Thanksgiving Is The Last Good Holiday

Fellas, some bad news.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Some years ago, for reasons that are hard to parse, the Internet Of Content decided that Thanksgiving sucks. A holiday that for the most part celebrates fundamental American values—gluttony, family, NFC football, a weirdly sentimentalized vision of genocide, copious side dishes—was transformed, in post after post, into a brutal intellectual and political battleground where family members engaged in seething debate. This never scanned to me, because I like Thanksgiving a lot and because people in my family can generally keep it together well enough at dinner that I’ve never felt compelled to load up on devastating punchlines and pithy talking points ahead of time so as to better fucking ether a wrong-thinking aunt. But that wasn’t the only thing that seemed wrong to me about the conception of the Thanksgiving table as a harsh realm in which only master logicians and debaters could hope to survive. It felt, in a way that was pathological even by Internet Of Content standards, like a sales pitch for a reality that’s even more atomized and dystopian than our own. It sucks, and so in this funbag-heavy Thanksgiving Deadcast, Drew and I rose in defense of a holiday that, honestly, is absolutely fine. There’s no need to call us heroes. Just remember us when you face your relatives in the octagon.

In the most basic sense, I get where Thanksgiving Sucks comes from. The internet runs on conflict—bullshit conflict, usually, the kind of cheesy signifying overstatement that is humiliating even to consider in any real-world context—and defaults to a sort of “buzz off, I’m looking at my sites” light sociopathy around the margins. Yes, this is a conflicted moment in our national life, and families are not historically models of friction-free consensus. And yet the attempt to paint Thanksgiving as fraught in this particular way—family and friends into enemies or debate opponents, an otherwise unobjectionable ritual of togetherness into another dumb thing to win or lose—felt especially gross at its zenith and seems especially false and lame now. Thanksgiving is not uncomplicated; if I had a relative holding forth on some sprawling conspiracy theory pitting Trump vs. The International Jew it would obviously be much more complicated. But also I think the capacity to enjoy other people and food is essential to a life that means anything and works even a little bit, and turning a day dedicated to that into something else that gets in the way of being online seems more wrong and more sad the more I think about it.

So let’s consider a Funbag instead. It was a brimming cornucopia of forbidden Mind Zones and shockingly caloric seasonally appropriate treats this week. There is a consideration of the drunkest world leaders in human history. There are thoughtful considerations of which foods would be most satisfying to eat at volume, which marks a return to Drew’s abiding love for puffed cheese products, which in turn flows naturally into thoughts on the broader pleasures and discontents of overeating. Somehow Jim Leyland gets involved in there, which is a good excuse to reiterate my longstanding wish that anyone in possession of the since-lost Detroit Free Press video in which Leyland sings the Stylistics’ “Betcha By Golly Wow” during the Motown studio tour put that wonderful thing back online. This paragraph should give you a decent sense of how focused it all was.

We’ll all be back at work per the usual soon enough. For now, though, we encourage you to get like us: enjoy the time away and the time together and precisely as many giblets as you want, and we’ll see you on the other side.

You can also listen at iHeart Radio, Stitcher, Spotify, NPR One, Apple Podcasts, or GooglePlay. And don’t forget to email us tips and/or general complaints at [email protected]. Have fun out there.

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