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Thankfully, the Constitution says you only have to do this once a year.
November 28, 2013 11:09 AM   Subscribe

It's time for Americans to gather around the dinner table, eat too much, and argue about politics! A new genre of Thanksgiving-themed web pages seems to be taking off this year, that being the "How to argue with your [opposite political party] family members at Thanksgiving" genre. From the left side of the political spectrum, the Democratic National Committee has launched "The Democrat's Guide to Talking Politics with Your Republican Uncle", and The Huffington Post chimed in with "Here's Every Argument You'll Need To Win Your Obamacare Debate This Thanksgiving". Not to be outdone, conservatives have responded with cheat sheets of their own, including RedState.com's "Thanksgiving dinner with your liberal relatives" and The Washington Examiner's "The Thanksgiving guide to making conservative arguments liberals can understand".

This year's hottest political topic is Obamacare, of course, so Organizing for Action (née Obama for America) has put out Health Care for the Holidays, a site devoted to convincing family members to sign up on the ACA exchanges. The Washington Post's resident healthcare wonk Sarah Kliff chimes in with "A Guide to Surviving Obamacare Debates at Thanksgiving", and right-leaning TheFederalist.com's Ben Domenech has " Ten Obamacare Talking Points To Ruin Your Thanksgiving".

Or maybe you'd rather talk about gun violence over your turkey and trimmings? Mayors Against Illegal Guns wants you to Demand Action from your relatives, while the National Rifle Association would like to Set the Record Straight.

Now that you've picked a rhetorical strategy, let's talk tactics. MSNBC has A Guide To Thanksgiving Table Talk, but if you'd like to bring along some visual aids along to piss off your lefty relations, The Heritage Foundation has Thanksgiving Cards guaranteed to get the flatware flying before pie is served.

Finally, if you just want a content-free, all-out grar-feast, Slate's here to tell you How To Pick a Fight With Your Relatives This Thanksgiving.

Now let's eatfight!
posted by tonycpsu (126 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can't we all just talk about television?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:10 AM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Should we talk about the weather?
(Hi, hi, hi.)
posted by entropicamericana at 11:13 AM on November 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


Drinky Die's guide to having a good time and not getting involved in these conversations even though you like to argue about politics.

Step 1
Step 2
(Alternate Step 2)
posted by Drinky Die at 11:13 AM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


This will not end well.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:14 AM on November 28, 2013


I really fear for this country's future.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:14 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only winning move is not to play.
posted by demiurge at 11:17 AM on November 28, 2013 [61 favorites]


I've managed to not call my parents fascists this year. Baby steps.
posted by TrialByMedia at 11:18 AM on November 28, 2013 [33 favorites]


I find it hard to believe that someone who still believes in Republicanism would have a serious position from which to have an "argument" this year and wouldn't do anything to change the subject. (In my family everyone who used to be Republican has changed their outlook.)
posted by bleep at 11:19 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's not really a good time for a breakthrough with a Republican because the Obamacare rollout has been so shaky.

Maybe run some of those Pope quotes on economic inequality past your Catholic Republican friends if you really want to talk politics/religion.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:24 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am so glad the most heated argument so far has been over just how funny the Pekinese is and whether the Terriers are all bonkers.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:24 AM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


See also my recent blog post, How To Deflate Familial Politics Discussions By Talking About Dwarf Fortress At Uncomfortable Length.
posted by cortex at 11:25 AM on November 28, 2013 [94 favorites]


I find it hard to believe that someone who still believes in Republicanism would have a serious position from which to have an "argument" this year and wouldn't do anything to change the subject. (In my family everyone who used to be Republican has changed their outlook.)

That's the spirit! Well on your way to productive conversations.

Seriously though, I think that the winning move is not to play. I hear something that is pretty bogus, and I use it as an opportunity to practice the virtue of "not always needing to win." Life is going to go on just fine without having to win arguments or convert anyone at any given opportunity.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:25 AM on November 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


How about just shut up and eat?
posted by Renoroc at 11:27 AM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wonder who Domenech cribbed those points from.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:28 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is why I'm happy to work on Thanksgiving.
posted by Beti at 11:29 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


when in doubt just mention you really only make enough money for one relative to get into treatment.
posted by The Whelk at 11:30 AM on November 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


Also love how the ways to convince liberals are basically just addressing stereotypes, not real people. I don't like Kale. Also, Social Security is not ripping of minorities, thanks.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:30 AM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Don’t worry about making sense just express quickly, in soft tones, the menacing anger you feel, then leave the room

Wow.
posted by ovvl at 11:30 AM on November 28, 2013


We had a brief argument about whether the hot pot would be vegan, but we resolved it by deciding to go for Korean instead.
posted by kyrademon at 11:33 AM on November 28, 2013


*sits down at table ... tucks napkin under chin ...*

"'Left vs. right' is convenient distraction which has served the moneyed interests very well ... at our expense."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:36 AM on November 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


Whoever wins, we all lose.
posted by localroger at 11:37 AM on November 28, 2013


"Thanksgiving dinner with your liberal relatives" - The article's main advice seem to be "shame and ignore."

"The Thanksgiving guide to making conservative arguments liberals can understand" offers the following nugget:

Here's a line for you: For every $100 that white beneficiaries pay in taxes, they receive $113 in benefits, blacks receive $89 and Hispanics receive $58. That's from liberal blogger Brad Plumer at Wonkblog (Note: every progressive under the age of 35 flatters himself as a “wonk.” So impress your nephew by throwing in a humblebrag faux apology like. “Sorry to get so wonky, but ... ”)

Social Security’s redistribution isn’t due to some racist Republican rule change. It’s due to the nature of the tax (hitting your first dollar, but then stopping after about $110,000 in income) and the nature of the payouts. White people live longer and are less likely to be immigrants, so they earn more credits and collect for longer.


Holy shit, I can't even...
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:38 AM on November 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also love how the ways to convince liberals are basically just addressing stereotypes, not real people. I don't like Kale. Also, Social Security is not ripping of minorities, thanks.

Yeah. I tried very hard to read these "guides" with an open mind, but it's the same old, same old. The right's strategy is always the same: Start by explaining how the other person is simply misguided and naive, and then harp away on one miniscule, picayune data point and use that to tar the whole damn subject.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:40 AM on November 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


Your liberal relatives will be very open to the idea of racism against minorities if you explain your economic justification for it with just the right rehearsed talking points.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


See also my recent blog post, How To Deflate Familial Politics Discussions By Talking About Dwarf Fortress At Uncomfortable Length.

ok ... but the nobles make sure everything works. seems like they got a pretty good system, I don't see what you're so mad about here
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:41 AM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Our family agreed to watch a Family Feud Marathon in lieu of speaking to each other today.
(All-Star Family Feud Special (1978) Barney Miller/Eight is Enough, Soap/Welcome Back Kotter)
posted by lampshade at 11:42 AM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Re: the conservative arguments-


"That's a lovely straw man you've created for the centerpiece this year. Normally we just go with a cornucopia, but this is very nice."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:42 AM on November 28, 2013 [22 favorites]


Red State recommends imagining strangling your liberal relatives. "Now, imagining the physical act is important. It has a calming effect on your mind"...
posted by Beardman at 11:42 AM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


"That's a lovely straw man you've created for the centerpiece this year. Normally we just go with a cornucopia, but this is very nice."

My spine shivers, imagining the passive-aggressive showdown that ensues.

No please. After you.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:49 AM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Dwarf Fortress Guide to Talking Politics with Your Republican Uncle

1. Avoid tantrums by managing your uncle's mood proactively. Make sure to seat him in a masterwork chair, preferably one studded with high-value gemstone or precious metal decorations.
2. A masterwork meal also generates a happy thought in most uncles. Make sure your best chef is working the kitchen!
3. Uncles are fond of drink as well as industry. Provide alcohol in barrels placed near the dining area, and allow the uncle to move into the workshop after dining if he'd rather work on tasks than attend the party.
4. If the uncle still throws a tantrum despite all your best efforts, don't let it spread into the dreaded Thanksgiving tantrum spiral, potentially leaving the whole family dead! Wall the tantrum-throwing uncle into a room; then either cause a cave-in above him or simply allow him to starve to death alone.
posted by RogerB at 11:54 AM on November 28, 2013 [37 favorites]


ya know, there's all kinds in my family. you wouldn't believe it. each of us could engage every other in some fight, and every one would have some justification. i just remember, they're all gonna die. and, as the eldest sibling it's likely i'll beat them all to it (excepting my ancient, dementia-inflicted mother). dead is dead. two or three generations later nobody knows or cares who you were. or where you stood regarding politics, or whether you won or lost big family arguments. dead is dead. enjoy your meal, embrace the crazy. IT'S ALL YOU HAVE AND YOU WON'T HAVE IT FOR LONG.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:55 AM on November 28, 2013 [30 favorites]


i like to bellow NO QUARTER SHALL BE GIVEN and then flip the table but ymmv
posted by elizardbits at 11:58 AM on November 28, 2013 [24 favorites]


all that aside, I think we can agree that the fortress system is a fine example of free enterprise in action
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:12 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only conservative left in my family is my grandfather, the British Imperialist (which is not even an overstatement - he is the caricature). Absolutely brilliant, 85 and still sharp, undeniably conservative, and happened to raised a bunch of radical socialists (our parents).

But at family get togethers he satisfies himself just by mentioning that God is an Englishman and how great the English are and how they and Capitalism civilized the world. I mean, he believes it, but he says it with that wink and grandfatherly smirk followed by feigning alzheimer's and the frailty of his age when someone takes the bait. It's quite endearing. I can almost forgive him for listening to Rush Limbaugh.

My brother calls our grandfather the proto-troll.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 12:18 PM on November 28, 2013 [20 favorites]


Yeah, honestly, it's bugged me for a while that social security tax is regressive, and that undocumented folks working under a fake SSN will pay into the system their whole life and never collect the payout they deserve. I've got some thoughts on how to solve the problem, but I don't think the folks at the Washington Examiner would like 'em much....
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 12:19 PM on November 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


You know how in stories of dysfunctional family gatherings there's also the stereotypical drunk, pill popping older matron with an acid tounge who tells harsh truths no one else in the family wants to confront?

Really, why wait until you're a matron?
posted by The Whelk at 12:22 PM on November 28, 2013 [20 favorites]


Ethel or Norman? What about Julius?
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:23 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or, at the end of any heated debate, just quietly imply the meal you served is people.
posted by The Whelk at 12:24 PM on November 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


As a Canadian, I don't really have a dog in this fight, but for what it's worth, we get into the same fights at family gatherings (usually Christmas). Half the family are dyed-in-the-wool "small-c" Conservatives. A few are hardline Conservative Party of Canada types. Then there are the far lefties like me, who swing orange with the NDP. The conservative uncles of the family particularly love baiting the lefties, goading them on with intentionally incindiary rhetoric and dirty tactics like quoting meaningless but real-sounding statistics with no basis in reality. It's a sport to them, like playing poker with your friends. All's fair in war, winner gets bragging rights, end of story.

We lefties, particularly the younger cousins, learned long ago not to engage the uncles in debate unless you want to play their game the way they do (dirty); you won't convince them of your viewpoint, you'll only signal yourself a worthy opponent for a future "round".

The smart ones have realized over time that behaving that way alienates them from their families, and have toned it down. The remainder, we just get them drunk.
posted by LN at 12:26 PM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of the biggest problems facing America's future is how people with differing opinions can't have a civilized conversation about politics.
posted by Nelson at 12:26 PM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Boy, Auntie Whelk- your community theater production of Long Day's Journey Into Night is really coming along!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:26 PM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Red State advice is hilarious. "You know that if you get in a conversation, the liberal is going to totally skewer you, so just make some snide, passive-aggressive remarks and if it helps, imagine choking them to death."
posted by straight at 12:29 PM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Or, at the end of any heated debate, just quietly imply the meal you served is people.

First, plug it into your USB port and download the necessary drivers.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:34 PM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Three minutes ago my father in law tried to spark "conversation" about Obamacare. Nobody took the bait. Good job, family.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:35 PM on November 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


I was planning to talk about the Packers' playoff hopes instead of politics. Thanks for ruining Thanksgiving, Matt Flynn.
posted by escabeche at 12:43 PM on November 28, 2013


And, as if on cue, a healthcare.gov commercial runs during the Packers/Lions game. There's nowhere to hide, people!
posted by tonycpsu at 12:45 PM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Or, at the end of any heated debate, just quietly imply the meal you served is people.

Or vegan faux-turkey, which will often get a worse reaction out of that relative.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:45 PM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


A good alternative to all this would be huffing some Scotchguard, stripping naked, and going through a mechanical car wash.
posted by thelonius at 12:48 PM on November 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Three minutes ago my father in law tried to spark "conversation" about Obamacare. Nobody took the bait. Good job, family.

Are.. are you tweeting your family dinner
posted by Sebmojo at 12:49 PM on November 28, 2013 [39 favorites]


As a limey, I just bless Aneurin Bevan.

*Whistles 'Jerusalem' while edging away*
posted by stanf at 12:49 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


As we all are pretty well aligned politically our new third rail is food production/gmo/monsanto/water rights.
Whoopie
posted by djseafood at 12:51 PM on November 28, 2013


Poster wrote in comment #5308406">> And, as if on cue, a healthcare.gov commercial runs during the Packers/Lions game. There's nowhere to hide, people!

This is why you should be watching the Castle marathon on TNT instead!

And on this day, I am grateful for not having to have difficult/fighty conversations at Thanksgiving, and even when I had Thanksgiving with family (most of whom are now dead), that was also not a problem.
posted by rtha at 12:51 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, what happened with the quote script there? It must have started early on the cocktails.
posted by rtha at 12:52 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are.. are you tweeting your family dinner

This is the only way you can talk to the one cousin you can actually stand for five seconds cause they're at the only end of the damn table cause we have to pretend we're some Grant Wood painting rather than about three generations of desperate individuals who share, at best a phenotype and some inheritable diseases.
posted by The Whelk at 12:53 PM on November 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


(In my family everyone who used to be Republican has changed their outlook.)

Same here. My family get togethers now involve who can get the most worked up about how much they hate Republicans and everyone gets a little further Left every time. It’s surreal.
posted by bongo_x at 12:54 PM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


i kept my mouth shut so far about insurance.

go lion! go football! things i can argue about that don't matter!
posted by sio42 at 1:00 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


(In my family everyone who used to be Republican has changed their outlook.)<>

If anyone asks me what I want for Christmas, this is what I'm asking for.

posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Teapublican that RedState is talking to is not a person I've ever encountered, anywhere. Is that how they really feel when confronted by liberals (we used to be called moderates, but I digress)?
posted by Brocktoon at 1:10 PM on November 28, 2013


Property is theft. Taxes are theft. I worship Satan.

The key is to keep it real simple. Like it's the economy stupid. When you get them to put their thinking cap on is when they get rolling.
posted by bukvich at 1:27 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Does the RedState article really, actually give advice on how to subtly attack the character of your political sparring partner, use the fragility of children to shield oneself from criticism or discussion, and to visualize physical violence as god-forbid you come up with an actual line of reason?
posted by Slackermagee at 1:32 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also LOVE the adorable dissonance in the Examiner op-ed. Obamacare is bad! Social security is racist because minorities and immigrants don't live as long… for some reason… that no one could possible associate with policy. Its not the fault of the GOP though!
posted by Slackermagee at 1:37 PM on November 28, 2013


Political arguments? Amateurs. We have a century's worth of interpersonal deceits, backstabbing and passive-aggressive multi generational bitterness to play with. Why go for a generic fight when with one simple phrase suggesting that one of the dishes seems store bought, you can turn the whole table against everyone else?
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


"I heard soon they're going to arrest you and take your kids away if you smoke in the car with them. This ain't the Merrica I grew up in."
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:48 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I heard soon they're going to arrest you and take your kids away if you smoke in the car with them. This ain't the Merrica I grew up in."

The Tea Partier equivalent of trolling hipsters with fake band names. "Oh, yeah, yeah, I heard that too! Grumblegrumblegrumble! Outrage!"
posted by jason_steakums at 1:50 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Couldn't cite sources. Offered to look it up for him. VICTORY IS MINE.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:54 PM on November 28, 2013


I am so glad the most heated argument so far has been over just how funny the Pekinese is and whether the Terriers are all bonkers.

So sad how football teams just don't have the menacing names they once did.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:04 PM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


We've now moved on to arguing about whether Peter Cushing counts as having played the Doctor.
posted by kyrademon at 2:31 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Also love how the ways to convince liberals are basically just addressing stereotypes, not real people. I don't like Kale. Also, Social Security is not ripping of minorities, thanks."

Well, and that raises the point the ostensible guides ignore: They're really easy to turn into arguments for more socialism. "Oh, you know, you're right that as a function of the cap, the redistributive properties of social security tend to accrue more to whites (which is really a comment on relative income disparity, since it burdens poor whites as well, Uncle Jerry). The way to solve that isn't abolishing social security or doing a CPI cap, as that will only exacerbate this problem that you have only had for the past ten minutes, that of economically disadvantaging minorities. We know that based on previous systems of social spending. The way to limit it is actually to raise the floor on what's exempt, making rich people pay their fair share. Glad to know that you agree."

mic drop

(I do this at Christmas because I see my girlfriend's family; in mine, I have to defend the necessity of any form of capitalism at all and generally have to bat down complaints about GMOs and endorsements of woo-medicine.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:33 PM on November 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


If you're arguing about politics instead of watching the MST3K Turkey Day marathon, you've failed at Thanksgiving, sorry.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:45 PM on November 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


We had an unfortunate outbreak of "Elvis was a really original artist" vs "Elvis stole everything from black people" earlier but so far everything is stable.
posted by Artw at 2:48 PM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


President Obama has cut taxes for small businesses 18 times since taking office, allowing them to grow and create jobs.

So, cutting taxes IS the way to grow the economy? Thanks, DNC! I guess my Republican uncle was right after all! This will make Thanksgiving political discussions easier!
posted by vorpal bunny at 2:49 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did you say, "Motherfuck him and John Wayne"? If not, you missed a great opportunity.
posted by klangklangston at 2:50 PM on November 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


Heh. It probably would not have helped diffuse the situation.
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on November 28, 2013


what if i don't want to join a power group
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:53 PM on November 28, 2013


Didn't have to spend Thanksgiving with my Uncle this year, so no dire predictions of FEMA camps to contend with. I did, however, get into an argument with my son about the Zimmerman trial. It's his first time home from college, so he has to argue with me about something. My freshman year Thanksgiving involved coming out to a flipping-out family, so he really has to step it up if he wants to ruin Thanksgiving like good ole Mom.
Actually, the only time we needed to fact check anything was when we were playing Scattegories and needed to confirm if it was "nick-nack" or "knick-knack."
posted by Biblio at 2:54 PM on November 28, 2013


Team Zimmerman not sort of shuffling their feet and looking at the ground when he's mentioned these days then?
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


My birth-people are all left-lefter leaning than me, which is hard, as in actual communists/ex-members of the SDS, commune-living hippies, radicals & Maoists. It's hard for me to outdo them, no matter how hard I lean, and what's more, I live thousands of miles from them, don't travel for some weird manufactured holiday to celebrate... what again? and any necessary calls to certain birth-people are made early in the day, before they can get drunk/angry enough to push me into saying something as brash as "actually, that might be a counter-productive tactic if you want to foster dialog & consensus..." before getting ignored & interrupted. So.

I am thankful for that, I suppose.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:59 PM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


My birth-people are all left-lefter leaning than me, which is hard, as in actual communists/ex-members of the SDS, commune-living hippies, radicals & Maoists. It's hard for me to outdo them, no matter how hard I lean,

So you are the Right Wing uncle.
posted by bongo_x at 3:03 PM on November 28, 2013 [19 favorites]


I don't have this problem in my family; I just offend people on Facebook in other families. Just the other day I was so rude to someone's cousin who claimed that Syria had essentially been permanently at war ever since they were called Assyria (as an argument, no kidding, as to why Iran could not be trusted) that I was summarily blocked.

By the time I got to my liberal friend claiming that China and the US were, presumably, collaborating on creating conditions of war in the South China Sea in order to distract the world from the coming (yet more) nuclear disaster in Fukushima (you know, the fuel rods that are going to explode when they take them out), I had calmed down enough to get past it with a simple breathing exercise and the Serenity Prayer. Now if only I had a sponsor I could call....
posted by dhartung at 3:22 PM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Schopenhauer knew how to have a good bad argument, and now you can too!
posted by Ned G at 3:42 PM on November 28, 2013


(That list should really be called how to lose friends and influence people)
posted by Ned G at 3:46 PM on November 28, 2013


So you are the Right Wing uncle.

I took a hard swerve to the right & joined the Green Party, yes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:48 PM on November 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


No political arguments at our table. We did, however, sit at dinner and watch my 10-month old nephew take a huge dump while we were all eating. So there's that.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:32 PM on November 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Only source of tension here was "Will the pregnant lady eat ALL the stuffing before dinner is even served, or will there be some left?"

I decided to be magnanimous. Because holiday.
posted by sonika at 4:39 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


We're making beef tenderloin in between MST3K episodes and drinking bottles of wine which resulted in an impromptu dance number to " Now that I can dance".

Did I mention the wine?
posted by The Whelk at 4:45 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I gotta give it to them: "Let's be thankful Cyber Monday shopping doesn't happen on Healthcare.gov" it's pretty funny.
posted by gertzedek at 5:22 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm over at friends for Thanksgiving this year, so the only debate we've had is about Z-Grade horror films and whether "Mitchel" is the best MST3K movie. Answer, it totally is.
posted by happyroach at 5:40 PM on November 28, 2013


I got a nice eyeful of ha-ha racism from a cousin-by-marriage who wanted to show me a picture of a bus full of people in Arabic dress labeled "Obama's Healthcare.gov A-Team." I don't think he's anti-Obama as much as he is fond of making jokes about them Pakistanis in customer service, hyuk hyuk. I rolled my eyes and that was it.

Old Drunken Uncle likes to throw in occasional nonsequiter racist remarks in between disturbing stories about visiting whorehouses while in the Army (told at the dinner table in front of his 95-year-old mother, who feigns deafness) and attempts to rile up Cop Brother-in-Law with any news item about bad cops. But that's just kind of his schtick. He's one of those never-quite-sober but never-quite-blotto semi-functional drunks that should have been dead years ago, but keeps on truckin'. (He is my most ridiculous inlaw in some ways because his house is decorated with fine "art" that seems to be all some form of naked lady. He has a Playboy magazine library room upstairs. His decor is pure 70s bachelor pad. He has a GIANT bottle of Courvoisier in the dining room.)

I haven't yet visited my side of the family, where political arguments are a thing, and I'm a little on edge about it. It's not that I'm worried I'll be bested, I just don't know what flavor of Fox News Dumb Shit I'll be getting this year. As the only real liberal in the family (who dares to say so anyway), I feel like I can't just quit the field and leave the shit unchallenged.
posted by emjaybee at 5:43 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sitting in front of the space heater, starting the Downton Abbey Season 4 marathon with my wife and her two sisters, burning through six bottles of wine, seething that Youngest Sister did not finish watching season 3 this week. JESUS ADRI YOU HAD ONE JOB!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:47 PM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


From Kevin Drum, "How Not To Argue With Your Crazy Relatives At Thanksgiving".

"Every year there's a spate of blog/magazine pieces about how to discuss the political hot potato du jour with your crazy right-wing relatives at Thanksgiving. And every year they're fake. Mostly they provide stock liberal responses to imaginary conservative talking points, and as Hayes says, they don't really do any good."
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:00 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


11 Comic Book Characters You Definitely Do Not Want Showing Up at Thanksgiving
posted by Artw at 7:11 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aw fuck...

ISRAEL ALERT, ISRAEL ALERT.
posted by Artw at 7:16 PM on November 28, 2013


I think I'm going to skulk out here with my phone and some booze now for a bit.
posted by Artw at 7:18 PM on November 28, 2013


so how's ObamaCare working out for you?
posted by shockingbluamp at 7:23 PM on November 28, 2013


Holidays go a lot better when we stick to talking about food.
posted by Sequence at 7:27 PM on November 28, 2013


Back in communist Europe I'd be entitled to socialist booze to deal with this.
posted by Artw at 7:28 PM on November 28, 2013


so how's ObamaCare working out for you?

Hopey, changey, you know, pretty good for a start.
posted by bongo_x at 7:29 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


While chatting at the dinner table today with my also-very-progressive married friends, we received a call from an old Fox-watching conservative college buddy. At which point, the following brief exchange takes place:

Husband, answering phone: (turns to us) "It's Digby."

Me: "Say hi from me!"

Wife: (whispering) *Don't bring up politics!*

Me: (seizing the opportunity) "Yeah...just ask him if he's signed up for Obamacare yet!"

Wife: (silently punches my shoulder, gives me "I'm watching you" gesture with two fingers pointed at her eyes and then at my eyes)

Husband: (takes phone outside where I can't be heard)

Me: (coming to a sudden realization) "Oh wow...I'M the annoying uncle!"

But then we had pie, so I didn't have much time to feel too bad about it.
posted by darkstar at 7:30 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


My dad, I think, spends weeks planning how he's going to rip apart Obamacare or whatever the next time I visit him, and then when I visit him, he looks for any conversational opening, no matter how weak, to bring it up. And then I just repeat, "I'm not talking about politics." while he drones on about whatever bs he picked up from O reilly or Fox News, until he finally stops. Then we can talk about something interesting.
posted by empath at 7:40 PM on November 28, 2013


I'm not home for Thanksgiving this year, but I cannot WAIT to talk about the pope. In an actual legit way, not in a gotcha catholic vs. heathen way.

I am, on the other hand, not looking forward to talking about how Obamacare is working out for me.
posted by Sara C. at 8:02 PM on November 28, 2013


Israel is also on the docket this year, but as Louisianian non-Jews who don't have strong foreign policy opinions, I'm not too worried about it from my family. Also, Israel is on the docket this year because my brother visited there recently, so we can at least steer it over to how good the beaches are and what the beer is like.
posted by Sara C. at 8:03 PM on November 28, 2013


I ended up weeding all six of my sister- and brother-in-law's raised garden beds this afternoon. I don't know if they were just really into the discussions, or if they were hoping for free labor. In any case, they won (and my back hurts).
posted by mudpuppie at 8:45 PM on November 28, 2013


I have a relationship with my extended family down in Georgia that balances between outright cognitive dissonance, joy, and mere discomfort, and at the same time, Thanksgiving is the only holiday I care about and the only place I want to spend it is in Sylvania, Georgia, six hundred and twenty-four miles from where I live. I have made it clear with every employer that has ever taken me on that I do not work the week of Thanksgiving, not now, not ever, and if that's a problem, they should consider another candidate. I'll work Christmas, I'll work my birthday, I'll leave a family member's funeral early to return to work, but on the Friday evening of the week preceding Thanksgiving, I will be in or on my vehicle, noodling pleasantly down the old Route 301 to my peculiar half-homeland.

We have a family house there that would be the perfect idealized Southern setting for an American Miyazaki film, with a hipped tin roof, eighteen-foot ceilings, carved bullseyes, working transoms, a seven foot clawfoot tub, pecan trees and live oaks, a barn packed to the rafters with gorgeous items of historical wonderment, and more genteel Georgia pleasantries crammed into one place than a boy can comfortably comprehend, crawling with sprightly green anoles that dance across the porches that wrap almost entirely around the house. It's closed up for most of the year like a Scooby Doo haunted house, and I pull in with my bags, unlock the huge paneled door with stained glass windows, and install myself in the parlor for the duration.

I am a lifelong Marylander, a blue state purebred progressive, and as gay as a pair of magenta drawers with teal accents, and these are my father's people—a dizzying array of cousins from infant to late eighties, interconnected in ways that require us to sometimes draw up charts of how we are related, always having to look up the absurd rules of first, second, removed, blood, marriage, et cetera. I relish the first part of the week, of playing house in a place full of magical realism, waking early to clean and wash bedlinens and polish silver before it's time for tea on the porch swing with a sausage roll from Donna's over on Ogeechee Street and a languid read through the eventful crime report of the most gorgeously retro-titled newspaper in the whole world, the Sylvania Telephone.

Ruth Thomas of S. Hull Street reports that, on last Friday afternoon, a strange man sat on her porch for a period of twenty-five minutes, then got up and walked away.

The pace, the people, the place—these are all so alien, but I love the soft, drawling stories, even when they're not on subjects in which I have any remote interest. The eldest know no better than to say "we had a colored fellah who'd come along to clean the fish for us" and don't understand that someone could stray not just from the Baptist congregation, but into realms of Eastern philosophy. We gather in the kitchen, holding hands in a a circle around the periphery, and I bow my head though I believe in none of the exhaustingly long blessing recited by the oldest and most devout in the room, cousin Walter, who stares sightlessly into the world through glasses as thick as the Bible.

"In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen."

Amen.

My Southern family has a branch that's deeply involved in progressive Georgia politics (there is such a thing), but mostly, Reagan ruled the roost, and the religion was Baptist and as dispensationalist as they come, and when such things came up, I'd always wonder—am I here in this group to represent for my ideals, to argue these points, and to make some change in the world...or is the benefit not worth the sturm und drang?

I fought with my father constantly, primarily in our twenty year argument about the firebombing of Dresden, but in Georgia, I just don't. There is a surface tension to the storytelling that's essential to its flow and play, and there is the oldest Southern tradition of basic denial, in that my grandmother, born in 1899, did not have the least conception of the possibility that her fraternal twin brother, Nap, might well have been a bisexual man. You speak not the names of such things, and they just become integrated in strange ways. I brought my boyfriend with me on a number of occasions, and he was adored by older lady cousins and great aunts for his gentle nature and proper invocation of "ma'am" and the other obligations of the dismal gentry.

On a trip, my brother and his future wife were definitively instructed that they could not share a room in Aunt Catherine's home until they were married, whereas Paul and I were apologetically situated together in the hideaway sofabed in the parlor.

"Joe-B, Little Barbara is usin' the rollaway, so could you and your friend sleep top an' tails with Charlie Brown's boy?"

Paul's eyebrows shot up.

"I'll rig something up for him," I said, and made a little cot out of the sofa cushions in the corner of the room. My boyfriend and I snickered about this situation off and on for the rest of the trip and how we would be instantly recognizable as scary ass fags in much of the world, but in the alternate universe of plausible deniability, trying to slot a ten year-old into the middle of a sofabed full of gay just seemed like a perfectly reasonable and Christ-centered arrangement.

I contain the cognitive dissonance like an old blue mason jar full of wasps. With it capped, I drink in the dialects and the personalities of people so far removed from my world and yet so close in my bloodline. I watch my cousins who live out on the farm, the ruggedly handsome men with horseshoe mustaches and smiles that take place entirely in the corners of their eyes as they stay tight-lipped and prim. My elderly lady cousins are careworn and polite, full of gossip and concern, and they'd do almost anything you ask and light up like lanterns when you give compliments over their sweet potatoes and dump cakes.

Still, sometimes, things turn.

I have abandoned an entire wing of my Southern family because of Chick-Fil-A, because of their obsessive Facebook endorsement of those poor threatened family values under siege by the homosexuals that are gonna jes' ruin everthin' if they ain't stopped.

I used to make a separate trip for their reunions, but I have written them off. The thing is, sometimes it's not worth the fight, and the broken hearts aren't so well-healed.

Do you people read my fucking Facebook?

I'm sure they do. I'm sure they pray over me. It's sweet, but...so long.

Queer family teaches us almost nothing more important than that the family you make is as strong as or stronger than family of blood. Where the balance is better, and where the reward is greater, you can make the choice to catch those wasps in your inner blue glass mason jar and just keep them there, buzzing just loud enough that you don't forget entirely that Craig says "faggot" on occasion and that Aunt Catherine loved Reagan and that lovely old Bea thinks it's just terrible that her granddaughter left the church because the preacher said women who have abortions and homosekshuls are the worst thing in the world. You trap those details in your little blue jar, revere the things worth loving about complicated people without the privilege and exposure to modern things that you had, and carry with you the perfect tool to regain control when someone says "hur hur, have ya hurd about how Obamacur is gonna crash the whole economy?"

You have the wedge story.

You, if you're like me, and because I'm writing this as if you were like me, you are just like me, you maintain a little dossier of misdirection, a wedge to leave on the tracks when the political train is a'comin'.

"I'll tell you what, a whole lotta reglar folks are gonna lose their drawers once this Obamacare really kicks in.”

It's time to deploy.

Fortunately, I'd had an incident on the way down, still as fresh as a freshly issued cow pie.

“Wish I'd have lost mine,” I said. “Well, actually, maybe I shouldn't tell y'all about my drawers in mixed company, but I had an odd sort of experience on my drive down here.”

“Tell us!” my cousin Karen said, and she's one of the blue cousins, the ones who latch on when I arrive because I'm closest to her politically, despite her living in a trailer on a farm down here, and she was ready to facilitate an escape from the Obamacare spiral.

“Well, y'all know how everyone's wearing these crazy bright colors these days, the fluorescent shoes and chartreuse t-shirts and all that? Seems that they stopped makin' my damn drawers in white and only make 'em in clown panty colors, but I buy what fits and that's what fits.”

The room's calmed down. The wedge had taken hold.

“So I got these ridiculous drawers on and I'm at the rest stop, minding my own business in a stall, and y'all know how I am about my privacy in such things, and as I'm sitting there, I hear someone sayin' something outside the stall. Guy says 'huh...pink,' with a real tone, you know, real judgey, and I don't know what he's talkin' about, but I look down and I have these clown drawers bunched up around my ankles over my pants and my shoes, and I realize that this guy is makin' a commentary on my drawers!”

“What'd you do?” asked a cousin.

“Well, normally, I would jes' go on pretendin' to be not there at all, because I got couth, but I got that wild hair from bein' on the road, so I spoke up and said 'Magenta. They are magenta, not pink' because they were definitely magenta, with teal piping accents.”

I continued. “The guy's quiet for a second and then says 'I thought there was more red in magenta.' I'm talkin' color theory with some dude who's critiquing my drawers under a toilet stall! I say 'It's on the cusp, I suppose.'” Several cousins laughed out loud.

“You said 'on the cusp?'” snorted a cousin.

“I get very literate when I'm forced into toilet conversation. So the guy says 'The cusp, huh?' and I say 'It's the teal. It skews the balance.'”

“What'd he say then?”

“He said 'Ah,' then washed his hands and left. Honestly, people are crazy these days."

We all laughed. People are crazy.

What were we talking about, again?

Is it my job to educate aging voters who have already lost the hearts and minds of their kids when it comes to, say, equal access to marriage, or is it best to just be there, swimming in a sea of stories, sharing what we have in common instead of where we part company? Am I just shucking and jiving to keep the peace?

On some level, I would hope that, some day, some of my cousins will notice that I am pretty frank on the gay thing on my Facebook, on my blog, and on my Twitter, and maybe make some connection that, hey, that guy's okay, except maybe for the pink drawers. On another, I am conserving my bloodline and saving bloodshed for those who deserve it so much more. It's easier now that the most racist, the most xenophobic, and the most backwards of my family are either dead or sent to Coventry, where they'll never experience the pleasure of hearing what color my underpants are, but you find your own balances in your own way.

I am thankful for my family, even when they sometimes fall short of my hopes.

I am thankful for my family and this strange and magical place where I will sit at a little antique desk and write until the wee hours, buoyed by an indefinable magic that this place has always had for me, long before I knew enough to try and name it.

When other risks arise, when the cap on the wasp jar gets a little loose, I still have wry and painfully subtle jokes about fisting to make about my hapless attempts to get the damn neck out of the turkey, rendered in language so disarming that no one but the smallest select audience will know what on earth I'm actually talking about. I will snicker about the little plastic handcuffs on the drumsticks and how they'd be perfect for cop night down at the Anvil Bar and that joke will go over most heads because I am among the last of my queer lineage crossing over from the world of irony and barely raised eyebrows. We have all had to get along thus far with wiles and a well-told story, a wedge on the rails to keep the worst at bay.

I think about my grandmother's twin brother, born in 1899, and how rough it must have been for him, and how full of longing and silence and frustration his life must have been if he was, as my father suspected, more for the men than the ladies, right until his death from a minor infection to a minor injury sustained in his business as a plumber. I sit on the porch, and my brother calls me via the picture phone contained in the magical tablet I'm carrying, and it is the world of the future, shimmering in the half light between now and 1947 or thereabouts, and I just hold onto that sensation of too many things at once, and savor.

Tomorrow, we will eat leftover turkey and pimento cheese sandwiches and Watergate salad with sweet tea, and Walter will say “colored” and possibly “nigger” and I will listen, and record, and process, and use my wedges when I need to throw a train off the tracks, and as I filter out the worst and shamelessly steal the best, I will do a mountain of dishes, clean out the refrigerator, wash all the linens, store the silver in velvet-lined boxes, and put away the folding tables and chairs. I will stay up writing all night, sleep fitfully into the parlor, then pack my things and lock up the old house, saying “so long” for another year.

All our worlds are not the same, and different rules may apply.

When the benefit is worth the effort, you may choose the path of lesser resistance.
posted by sonascope at 8:51 PM on November 28, 2013 [129 favorites]


Holidays with my extended family are great because my grandpa and his son are lifelong rural, hard-working, farm-owning, churchgoing liberals, so the right-wing comments from other assorted family members get all thrown off by that little curveball when they can't play the whole "Realer American Than You" card. Still a few farms out there in the middle of nowhere where the worker's rights values of the Farmer's Alliance got passed on generation to generation. It's really funny when someone sidles up to the dude in the Carhartt and mud-caked boots thinking they've found a receptive mind to bounce their latest Obama quips off of, only to meet a gruff "I voted for him."
posted by jason_steakums at 8:58 PM on November 28, 2013 [11 favorites]


At dinner tonight we talked about seals, sharks, killer whales, otters, and the vomiting habits of various cats we know. And pie.
posted by rtha at 9:05 PM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I'm at Thanksgiving dinner, I like to imagine I have a sanity meter, like in Call of Cthulhu. This makes it less an unbearably miserable dinner in hell and more like a fun game where you can't win. And like in Lovecraft's fiction, the only way to survive with your mind intact is to avoid asking questions and keep to yourself, no matter how weird things get. Inquiring into the reasoning behind why your uncle hates "Obamacare" will surely only yield non-arguments that defy the bounds of human logic. And who knows for what cruel god this strange, giant bird was sacrificed? Only the denizens of hell, the chattering chorus of the damned, know the depths of depravity to which this dinner shall descend.
posted by deathpanels at 9:33 PM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


My brother's girlfriend's father just couldn't wait to show me this "funny picture" [Caution: Not funny, but instead super-ultra-mega-racist] one of his co-workers sent him. I had my own crap to deal with since it's my first holiday without the wife and my dearly departed Mother's birthday was yesterday, plus my brother has enough problems, so I didn't immediately throw him out of the house.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:06 PM on November 28, 2013


Overheard at my Thanksgiving at my in-laws: US Government caused Typhoon Haiyan to hit Philippines because population control.
posted by LionIndex at 10:12 PM on November 28, 2013


cortex: "See also my recent blog post, How To Deflate Familial Politics Discussions By Talking About Dwarf Fortress At Uncomfortable Length."

Wait a minute!

Just because you are an admin doesn't mean you get to shamelessly abuse the selflinking rules!
posted by Samizdata at 10:23 PM on November 28, 2013


elizardbits: "i like to bellow NO QUARTER SHALL BE GIVEN and then flip the table but ymmv"

Then I yell back NO QUARTER ASKED and bogart the turkey while everyone fixes the table.
posted by Samizdata at 10:26 PM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I dunno.

My family Thanksgiving was pretty awesome. I spent much of the time doing kitcheny stuff with my really awesome female cousin. The rest of the time was spent discussing funny life stories pretty much and the only real moral crisis I had was deciding whether or not I wanted to go outside to look for open WiFi at one point, since I wanted to check the weather.

There was much yummy food and some good conversation, and the only downside was not being able to have a post-prandial nap because I didn't bring my CPAP.

So I feel pretty lucky amongst this crowd.

(Oh, and being kitchen help meant the cousin and I cooking up every more absurd things to point at in the distance while we snacked on the components of the upcoming meal.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:46 PM on November 28, 2013


Sara C: Have you had problems with Covered California?
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:18 AM on November 29, 2013


From the Redstate comments:

But seriously, thank goodness everyone in my family is conservative...or at least moderate. Last year at Thanksgiving, I gave all the adult males in my family some Americans For Prosperity swag as their early Christmas presents. It was much appreciated.
posted by Mocata at 7:26 AM on November 29, 2013


Thankfully, my family's technology has finally evolved to the point where we just grunt incoherently around mouthfuls of food at dinnertime, and then all just silently stare at our various laptops, smart-phones, and tablets the rest of the time.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:32 AM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Have you had problems with Covered California?

Yes, in that I can't afford any of the plans, all of which are drastically more expensive than just paying the penalty.
posted by Sara C. at 10:03 AM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


My brother's girlfriend's father just couldn't wait to show me this "funny picture" [Caution: Not funny, but instead super-ultra-mega-racist]

You weren't kidding, yikes.
posted by JHarris at 11:26 AM on November 29, 2013


Yes, in that I can't afford any of the plans, all of which are drastically more expensive than just paying the penalty.

Not to derail*, but did you calculate your subsidy amount(s) and use that to figure out the prices you'd actually pay? Because right now you have to call the insurance companies in order to do that (a few weeks ago there was a link to a Kaiser calculator) -- the prices that show up on the exchange are the *pre-subsidy* prices. Also, apparently the subsidies are based on both your income and whether you're looking at a gold, silver or bronze plan, so the amount of your subsidy isn't the same for every plan on the exchange.

Basically I think what happened is that the IT people in charge of the exchange site weren't really able to get the site to automatically calculate subsidies and list post-subsidy prices based on your input data (at least partially because that data is meanwhile getting sent through a lot of agencies to confirm your ID and all kinds of "security" measures), and the IT people's attempt to get the site do so was causing it to glitch and overload and crash. But instead of actually fixing it while under the gun in this past month or so, they just limited the exchange site's functionality as a kind of patch. So the end result is that figuring out what the prices *you individually will pay* for any given plan is really convoluted, for which the current patch is that Health Reform has sent a bunch of spreadsheets to insurance companies, and you're "supposed" to call the insurance company so they can read you the subsidies you'd get for a gold/silver/bronze plan off the spreadsheets. The prices you're seeing on the exchange aren't the actual prices, they're the prices the insurance companies will see before they receive the subsidy for your plan, and therefore pretty much meaningless for your purposes.

If the plans/prices/process seems off to you, you might also want to go to a Navigator, the whole point of a Navigator's job is to figure out issues like this. I'm going to have to go to one this coming week for similar reasons (bleh).

*The only person I talked about Obamacare with on Thanksgiving works for the Office of Health Reform.
posted by rue72 at 11:47 AM on November 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


This year, I was once again thankful that I am no longer with my ex. She was okay during the holidays, but at every family gathering we had about a fifty-fifty shot at hearing her sister's mother-in-law start in on Israel and "the Jews". The Jews, you see, are apparently huge practitioners of suicide bombing, and everything would be fine in the Middle East if the Jews stopped blowing themselves up.

No, I don't know how she managed to tie her own shoes either--and if she ever mentioned it, I couldn't hear it over the sound of me grinding my teeth into a fine powder.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:53 AM on November 29, 2013


the prices that show up on the exchange are the *pre-subsidy* prices.

THANK YOU!!!!

This is hugely valuable information to know.

The irritating thing about it, on a THANKS OBAMA AMIRITE level, is that the California site actually makes it look like the subsidies have already been factored in, with original prices and slashes through that and a second level of prices. My assumption based on the graphic design was that I was looking at the actual price I would pay after the subsidy. Which is about on par with independent health plans I've looked at in the past.

The way it looks, the "subsidy" (or subsidy looking graphic design?) knocks like $50/month off the price of the plan, leaving me paying $200/month for the lowest level cheapest possible thing that doesn't even cover routine healthcare costs I would realistically have. Which is just straight up not possible to the point that if that's how much health insurance costs, I'm not getting health insurance. I will just die in a gutter either way, whether I spend $200/month or not.

/end rant
posted by Sara C. at 12:14 PM on November 29, 2013


Sorry, Mr. Limbaugh, Thanksgiving Has Never Been A Celebration Of The Pilgrims’ Triumph Over Socialism
posted by homunculus at 12:23 PM on November 29, 2013


Left versus right arguments at Thanksgiving - how well I remember! NOBODY wanted to sit next to the left-handed cousin! I mean, sure, you couldn’t blame him, but the table was so crowded that even putting him on the corner didn’t prevent the elbow-bumping and flying forkfuls of food. You could try to eat with your elbows tucked in tightly, but there were always going to be slips, especially during meat-cutting, bread-buttering, platter-passing, and spud-scooping. They made him learn to write with his right hand (and this was in public school in the 1980’s!), but you can’t write Thanksgiving dinner.

The extended family stopped getting together when Grandma died. It’s just Mom, Sis, and me for Thanksgiving now. But I have a frozen shoulder this year, so it was just like old times, keeping my right elbow tucked in all through dinner.

Turns out two of my uncles were born left-handed, too. One was weakened on that side by polio as a toddler, and by the time he got his strength back the dominance had shifted. The other had suffered more rigorous and comprehensive “retraining” in the 1950’s and would never have dreamed of eating with his left hand in front of his mother like some kind of deviant.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:43 PM on November 29, 2013


a seven foot clawfoot tub

I spent, like, ten minutes trying to figure out where you'd put the seventh claw foot. I mean, five and six could go on the center of each side. But, would putting number seven on either end spoil the symmetry? Or would it balance it out if you put it on the end opposite the taps?

Then I remembered the other meaning of "foot" and went back to just being jealous and arthritic.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:59 PM on November 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, advice for the left is to quote statistics and figures and cite studies, and the advice for the right is to sneer and bare your teeth.

Man, neither side has any idea, do they?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:02 PM on November 29, 2013


the obvious solution is to challenge your opponent to the holmgang
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 AM on November 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, neither side has any idea, do they?

Well, at least it takes advantage of each side's strengths.



*goes back to daydreaming about a less dysfunctional society*
posted by darkstar at 7:37 PM on November 30, 2013


Hey, does anyone else have one diehard Socialist uncle who got you to accompany him to his local Black Friday anti-Walmart protest yesterday and an equally diehard Libertarian uncle who sneered as he read his local newspaper account of that same protest out loud to you over scrambled eggs this morning?

If so, you have my empathy. It sure makes for an interesting Thanksgiving weekend.

Truth be told, the uncle who belted out a 1930s union song and was immediately joined by an older activist lady to our left and a 20-something kid to our right and then everyone on the sidewalk for the "SOLIDARITY FOREVER" choruses as the cops watched from across the street kinda sorta won that battle over the uncle who said people who can't afford things like cool new library buildings "shouldn't get them".

But maybe that's just drunken little me, glad to be home after a long drive.

The best part, though, is when I realized, in the car, this afternoon, stalled in shitty I-95 traffic that I should have expected but hadn't because the worst traffic was supposed to be on Sunday, that I kinda sorta loved them both.

I'm not quite sure how that works, exactly. But I do. I love them both.

Fucking family. Go figure.
posted by mediareport at 8:45 PM on November 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


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