A Question About All Those Angry Uncles

Things are a little slow aside from the usual deluge of “Donald Trump is a moron” stories, and I’m not in the mood right now. So with Thanksgiving fast approaching, I have two questions for the hive mind:

First, what’s with the angry uncles? Every year, the news media is crammed with stories about how every Thanksgiving dinner is dominated/ruined by a cranky, elderly, Fox-watching uncle who, for some reason, can’t be ignored and turns the entire event into a hideous battle royale. Just how true is this? I don’t doubt that it’s sometimes true, but how many of you have to suffer through this every year? Lots of you? Just a few of you? Does it only happen on Thanksgiving? What about Christmas? Or Passover? Or Independence Day?

Second, assuming that these angry uncles exist in nontrivial numbers, has anyone ever gotten any good advice from those “How to handle your angry uncle” advice columns that festoon the internet? Or are they as clueless as I suspect them to be, written by people who have only a theoretical knowledge of what an angry uncle is like?

UPDATE: We have some scientific evidence! According to a poll of 860 people conducted last year by HuffPost’s Ariel Edwards-Levy, very few people argue about politics at Thanksgiving. Eyeballing the chart, it looks like dinner-table fights break out at about 10 percent of all Thanksgiving dinners.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.