Monday, November 26th, 2012

The Arguments Of 2012

So the argument at my Thanksgiving table this year centered around gay marriage; specifically, should gay marriage be something we affirm through the judicial process because it is a human right or should it be something we pass through the legislative process so we avoid another Roe v. Wade where people who would be opposed to it no matter what can pretend that they are bothered by it because it bypasses federalism or whatever? Now, granted, my Thanksgiving table was composed of decadent liberal Easterners, but as someone who has been around close to 40 Thanksgiving tables at this point I can guarantee you that this was a very new argument, one that almost made me hopeful about things until I reminded myself that in the end we are all going to die and no matter how quickly that happens there will still be all the attendant sufferings of existence to contend with in the meantime. Anyway, what did you argue about at the Thanksgiving table? Tell us in the comments!


43 Comments / Post A Comment

iknorite (#239,673)

convinced my extremely socially-conservative mother that legalizing marijuana might be a good idea. (my family's from western nebraska, and a lot of people out there are worried about how recent legalization in neighboring colorado might impact their state.)

but, this all was not without my baby (20-year-old) brother screeching about how my "obama-loving f*g friends" have brainwashed me into thinking smoking weed doesn't kill brain cells/cause cancer.

you win some, you lose some.

I THINK it dealt with whether or not Prohibition was legal/good relative to the War On Drugs. I dunno, everyone was pretty drunk.

Rihanna and Chris Brown. (Yes, really.)

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@Maura Johnston Do go on

hockeymom (#143)

Bretton Woods and the Greek debt crisis. (Uncle who is an economist was in town).
Surprisingly lively conversation considering only one person knew what the hell he was talking about.*

*aided by wine

My dad insisted that my nephew not plan to attend Harvard bc it is full of "liberals". He also incredulously asked, "You're a liberal?". To which I replied, "Dad, you've known me 43 years, you f*cking know I am."

BadUncle (#153)

I was with friends. So the closest I got to an argument was a debate over whether or not I should host a New Year's party.

City_Dater (#2,500)

There was a Law & Order: Criminal Intent marathon on Oxygen, so no one was going to argue about anything except who would get up during the commercial breaks to fetch refills.

jolie (#16)

Eh I don't argue anymore. I just smile in agreement with whatever insults are directed at me about my appearance, professional failures and inability to trick someone into marrying me.

Vulpes (#946)

@jolie You've finally come into your WASP powers.

jfruh (#713)

It wasn't an argument per se, but there was an extensive period of silently saying to myself "don't engage, don't engage" while my cousin and aunt escalantingly railed against the UAW. Did you know these people expect their employers to spend $10K on some fancy "safety cage," just because the door to a rail car *might* fall off and crush them to death or whatever? And that many took the day off to go see Obama speak when he came through town? The phrase "makers and takers" was used, unironically.

barnhouse (#1,326)

@jfruh were your eyebrows basically pasted to yr. hairline by the end of the evening? Because that's what happens to mine.

jfruh (#713)

@barnhouse FORTUNATELY this only went on for 15 minutes or so, else I would've had to absent myself.

brent_cox (#40)

The relative success of the rom-coms in which Philip Seymour Hoffman has appeared.

Mr. B (#10,093)

@brent_cox Does "Twister" count as a rom-com?

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@Mr. B Does "The Master"?

Mr. B (#10,093)

@IBentMyWookie "Capote," totally.

deepomega (#1,720)

Is there anyone who genuinely thinks a Roe v Wade style outcome is a good thing?

jfruh (#713)

@deepomega maybe people who'd get to be married and/or get federal recognition for their marriages immediately after a ruling, rather than, say, 10 or 30 years from now or whatever?

(Data point: Though interracial marriage was legal in more places in 1967 than gay marriage is now, and federally recognized, public opinion at the time of Loving v. Virgnia was still something like 75 percent against.)

deepomega (#1,720)

@jfruh Fair point. But jesus, Roe v Wade is such a nightmare of jurisprudence and has led to so much backlash. We've passed the cultural tipping point of gay marriage support – I'd hate to throw red meat to the right by letting them shout "judicial activism!" over and over again.

jfruh (#713)

@deepomega whether or nor you think Roe is a nightmare of jurisprudence, I honestly can't see that it has led anyone to seriously oppose abortion who wouldn't already oppose it. Maybe complaints about judicial activism get play on the WSJ editorial pages, but when you're dealing with actual humans who oppose abortion, they tend to be all about saving the babies, not making abstract arguments as to the proper relationship between our three branches of government.

If Roe hadn't passed, we wouldn't be living in some conflict-free world of reproductive consensus. Probably abortion would be legal in the states where there aren't serious challenges to it now, and completely illegal in states where there are lots of restrictions on it now, with the associated unwanted children/deaths from illegal abortions/doctors refusing to treat late-term miscarriages (not just a thing that happened in Ireland last month, but also in America, pre-Roe!), etc. Unless a Republican wave election managed to sync up with a Republican president and get abortion banned on a federal level, and then that stuff'd be happening everywhere. No, I don't think that the absence of a debate about Roe would have changed the shift of the GOP into cultural conservatism much; that seems to me a consequence of the party's post-Civil Rights Act choice to court the Southern white supremecist vote.

deepomega (#1,720)

@jfruh No – the problem is that Roe lets anti-abortion activists frame their argument as one about stopping the evil government from allowing murder, instead of one about how, actually, most Americans want (some) legal abortions. This means they get a ton of funding to throw at things, it means social conservatives have a rallying point, etc. Note how there has been NO backlash on the right about the various gay marriage ballot initiatives this year – their argument till now has been that polls are wrong because people are embarrassed to tell pollsters that they hate gays. The "silent majority" bullshit. Now that's out. But if there's some SC case that declares gay marriage to be in the constitution, they can ride that silent majority for another twenty years.

deepomega (#1,720)

@jfruh Do you like basically having this Thanksgiving argument ON MONDAY/ON THE INTERNET?

barnhouse (#1,326)

No conservatives until xmas, so no arguments. (There won't be any then, either, for I shall grind my molars into a powder before than get in one.)

But my cousin had a copy of the most wonderful document from 1967 (he is in charge of this little archive), a how-to guide from Paramount that they gave out to writers working on the original Star Trek series. Really fascinating/hilarious. So not only no arguments, but super fun, engrossing conversation!!

jfruh (#713)

@barnhouse That's sounds amazing! Glad things didn't devolve into ugly Kirk v. Picard bickering.

barnhouse (#1,326)

@jfruh Both/And, not Either/Or

Multiphasic (#411)

Whether Lynn Woolsey acquitted herself well during her time in Congress.

She was useless as a lawmaker, but apparently had some backlot brokering skills that didn't really get recognized by her constituents. More importantly, she pulled silly stunts that were incredibly gratifying to those of us watching from afar, but apparently frustrating to her constituents (as Marin is increasingly turning to the patrician East Coast "Well, liberalism, yes, but let's not be ostentatious about it" thing).

riotnrrd (#840)

I was with friends, so we had a big debate about whether tacos and hotdogs should be considered sandwiches.

Multiphasic (#411)

@riotnrrd Nomenclatorily speaking, a hot dog is just a sausage. The thing that may or may not (is) a sandwich is a hot dog on a roll.

Tacos are not sandwiches, they are tacos.

scrooge (#2,697)

@Multiphasic I beg to differ. A hot dog is a sausage (I guess actually a Vienna or Wiener sausage) in a roll. It's not a sandwich, either, because a sandwich requires flat bread, just ask the Earl. I got time to argue about it if you want.

Multiphasic (#411)

@scrooge We can do this. Flat bread is not and has never been a requirement for sandwichness. Ask the Cubans.

Doesn't anyone else spend the eight hours in the traditional way, gathered in silent agony?

laurel (#4,035)

@ContainsHotLiquid: My brother and I sit silently but companionably about six feet away from everyone else, as they get louder and louder, and drink. So, sort of, yeah.

@ContainsHotLiquid You crazy Lutherans!

Ken Layne (#262)

No arguments to speak of, but I did spend about an hour explaining to my mom how you can just take a Prius to the gas station when it's out of gas.

phantroll (#5,571)

We argued about whether Mexico City residents celebrate New Year's Eve by staying home with their grandmas or going out to bars. This one certain person insisted that the reason the bars are empty on New Year's is because everybody goes to Acapulco. Which is a completely ridiculous thing to say. Most people clearly stay home with their families and eat grapes for good luck.

HelloTitty (#830)

Drunk Art Professor At Thanksgiving Gathering Of People Who Are Strangers To Me: "Doesn't my wife look like Johnny Cash?"
Me: "Ummm….no."
DAPATGOPWASTM: "She doesn't?"
Me: "No."
DAPATGOPWASTM: "Look closer."
Me: "No."
DAPATGOPWASTM: "Around the eyes and nose?"
Me: "No."

Multiphasic (#411)

Actually, my family doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving. We're Jewish.

The only argument at the table was about the table and whether we should ask the waitress for a different one. My position was that this one was fine and, according to the internet, the waitress will hate us more for being difficult.

hman (#53)

This shit happens when you move up from the kids' table.

I don't really "have" a family any more or "celebrate" Thanksgiving but when I did we never fought. We bred out the last conservative decades ago and anyway saved our fights for Christmas Eve when we would fight about tinsel (how little is too much?).

alorsenfants (#139)

Well of course the election is over, so that wouldn't have been ripe material, except for a little bit of gloating on my end? (Ha.) But everybody went elsewhere this year — I sat in a hot tub in the altogether, looking out at the Ragged Mountains south of Charlottesville. Best Thanksgiving in years?!

sox (#652)

We argued over which is more ethically vacant, Wal-Mart or Target, and over how much the Dave Matthews Band sucks balls (they suck so much balls).
(and Wal-Mart and Target are equally terrible, in different ways.)

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