Prepare for the Worst: A 2022 Thanksgiving Dinner Topics of Conversation Primer

Prepare for the Worst: A 2022 Thanksgiving Dinner Topics of Conversation Primer

FTX, cancel culture, Ticketmaster, Julia Fox's outfits, Avatar, and every other possible thing your uncle might ask you about at Thanksgiving this year.

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Hello my little ham dumplings, we’re a day out from Fooder Bowl 2022, aka Thanksgiving, aka the Tour de Tryptophan. Hopefully the grocery shopping is done, the table set, the Butterball Turkey Hotline on speed dial. You’re as prepared as you can be, right?

Wrong.

One major unknown remains, which is, of course, the final course. No, I’m not talking about the tarts and pies nor the sherry digestif—I’m referring to the discourse. A convo over the Thanksgiving dinner table can bring a family together or tear a family apart, and it’s increasingly more likely to do the latter.

This year, we are certainly not short on spicy topics to casually bring up over mashed potatoes, and I’d hate to see you be caught off-guard in the conversation olympics. So here’s a primer on the top potential contenders for topics this year, who in the fam is likely to bring them up, and some suggestions of what to say, depending on your desire to either engage or disengage.

Best of luck navigating the discourse this year!

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FTX

FTX

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What is it? Sam Bankman Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange that bottomed out as a result of some negging from his crypto-adversary Changpeng Zhao. Turns out the beach front crypto castle Fried built and invited celebs like Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, and Steph Curry to hold court in was made of sand.

Who is most likely to bring it up? Younger cousin in his first tech job out of college.

Engage: “I put all of my inheritance from Grandma into FTX over the summer. I still think it’ll bounce back.”

Disengage!!! - “Speaking of Fried, damn Sharon, I’m loving these brussels sprouts”

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Trump Running for POTUS Again

Trump Running for POTUS Again

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What is it? As the New York Post eloquently wrote, a Florida Man Made an Announcement. It’s time to prepare for 2 Trump 2 Furious, as the 45th president begins his comeback tour.

Who is most likely to bring it up? Enthusiastic MAGA uncle.

Engage - “He’s only running to avoid going to prison, right? Do you think he can beat DeSantis?”

Disengage!!! - “I’m just taking a cue from Ivanka on this one and focusing on my personal life.”

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Taylor Swift Ticketmaster Fiasco

Taylor Swift Ticketmaster Fiasco

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What is it? Swifties know All Too Well that Ticketmaster’s monopoly on concert tickets has made the process of seeing your fave act prohibitively expensive and damn near impossible. The Department of Justice has opened up an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation.

Who is most likely to bring it up? Millennial sister who is on thin ice at work for missing two days waiting in the Swift queue.

Engage - “Ticketmaster is the perfect symbol of late-stage capitalism, in my opinion.”

Disengage!!! - “I stopped listening after she moved on from her country stuff.”

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Julia Fox’s Sartorial Choices

Julia Fox’s Sartorial Choices

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What is it? The Safdie Brothers’ muse has taken to more and more elaborate outfit cutouts by the day, really pushing the boundary of “clothes.”

Who is most likely to bring it up? Befuddled aunt who just “doesn’t understand what passes as fashion these days.”

Engage - “Oh, I was just about to change into something similar after dessert.”

Disengage!!! - “Bless her heart.”

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Cancel Culture Writ Large

Cancel Culture Writ Large

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What is it? A concept that for all intents and purposes does not really exist outside of the imagination of Fox News viewers.

Who is most likely to bring it up? Uncle Ron. Always Uncle Ron.

Engage - “What’s your opinion on Louis CK? Is non-consensually masturbating in front of people a grey area?”

Disengage!!! - “If cancel culture is real, I’d like to cancel cranberry sauce. Does anyone even like it?”

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Should We See ‘Avatar’?

Should We See ‘Avatar’?

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What is it? James Cameron’s sequel to his 2009 colonial sci-fi blockbuster Avatar. The movie is stacking up to be one of the most expensive films ever made.

Who is most likely to bring it up? Your sibling’s boyfriend grasping for non-political things to discuss with your family.

Engage - Remind everyone that like Avatar, the story of Thanksgiving is of colonialist genocide.

Disengage!!! - Start speaking the Avatar Na’vi language until it annoys everyone enough to stop discussing the film.

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The Red Wave That Wasn’t

The Red Wave That Wasn’t

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What is it? By the skin of Joe Biden’s fake teeth, Democrats managed to build hold onto the Senate and keep the much-predicted Red Wave at bay.

Who is most likely to bring it up? The moderate suburban mom who’s just recently become radicalized by the end of Roe v. Wade.

Engage - “Turns out people really love abortion, as I’ve said the past nine Thanksgivings.”

Disengage!!! - “Did you know Herschel Walker thinks a werewolf can kill a vampire? No chance, right?”

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Veganism

Veganism

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What is it? Veganism is likely something you experimented with one year during college, over a decade ago, and every Thanksgiving since, your extended family has remarked, “I can’t remember—are you still vegan?”

Who is most likely to bring it up? Your aunt who keeps trying to sneak bacon into the green beans.

Engage - Name the turkey something cute like “Giggles” and ask everyone, “How does Giggles taste this year?”

Disengage!!! - Pick up a whole turkey leg and bite into it, Renaissance Faire style, while making eye contact with your aunt who asked the question. Say nothing, just chew.

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Elon Musk Buying Twitter

Elon Musk Buying Twitter

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What is it? In a pathological attempt to get people to laugh at his jokes, Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion and has fired over half of the app’s staff.

Who is most likely to bring it up? The same younger cousin at his first tech job who wanted to talk about FTX.

Engage - “Is is even possible for tech workers to be ‘hardcore?’”

Disengage!!! - Put the Elon enthusiast in your family in a Tesla and let nature do its thing.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Media Takeover

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Media Takeover

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What is it? It’s the calm before the media storm that will inevitable rain down on us after the Meghan and Harry release their Netflix series and his autobiography comes out. The British Royal Family has had a tumultuous year, from the Queen’s death to King Charles not being able to get a pen to work.

Who is most likely to bring it up? Your anglophile great aunt who’s from Pennsylvania but works a fascinator into every formal outfit.

Engage - “Anyone else have so much fun on Twitter the day the Queen died?”

Disengage!!! - “I’m holding off on weighing in until I’ve finished reading Harry’s book, Spare. No spoilers!”

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The Chrisley’s Sentencing

The Chrisley’s Sentencing

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What is it? The Christian reality TV couple has been sentenced to a combined 19 years in prison for $30 million bank fraud and tax evasion. Unrelated, Todd Chrisley looks like a deepfake of Ellen Degeneres.

Who is most likely to bring it up? Really could be anyone. You never know who in your family is a closeted reality show addict.

Engage - “That house of theirs is simply not how I would have spent $30 million.”

Disengage!!! - “I have never once heard of these people.”

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