Tuesday Talk*: The Thanksgiving Talk

Every Thanksgiving, someone writes a post about how to argue with your crazy uncle. Sometimes the uncle is characterized as angry, or deplorable, or some other unpleasant word, but there are two components that never change. It’s always an “uncle,” because not even the woke want to argue with daddy, who pays for their iPhone and Cheetos, and it’s always the brilliant, reasonable and completely righteous youngster informing their idiot elder of how he’s destroying the universe.

While this is a daily occurrence for many of us, as I am deluged with law students and baby lawyers informing me how wrong I am about everything because they’re all the best and brightest Lake Wobegon has to offer, it takes on a special meaning for Thanksgiving, when young people are compelled by the evil forces of family to spend time with relatives they despise. They may attack an Old like me out of choice, but they are forced to sit next to their uncle who doesn’t even use Axe Body Wash or manscape.

The crux of the “conversation” is invariably how the smart and correct young person is to restrain her outrage at the ignorance and wrongness of her elder so as to make clear to him that he’s completely wrong, she’s completely right, and he should morph by the time sweet potatoes are served into a woke volunteer for Liz Warren. It teaches kids how to guide the conversation toward enlightenment rather than do what comes naturally, call the crazy uncle a Nazi and excoriate him for his racism, sexism and personal destruction of the environment.

Never is there any suggestion that the uncle isn’t crazy, angry or an idiot. Because HE IS!!!

And so the question is posed, is there any discussion to be had? In the view of the young and passionate, something must happen to the wisdom of a twenty-something that, with a few decades of experience atop that brilliance, they morph into an old person of utter awfulness. Or perhaps only youngsters today enjoy the genius of wokeness, such that every person who lived before never stood a chance of being anything other than an angry, crazy uncle.

There are certain phenomena that seem to make a conversation impossible, even when forced into the situation where you have to speak to one another. First, there is the meme problem, that young people rely on shallow and simplistic platitudes, often captured in their very funny memes, and believe these conclusory views are explanations, arguments logic, rather than empty rhetoric.

When you try to explain why “believe the woman” may not be a rationally sound approach to deciding issues of credibility, as opposed to “believe the facts” for example, you get at best a blank stare and at worst a lecture on the historic oppression of women and use of manipulative doubt to silence their views. When you try to explain that this has nothing to do with evidence in a specific instance, there’s a good chance they will either throw something or start to cry. Crying never makes Thanksgiving dinner taste better.

There is also the language dilemma, as the words and concepts employed by the Olds are foreign to the young. While the idiot uncle uses words based upon dictionary definitions, the young substitute their Humpty Dumpty meanings and hear what they want to attribute to the nasty old guy rather than what he’s saying.

And finally, there’s the “hate speech” problem. Should the Old use the word “girl”** or “hysterical,” he will be lectured as to his sexism and misogyny, as these words are no longer permissible if one wants to engage in conversation with a young person. While Olds may be under the misimpression that they are entitled to use the full panoply of words available, that’s only because they are angry or crazy. For the most part, the uncle will have given no thought at all to his personal pronouns, and find it hard to respect those chosen by the youngster.

Is this doable? Is it worth the effort? Does the smelly old guy have a duty to try to explain to the woke young person that it’s not that he’s crazy, angry or an idiot, but perhaps his worldview is formed by the decades of life experience gained on top of his twenty-something brilliance? Or should he just nod and feel bad about the future of humanity?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply.

** Oops, I did it again.

56 thoughts on “Tuesday Talk*: The Thanksgiving Talk

  1. Kathleen Casey

    It’s not doable. It’s not worth it. Whoosh. So talk about football.

    We hear Whoosh from older bigmouths too. It’s individual that I know. I’m the crazy sister.

  2. Steve Brecher

    Last line:
    feel badly

    Common usage, but no one will feel bad if you change it to be grammatically correct. If Uncle changes his mind, I think you’d say he feels good, not “well,” about humanity’s future.

  3. Hunting Guy

    They don’t even try to talk to me. If they do, I ask them if they think a 30-30 or the 30-06 is the best all-around deer cartridge. Shuts them up. Except one time when a young lady made an excellent argument for the .270.

    1. RB

      I like 7mm-08. Backed-down handloads have very manageable recoil for young hunters without too much sacrifice, and they can grow into factory loads without ever changing their rifle.

    2. LocoYokel

      .308 or 7.62 X 39. Still enough punch to take down any typical deer (more than enough if .308) but not enough to go through or travel as far on a missed shot. .270 is ok but not enough knock-down on a bigger buck and it still has to much range. .300 blackout has no reason to exist, it’s just a wimpy 7.62 X 39 wannabe.

        1. RB

          Well…maybe just not in the middle of gun deer season.

          Though what does it say about you as a New Yorker that so many gun people think you’re worth reading?

          And in case I’m not around Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

          1. SHG Post author

            What it means is that I need to change my Tuesday Talk rules, because this won’t be happening again. I’m not amused. And Happy Thanksgiving.

            1. RB

              Too far, understood. Sorry. Not that my sense of humor is universally appreciated anyway. I might have a better idea of where the line is, though. (hopefully)

            1. Kathleen Casey

              I just sold his shotguns and my Mossberg 20 gauge. Figured, What’s the likelihood I’ll go out again? Indulge me. I’m sad.

  4. Hunting Guy

    Robin Redhawk.

    “ If my ancestors had enforced their immigration laws you wouldn’t have this holiday.”

  5. Patrick Maupin

    “nod and feel bad about the future of humanity”

    As (usually) the innocent bysitter, I wish more uncles would consider this approach. Yes, once it becomes clear that no useful intergenerational knowledge transfer is going to take place, you may find it amusing to prove that you were a master off-line troller even before the internet was a gleam in Vint Cerf’s eye, but who are you proving it to? The other adults already know your foibles, capabilities, and opinions, and probably keep up with current events themselves, so you and their time might be better spent simply catching up on the personal events that have transpired over the most recent year.

    Nothing clears out the youngsters faster than a discussion of the polyps found in your latest colonoscopy, except perhaps the wonderment about exactly how many tools, cameras, and lasers they can shove up your urethra these days to vaporize and extract those really elusive kidney stones.


      Thankfully, they knock you out before they insert all those implements of destruction to remove a stone the size of a .30 caliber bullet, (7mm).

      When the fun starts is three weeks later when they remove the stent. They don’t knock you out for that, but they do provide a large grab bar above your head to grab on to.

      1. SHG Post author

        Yet again, I’m reminded of why I sometimes hate Tuesday Talk rules. Let no one feel compelled to dive down this particularly unpleasant rabbit hole.

        1. losingtrader

          So I shouldn’t mention I’ll clear out the kids by discussing the operation of the inflatable penile implant?
          On the subject at hand, I’m afraid it’s my sister-in-law, age 60, who knows everything.
          Since she’s making the meal, I’ll have to avoid her expertise on how college rape statistics vastly understate the problem. She would be the Title IX investigator, judge , and jury because she has all the degrees.

  6. Dave

    There is a much simpler solution, the one I brilliantly arranged. Have a small family where everyone is all on the same political persuasion and so there are never any loaded arguments beyond which type of pie we should have for dessert.

      1. Dave

        No, I prefer freshly-whipped whipped cream (which I make myself, adding vanilla and sugar to the cream. Yum!)

        There is no echo – we don’t even talk about politics – we just meet and eat and catch up on mundane life. This year, will just be my family unit (two kids, me and their mother), and my parents. Nice. Simple. More stuffing for me. No crazy uncles, even when uncles are included. I have heard many spectacular tales of family arguments and disfunction on many a turkey day from others. It always sounded so alien as it has never happened to me. And damn, now I am really aching for the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Thanks.

  7. Black Bellamy

    When I was in DC a month ago I stopped in a gift store and bought a giant mug with all the presidential portraits on it, and featured in a large and prominent position in the center, our current one. I’m going to whip out the mug in the middle of dinner and hand it to my uncle. “Thinking of you” We have a split family politically and generally avoid such conversations, which makes for a boring time. Time to spice things up.

    1. LocoYokel

      I REALLY want a MAGA pussy hat. Just to watch everybody’s head explode. Well those who know what both of them are. I may have to commission one at one of the embroidery shops online.

      Yes, I am that guy.

    2. Rojas

      Piece of advice. Save it for after dinner.
      Generally considered bad form hunting over a baited hole.
      See what HG did up thread? Pisses off the host.

        1. Rojas

          Given the unfortunate turn of this thread….
          Out here in the middle “woke relative” might bring a different perspective.

  8. RB

    My wife’s grandfather likes to troll the exceptionally vapid granddaughter by saying silly things that are just barely ‘old man’ enough that she believes him and winds herself up into a tizzy.
    There used to be two, but thankfully one of them finally either caught on or grew up. And the remaining one has a short attention span.

    1. Scarlet Pimpernel

      Now that’s the way to have a fun Thanksgiving, calling the wife vapid with a short attention span.

      1. RB

        Ha. It’s the smart one that married me. Everyone makes a mistake/exception that proves the rule and all that.

  9. Ross

    Use my Dad’s family method of putting the kids at the kid’s table, with a promise to move to the adult table when the kids grow up. Which occurs some time around age 40, depending on how many of the adults have died. That way, the kids get to talk amongst themselves about how unfair the world is, without bothering the uncles and aunts.

  10. Curtis

    The woke are so nasty that it doesn’t even help to agree with them. I was on a family vacation when Obergefell was announced. My wife and I smiled when we heard the announcement.

    Most of my family spent the whole day spewing bile at any who could possibly question gay marriage – conveniently forgetting Obama and Clinton. My family was just so mean that I questioned whether I want to be on their side. By the end of the day, my joy at the decision had turned in nausea at the viciousness of my “allies.”

    They are nice people individually but, together, they turn into a mob.

    1. Kathleen Casey

      It’s the PC culture we aunts are up against, traitors to solidarity, inclusivity, diversity, and #metoo hysteria. It’s a cover-up.

  11. B. McLeod

    I look forward to the heady days of Rule 8.4(g), wherein lawyers will not even be permitted to sit down to a holiday dinner of any kind without inviting a representative of every oppressed subcultural or socio-economic group. Restricting such events to family members (even if some are unhinged or hysterical) obviously thwarts diversity and inclusiveness in a wholly unwarranted and unjustifiable manner.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    I think it’s a good thing that my hard left family members are on the opposite side of the continent so I don’t have to worry about this. I will enjoy my holiday more because I don’t have to fsck stupidity at the table or be told how evil I am because I joined the NRA.
    Also in the West the hot new deer round is 6.5 Creedmore for better long range performance.

  13. JRP

    Im mid 30s but based on dinners with our families current crop of college students I am probably considered the crazy uncle.

    I dont back down from them, I frame the conversation in logic and dont allow them to devolve into emotion. If they cry they can do so on my shoulder without changing my argument.

    My hope is when they final grow up they will remember the conversations. If not they will become that meme of the hillary criers.

    Not the place/crowd I talk guns with but… 6.5 for 1000m or less .338 for beyond.

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