Hometown Thanksgiving: Turkey with a Side of Discourse

“If Pop-Pop says something racist at Thanksgiving dinner, oh boy, am I going to tell him off!” said Kendall Wilfred, a Brown freshman who, at press time, had said absolutely nothing to Grandpa Joe.

Primed with his newfound knowledge of words like “heteronormative” and “nuanced,” Kendall, in early November, reported that he was confident in his ability to even further alienate his conservative family at their singular, annual gathering. Kendall even expressed a hard-line stance on “problematic” statements, reiterating that not even close friends from his rural, small-town Southern high school would be granted passes.

Correspondents reported, however, that all evidence of Kendall’s previously unshakable moral convictions had mysteriously disappeared once his plane landed in his hometown, which overwhelmingly voted for Trump in the 2018 midterms (write-ins). We’re told that Kendall was witnessed sighing deeply, but not vocalizing, when his old classmates expressed their relief that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed. Incendiary statements such as “Sure, we can’t know what happened, but the important thing is a Republican majority on the court,” were overlooked by Kendall, who noted that his classmate was making good use of his state’s open-carry gun policy. When confronted in the local supermarket with “I don’t mind immigrants, but it’s the illegals that need to be simultaneously waterboarded, separated from their children, and held in the basement of an abandoned windmill for the rest of time,” Kendall meekly suggested that his childhood best friend read a recent Vox article on the issue. It’s worth noting that Kendall did express regret that he didn’t bring his projector, which made a thorough PowerPoint presentation on the topic impossible.

Even more shocking than Kendall’s interactions with his classmates — people that he considers further removed from his social network than literal strangers — are the conversations that he partook in during Thanksgiving. During dinner, Kendall used phrases such as “intersectionality,” “cissexism,” and “binary determinism” twenty-four times less than he was known to while at Brown University. Usually a prolific advocate and known to express his opinions in any situation where everyone would undoubtedly agree with him, Kendall exhibited surprising timidity in the presence of his family members, whose elderly authority had been ingrained into his impressionable psyche for the past twenty years straight. We’re told that Mitch McConnell’s work in the senate was lauded extensively at some point during the third course, and though Kendall attempted to make a statement, he ultimately decided to simply continue eating Grandma Pearl’s famous mashed potatoes.  

At press time, Kendall was still debating whether Pop-Pop’s comment about “those homosexuals” was worth an argument that would likely give the family patriarch a prolonged heart attack. In the end, Kendall decided against a confrontation that might have actually benefited the political development of younger members at the table, choosing instead to live tweet the experience @unapologeticallyopinionated.


The Lazyman’s Guide: Avoiding chores this Thanksgiving

For a lot of first years, this week will be the your first time home since the summer. And while you may have gotten used to having your only mug, which you drank tea from once at the beginning of the semester, unwashed, gross and chilling on your desk, your parents are not. You won’t only have to clean up after yourself (what does a bed look like when it’s been made, anyway?), but you can probably count on being asked to “help out around the house.” For the laziest of us, to whom the simplest chores may seem as difficult as running a marathon, here’s a guide to (dealing with) getting out of them.

dorothy

  1. Play the Friends Card

Always, always, always have plans. When your dad asks you if you can rake the yard, say “Oh, but Sheila and I were going to catch up over coffee and my guess is it’s going to be a looooooong chat.” Emphasize how much you’ve missed your hometown friends, and how, because the break is so short, you want to pack as much time in as you can with as many people as possible. Don’t forget to throw in some long bit about how sad it is that the times when you are home will become rarer and rarer.

  1. Or Play the Sibling Card. It’s Even Better 

Parents are suckers for seeing their kids spend quality time together. If you have brothers or sisters, pay attention to them. Watch movies, give them lots of hugs, take your younger sister to lunch, etc. Pull at your parents’ heartstrings until they are afraid to ask you for help because it would disrupt your wonderful newfound fondness for your brother. And actually, sibling time can be really fantastic anyway– don’t take it for granted.

  1. Be one with the P-Set

So a lot of us may actually have a significant amount of work this Thanksgiving. Every time you are home and sense your mom might be about to allot you a chore, make sure you are working intensely on your APMA problem set. Take on the homework and take out the home work.

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Thanksgiving conversations to avoid

If you’re a freshman, Thanksgiving break will probably be the first time that you have gone home since spreading your wings, leaving the nest, and other cliche bird metaphors. Bottom line, it’s your first time going back home since becoming a cool, collegiate co-ed.  While it is a time of tense joyous reunions, familial bickering bonding, excessively lengthy heartfelt “why I’m thankful” speeches, etcetera, it is also a veritable minefield of potentially disastrous conversations.

If at all possible, make sure to avoid the following potential conversations:

1) Explaining hookup culture to Grandma.

If your grandmother is anything like mine, she doesn’t give a flying fig about what classes you’re taking, or how you’ve been getting involved around campus — the first and only question she will ask you during your lengthy meal together is whether you have a boyfriend.

And, as it turns out, she really doesn’t want to hear about how the times have changed, and how, nowadays, dating (“going steady” in grandma terminology) is really a less and less common occurrence. She definitely does not want to be further told how relationships are now most often exclusively physical and most likely going nowhere near marriage. No, I’d just stick to a simple “Not yet, grandma. But it’s my first priority, of course!”

2) Betraying to your nerdy uncle that you haven’t gotten a Star Wars ticket.

Uncle _____ will be OUTRAGED if he finds out that you haven’t yet secured your tickets for the midnight showing of The Force Awakens. He got his tickets month ago, and already knows which jedi he’s going to dress up as for the show. Don’t cause him this emotional distress; if he asks, you Fandango-ed tickets weeks ago and have already ordered your Bobba Fett mask.

Shit that's expensive

Shit that’s expensive

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SNL’s Stefon’s Guide to Summer

If the Hangover, Godfather, and Spider-Man franchises taught us anything, it was that you can never ruin something great by doing it not once, not twice, but three times. So, here is Stefon is back to give you the hottest tips on the hottest parties for what is sure to be the hottest summer ever (#globalwarming #parties).

stefon

If you don’t know who Stefon is yet, that means you have no life and don’t enjoy laughter; it also means that you don’t read my blog posts, which is hurtful, rude, and you should just leave. Stefon’s return to Blog marks the end of the year, and the beginning of summer. I (Hank as Stefon) could not be more excited for summer, so without further ado, here is a list of hot parties (pun very much intended) to look out for this summer.

The hottest party this summer is… pool party. Everyone has that one friend they pretend to be friends with because they have a pool. So make sure to text that loser and act like you are interested in how their year was and secure yourself an invite to their above ground pool now. Cool off poolside, with some skunked beers from the trunk of your friend’s dad’s car, your swim shirt (not because you aren’t comfortable with your body, but because surfers wear them, and surfers are cool, just like you), and deflated floaties. Pools are dope, and so are you, so why would’t you kick it poolside? Nothing is more fun then swimming through all the dead leaves and bugs floating on the top of the water! Fun pool games include trying to hold your breath underwater for five minutes, belly flop contests, and swimming the butterfly.

A good example of a pool party

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How to cope with the post-Family Weekend feels

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Family Weekend 2014 has come to a close, and at this point, you’ve probably got the feels. Whether your family came to Brown or stayed at home, saying goodbye to or being away from them has probably got you feeling some type of way. Loneliness/nostalgia/homesickness sucks, so here are some tips on how to start feeling better:

1. Adopt a pet. It’s tough to go from being surrounded by loved ones to being by yourself. In order to combat your feelings of loneliness, consider calling your local animal shelter and getting yourself a puppy, a kitten, or even a goldfish. Fill the hole in your life by creating a family of your own that will love you all the time! Just make sure your RPLs don’t know…

2. Get into a heated argument with your family. Nothing will make it easier to stop missing your family than wanting to never see their faces again. Give them a call after they leave, pick a hot topic–racism, classism, ableism, sexism, heteronormativity, sexuality, your social construct of choice, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or which Blue Room muffin is best–and get really offended by something your parents say. Maybe they’re so horribly insensitive that they’re not up to speed with your vocabulary, maybe they say something that might or might not be somewhat controversial, or maybe they’re just not passionate enough. Regardless, exercise no restraint and get really upset. Your anger and frustration will help you feel a lot better about saying goodbye. Continue Reading


Frosh-cessities: 6 things I learned from Family Weekend

(BlogDH) Parents WeekendThey’ve left their care packages. Thayer Street has quieted down. We’ve survived yet another Family Weekend at Brown. As a freshman, I came into this weekend with so many open-ended questions, including: how do I prepare for this? What if they embarrass me? What do I do with them? Now that all is said and done, I must admit that the last few days were, well, pretty awesome. My fridges are stocked, my tummy is full, and my pockets aren’t empty. Getting babied by my mom was kind of nice after a month and a half of pretending to be an adult.

  1. Your cleaning attempts will be in vain. The first thing I heard when my parents entered my room was “I see you bothered to clean.” Wow, thanks. I guess hours of cleaning isn’t enough to fool you impress you, Mom. (It was probably still a good idea to hide the booze, though.)
  2. Bring your orphaned friends along. If your family was able to make it up, you should feel very lucky; some of your friends aren’t seeing their families until Thanksgiving… or even Christmas! So, invite them to dinner, lunch, etc. They’ll appreciate being around your family, even if they are embarrassing. Besides, it’ll be easier to avoid the “have you skipped any classes” question if there’s someone else to divert the parentals’ attention.  Continue Reading