FGS relatives open thread

Today is a happy day here in America, because it’s Thanksgiving Day — a day to gather with our families to enjoy a meal and spend hours talking with our relatives.

Today is a stressful day here in America, because it’s Thanksgiving Day — a day to gather with our families to enjoy a meal and spend hours talking with our relatives.

For many of us, Thanksgiving involves a delicate dance around topics that might “set off” certain family members — the dittohead uncle, the aging parent suffering from Fox Geezer Syndrome, the antivaxxer cousin, the sibling eager for a chance to again explain who really shot Kennedy, the aunt who worries that your particular understanding of substitutionary atonement won’t earn you full credit when you’re quizzed on the subject in the afterlife.

At some point today, tip-toeing through this conversational minefield, you will be baited. Some relative will try to suck you in to yet another pointless argument about something political, religious, conspiratorial, or all of the above. They’ll say something so over-the-top that you’ll feel like you just have to respond.

Don’t take the bait. That’s just the holiday-dinner equivalent of trolling, so DNFTT.

Post here instead.

When that FGS parent or proselytizing aunt tries to bait you with some outrageous comment, just excuse yourself for a moment and make your way to a computer. Use this thread to vent, share, commiserate, laugh. That cutting response you’re tempted to give while passing the cranberry sauce — don’t say it at dinner, save it for here instead. There at the table, bite your lip, inhale deeply and change the subject.

And maybe by sharing our stories here, we can also help one another to find new ways to discuss all these things with our feisty relatives when we get a chance somewhere away from the tinderbox of the big holiday dinners. These are our families, after all, and the reason they can be so stress-inducing is that we love them.

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  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Welcome to the comments bdaodha. It’s nice down here – I hope we see you again :)

  • Anonymous

    “* After a natural disaster in her state, Obama came and personally instructed emergency rescue personnel to “let the Mexicans die”.”Wait, what?  Wouldn’t this be a *good* thing to the fox crowd?
    “* She conflated the “Noah’s Ark” myth with a drought and claimed that 40 days is the longest period any place on Earth has been without rain.”The Atacama Desert in Chile has never had rain in *recorded history*.  And if you mean ‘rain’ rather than ‘perciptation’, I’m pretty sure Antarctica has never had rain…
    “* She claimed that Chinese people come to America, steal babies, and take them back to “teach them to fight us”.”What?  Why?  How?  Is it because China doesn’t have enough people?  Is this some kind of Manchurian candidate thing?
    “* “You see a lot more Germans around these days.  Makes you wonder.””Germans?  Seriously, that’s so seventy-five years ago.
    “* My favorite, though, and the one that will be of personal interest here, given how much Fred has talked about it, was her claim that the Republicans are working to pass a big public works spending bill to generate jobs, but the Democrats keep blocking it, and it’s going to be Obama’s fault when all the bridges collapse.””Is it possible your mother lives in a mirror universe, or something?  Because seriously, everything here is like the opposite of (conspiracy theories about) reality.

    I’ve tried to point out that most Republicans think abortion should get the death penalty and a bunch of other things she doesn’t agree with and she just says, “No they don’t”.

    No they don’t.  Logically, they probably *should*, but somehow they don’t… or at least don’t say it.
    Overall, it sounds like your mom has naivete syndrome more than anything.

  • Anonymous

    Is it possible your mother lives in a mirror universe, or something?  Because seriously, everything here is like the opposite of (conspiracy theories about) reality.
    See, here’s what it is (and it’s similar, I think, to what Otrame’s mom is doing, psychologically): she doesn’t know what the facts are, she knows she doesn’t know what the facts are, and she knows that the facts often run counter to things she believes, but she genuinely doesn’t understand why that should matter, or care that you and I think it should.  She feels absolutely entitled to her own facts.
    With the “Republicans want to build up our infrastructure” thing, I got to watch it happen.  We were in a part that had been built by the WPA in the late 30s, which prompted a discussion of the Great Depression, which I had to explain to my young niece, followed up by an explanation of the New Deal, et cetera.  My mother didn’t toe the Fox/Tea Party line on public works immediately because she didn’t know there was one: she’d never learned any of this.  But she thought that spending money to rebuild our crumbling bridges and make the plumbing better, meanwhile employing bridge builders and plumbers (from which class of people her friends and family largely derive), sounded good.  So, in the course of less than a minute, she went from thinking it was a good idea, to thinking the Republicans must also think it’s a good idea, to thinking they must already be trying enact it, to believing in her heart of hearts that the only thing that could possibly have kept it from already having solved all our problems was Obama and other villainous Democrats.  And you and I and Fred and everyone else could sit down and show her the voting record and public debates and editorials and everything else related to this issue, and she wouldn’t understand why we were bothering or felt that these facts mattered in the slightest.

  • Anonymous

    (See my reply to BaseDeltaZero.  I should specify that I think our mothers are doing the same thing in terms of ignoring or misinterpreting facts to fit their own opinions.  I suspect, but cannot prove, that your mother isn’t doing it with nearly the level of willfulness and glee as mine.)

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous


  • nanananana

    Please please please open this back up at Christmas!!!Thanksgiving was just me muom and dad sitting down stairs watching The Game of Thrones (Because when we feast we feast like a boss.)Christmas is when we have to deal with my racists relatives who bitch about “family values” and “those fucking liberals” while Robert (my step grandfather) goes after  my mom for being Pagan and me for being agnostic.He’s also the grandfather that think Winnie the Pooh funds porn…Fred,I’m begging you to have this up again at Christmas.

  • ako

    Yes, my Thanksgiving was utterly lovely with no FGS issues or other conflicts, however I am expected to spend Christmas with the one grandmother who has disowned two of her children for being gay (she takes it in turns – all of her children have been disowned at this point and grudgingly allowed back into the family fold, typically as soon as she has someone else to target for her bad books), so having the opportunity to vent would be welcome.

  • I have  family members who have the same attitude about my milk allergy. It’s infuriating.

  • Jeannnn

    Early in the day I announced to my religious sister that I was an atheist.  I wanted her to realize I did not want grace said at my table, making us all hold hands, as she has done in the past (she started this a couple of years ago as she has gotten more religious).  She came back with a rant that this country was always a Christian nation and that anyone who didn’t like that should leave.  I was dumb-struck and too polite to do much more than listen and change the subject.  But I am horrified.  She thinks I should leave?

  • We Must Dissent

    At your table? She came into into your house and told you how you should run your Thanksgiving celebration? I am gobsmacked. Maybe it’s my natural assholishness, but that would earn being told to leave.

    Did she also start rearranging your furniture so it was how she wanted it?

  • Anonymous

    Late to the party (only just got home). Had a blast of a Thanksgiving – political fireworks, anyway. We were invited to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, back when it was supposed to be my brother, wife & kids, cousin, wife & kids, and several of the aunts and uncles. Well, my brother and cousin bailed, leaving me and my husband as the only members of our generation (and the only progressives) in the house, and our kids the only people under age forty (11 & 13). The whole lot of them suffer from FGS. I thought my Mom & Dad were bad (and they are), but one of my uncles takes it to a whole new level.

    The words “That will teach them not to be poor!” were heard – word for word. Pointing out obvious massive negatives, like children starving, or dying of preventable illnesses, to proposed re-orderings of government workings was met with “Well, it’s too bad, but their parents should have made better choices.” Repeatedly.

    This combined with the patronizing head-patting about how I and my husband are naive youngsters, and will learn better when we mature, made for a tooth-grinding week.

    Adding insult to injury, we had been asked to cook Thanksgiving dinner, since my mother is uncomfortable with cooking big fancy meals. We agreed, and sent her a list of everything we needed, foodwise, so she could get shopping done ahead of time. We arrived to find almost no food had been bought, and that my parents were pretty much expecting us to cook all the meals, not just the big feast. Indeed, my husband ended up slapping together lunch for eight within half-an-hour of walking in the door off a nine hour drive.

    So we also ended up shopping, cooking and cleaning all week for a bunch of relatives, so that they could patronize us about our immaturity. If we were immature, we’d have told them to all starve and walked out.