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.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation 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