Pointless amusement

Pass the salt: The Brokelyn guide to avoiding political arguments at Thanksgiving dinner

There are some things you're just going to have to say over and over again. via Madten
There are some things you’re just going to have to say over and over again. via Madten

‘Tis not exactly the season to be jolly — the first of fall and winter’s family-centric holidays has already been marred by this year’s election, the results of which may well have divided your family into pro and anti-Trump camps. And while it’s no doubt as hard to be a Republican in a Democratic family as it is the other way around, in this case we declare that the pendulum of insanity swings only one way.

But the last thing you need at a holiday meal is to get into an argument with a Trump supporter. For one, yelling cuts into turkey time. What’s more, Thanksgiving is a time of erasure. It’s the one time a year when we actively gloss over the bloody history of our once indigenous nation, and gather hands to forget what we did. So,why not do the same with politics? Even if most of your family voted for Hillary, there’s a chance that at least one of the olds at the table didn’t, and the best thing to do is redirect any hints of political conversation to a different topic.

There are plenty of resources on how to talk to pro-Trump family, and there’s definitely an argument for that. But we’re here to tell you how to avoid, avoid, avoid, because that’s also something you might have to do for your own sanity. We’ve put together a condensed guide to topics of conversation you might have to divert, with solutions that are about as neutral as a Jerry Seinfeld routine! Feel free to borrow any of these ideas and get ready to have a peaceful holiday meal with the elephant in the room. 


Not all protests are whiny. via IG user @ninaludvigsen
Not all protests are whiny. via IG user @ninaludvigsen

If anyone complains that protesters are “whiny,” or “sore losers” 

– Talk about the best protest signs you’ve seen this year.
– Tell your family about that neat post-it wall in the 14th and 6th subway tunnel in Manhattan.
– Tell the story of that one NYC pharmacy that protested the gender gap without whining at all.
– “Why yes I’d love more wine, thanks.”
– “I love losers. Specifically, I love The Biggest Loser. Did you guys read that New York Times article about the dude who gained it all back?”
– Stage a flash mob protest against string beans with your siblings and chant, “We’re human beans!”

If someone starts to talk about terrorism as a justification for a Muslim registry

– Counter with a news item about The National Registry of White Males.
– Pull out a carefully designed celebrity pasteboard with the title “Muslims: They’re just like us!”
– Mention that you’re planning to register as a Muslim, and if that sparks a reaction, make up something about how it’ll get you tax breaks and they always told you to “live within your means.”
– “Did you guys see that episode of High Maintenance with the Muslim girl who smokes weed? I did.”
– “Hey, is my life in Brooklyn more high maintenance than the show Girls? I bet you’d like to know.”


Show this to your family and claim you've uncovered Donald Trump's secrets. via The Awl, edited by Sam Corbin
Show this to your family and claim you’ve uncovered Trump’s secrets. via The Awl, edited by Sam Corbin

If anyone at the table starts to explain why they “just didn’t like Hillary”

– Propose to go around the table choosing one thing you “just don’t like” about each family member.
– Propose to go around the table rating each family member on a scale of physical attractiveness 1-10.
– Put Hillary Clinton’s face on a puppy’s body, show your family, and ask if she’s more likable that way. Really ask.
– “I didn’t like Edmund Hillary either. How you gonna take credit for being the first to climb Mount Everest when a sherpa did it before you?”
– Do your best impression of Jimmy Fallon’s impression of Hilary Swank on SNL.
– Create a pasteboard chum box with weird medical stuff and Donald Trump’s name sprinkled in. Express your concerns for Trump’s health and your wishes for his speedy recovery.

If anyone mentions the “alt-right” without utterly rebuking it in the same breath

– Talk about your alt-comedy career.
– Muse about how the term “alt” might in fact make Nazis might feel marginalized from the more mainstream, industry supremacists.
– Every time the world “alright” comes up in a sentence, change it to “alt-right” and have a conspiratorial sibling go “Mm” like you said something wise.
– Ask them point-blank whether they’ve ever Heil-ed a taxi in NYC on their way to visit you.
– Sell that Onion story about Lena Dunham’s Hamilton-inspired web series as hard as you fucking can without breaking.

Pardon a Thanksgiving editor on Twitter: @ahoysamantha

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