t seen you in a year, so ease them into that additional ink you spent your stimulus check on. Remember, for your parents your #Medusa tattoo is to them what their Trump vote was to you. Save announcements regarding trans anything for later.

    If you play nice on all those things you are allowed one bonus exchange over pronouns. Put your phone down. Do not fact check your parents in real time. Spend time not being offended. Pretend it’s organic or keto or paleo enough, Gwyneth Paltrow will forgive you. Basically, lighten up for an afternoon. Accept your personal life is a side dish for this meal, so have a plan to deal with that. Edibles are a better idea than taking the dog for her fifth long walk of the afternoon.

    Psychiatrists tell us traditions and rituals help sustain happiness and family bonds. Remember, Detroit losing and someone making light fun of anything that combines the words marshmallow + salad is a tradition. Calling your parents fascist AF misogynist racists is generally not, even though you did it last year over Facetime. Same with ironic “I’m thankful statements,” so no to “I’m thankful the patriarchy didn’t murder Colin Kaepernick this year.” Similarly, there is no need to remind the table that “kids in the third world are starving while we eat ourselves into a coma again, I hope everyone is enjoying dessert. I’m not.” Thanks in advance for not introducing the colonialist roots of Thanksgiving and the genocide of the Wampanoag tribe to your younger nieces and nephews over at the kids table. If you can’t handle when grace is being said, just close your eyes and think about how funny Pete Davidson is. Also, sorry, 1/6 did not change the world.

    For Older Folks: Sorry, 1/6 did not change the world. Set some boundaries for yourself. Only one Dad Joke (suggestion: What did Yoda say when he saw himself in 4K? HDMI.) You are allowed two “I told you so’s” about Russiagate among like-thinking adults before the kids arrive from the airport, and only one in front of the kids. Be magnanimous in victory; serve avocados. Put them on everything. Millennials love avocados. It’s their cat-nip. Sigh and accept your kids do not know any history predating Obama. Just let go of any pop culture references or hip hop stars’ you do not understand.

    One exception is Pete Davidson. If any of your children can explain why he is a celebrity, write down their answer and share it with others of us olds. Don’t panic, however, if they retort with “So you explain why your generation thought Jack Black was funny.” Just be the bigger guy and say no one knows. Only Joe Biden can use the word negro unironically. “When are you going to get a real job?” is better stated as “So, your Cousin Mandy said Indeed was a good way to find work in her field but then again she studied engineering.” Don’t ask “Are you dating anyone?” unless you’re prepared to know more than you really want to know about pansexuality and fluidity over a carb-heavy meal. Instead, try and make your kids feel at home — use terms like fulfilled, give back, and impactful, and say “research” to mean Googling something. Don’t claim music was better in your day. It was. Your kids will come around to admitting it in a few years but let that slide this holiday season.

    For Everyone: For gawd’s sake, remember, they’re your kids. They’re your parents. Kids do stuff, probe boundaries, overreact thinking they’re the first young person ever to notice the Constitution uses only male pronouns, and think podcasts make them experts. Your parents mean well, mis-abled as they are having grown up without social media and irony. They are your kids, good kids. They will figure out the people on late-night TV are comedians not prophets well-before your second stroke. Your parents tried hard, packed you horrible lunches they thought were nutritious, and thought they were doing the right thing not letting you have the car that night.

    Thanksgiving is just one meal built around food nobody likes enough to eat twice a year. It’s a Ron holiday, one for the fun Trans-Am Uncle Joe, so save witchy Nancy and the necro-animated Joe for another date and cut everyone some slack. You never know, next year you might not get to see them. Make it count and save the culture wars for the next phone call.

     

    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Other Ideas

    How to Talk to Trump-Hating Millennials This Thanksgiving

    November 22, 2017 // 7 Comments »

    Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving (Not in Iraq)


    With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many freshmen college students will be heading home for the first time to confront their ignorant, racist parents. Semi-employed millennials will leave their joblets to endure a long weekend of Dad and Uncle Mark spouting fascism between tearing hunks of non-free range turkey flesh off bone.


    To prepare these young people for the ordeal, the Internet will soon be running guides, such as “How to share a table with relatives whose views you abhor.” A Google search for something like “how to talk to family at thanksgiving about Trump” brings up a cornucopia of advice. Young folks are told to listen to the olds’ racism with compassion and to realize we are threatened by our impending extinction. The job for youth alongside the turkey and gravy? “We have to put in the messy and unfun labor of listening to complaints about modern America, and then offer solutions that aren’t built on fear and hatred for the other.”


    Well, that’s fine for telling them how to deal with us. But here are our tips for young people on how to better prepare for a Thanksgiving political showdown.


    1) Take a moment to note history did not begin on 11/09/16. Mother and I want you to know Trump’s wars started under Bush and Obama. Much of the assault on our civil rights, particularly the devolution of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments, began right after 9/11. The CIA, NSA, FBI, Robert Mueller, John McCain, and others may be rock stars today because you think they’re part of #TheResistance, but each has a long history of serving the deep needs of the State. I read 1984 in high school, and Handmaiden’s Tale was written before you were born, so no need to quote them to me. Pass the beets, willya? Who doesn’t like beets?


    2) Everyone can have an opinion, but you might want to listen more closely to the one held by somehow who has studied a particular subject her whole life. Some things have such a history behind them that they are “facts.” If you want to read informed content on federal contracting in regard to Puerto Rico, the lawyers at POGO are better than the kids at Daily Beast, for example. “Conspiracy” in legal filings doesn’t mean spying, it means only that more than one person worked together to commit a crime; lawyers know this, dudes on Twitter do not. So careful about “hot takes;” what you want instead in most cases is a well-debated question among experts. Read The Death of Expertise to learn how intellectual egalitarianism cripples informed discussion. Think about Uncle Mark’s coffee mug, the one that says “Your Google search is not the same as my medical degree.”


    3) For the love of all good things, look up the definition of “fascism” and read a bit about the rise of Hitler before citing each as a response to every thing in the news that frightens or offends you. Might as well dig into causes of the civil war and history of early compromises on slavery in American instead of citing blurbs from the Trevor Noah show about the roots of racial inequality. The people on late night TV are comedians. You are not better informed by listening to their jokes. Entertainment isn’t education. Damn, the stuffing is good this year. Why don’t we have this more than once every twelve months?


    4) Freedom of speech means protecting the right of someone to say things without necessarily endorsing their content. The Supreme Court has repeatedly said no to banning hate speech. The ACLU supports the First Amendment rights of nazis. Get with the program. The rights you defend are in reality your own.


    5) The nation is not at the edge. Democracy is not dying in darkness. The issues of today can be important without being apocalyptic. Nobody is setting up labor camps for LGBTQ illegal immigrant POC refugees. A few nazi cosplayers at a rally are not the same as Crystal Nacht, nor are they likely a predecessor to that. You sound like bad dystopian fan fiction. Get off the ledge – America survived a civil war, two world wars, and a real constitutional crisis surrounding Watergate and Richard Nixon. A President who Tweets is not the end of us. And stop sounding gleeful alongside CNN when you predict it might be.


    6) There’s a bunch of important stuff going on you don’t seem to be focused on. If you’re looking for things to change, speak out against the war in Afghanistan, now in its 16th year. You and the soldiers deployed there wore Huggies when it started; pretty much the same for the fighting in Iraq. You’re worried about the treatment of Muslims at America’s airports? Cool; spare a thought for the treatment of Muslims in the multiple nations where America is making war at present. More gravy?


    7) Learn how to read critically and think skeptically. The media environment is rough, with “facts” increasingly corrupted by ideology, and speed of publishing a hot take taking precedence over getting the story right. Be skeptical of reports you absolutely agree with, especially if they are based on anonymous sources. Ask yourself who would really know what the President said in a closed door meeting first-hand, and why would they leak that? There’s usually an agenda, by either the writer, the source, or both, so try and understand it. You might actually have to read multiple media outlets, some representing a point of view you don’t agree with, to get a full picture.


    8) Thoughtful criticism of a (black, female, etc.) candidate is not racism/sexism/bigotry/misogyny, it’s thoughtful criticism. A good line of questioning by a black, female, etc., candidate isn’t brave, fierce, courageous or an attack on the patriarchy, it’s just a good line of questioning. Lotta turkey this year; you want seconds?


    9) In the real world, you can’t slam the door on arguments with single-word retorts like Mansplaining! Benghazi! The Emails! Putin! Whataboutism is not a one-word alternative to the real intellectual work of sorting out history, precedent or parallels that matter. Two things can both be wrong. A bad thing by a Democrat does not cancel out something bad a Republican did. It might be necessary to talk about both. Some ideas cannot be explained in 280 characters. Some require whole books. Don’t dismiss an argument because learning about it is more work than thumbing a scroll wheel.


    10) Talk is fun. But somebody has to in the end do some real work if anything is going to get fixed around here, so help clean up after Thanksgiving dinner.




    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Other Ideas