2858: Thanksgiving Arguments
The comic features a conversation between Cueball and Megan, discussing the dynamics of family gatherings during Thanksgiving, specifically about the topics of political arguments and how to navigate them. This was a topical comic, as Thanksgiving in the United States in 2023 was on November 23, the day after the posting of this comic.
In the first panel, Cueball is depicted sitting at a computer, presumably writing an article or blog post titled "How to Win Political Arguments with Your Awful Relatives at Thanksgiving Dinner" - a common topic for 'filler' articles at this time of year. Such articles are based on the perception that political arguments are common at holiday dinners. This is likely based on the idea that people will tend to avoid relatives with "awful" political views, but holiday dinners carry the expectation that the whole family will be together, making such arguments difficult to avoid.
Megan challenges this perception, citing an article in Huffington Post which reports on a poll which found that only 16% of families reported discussing politics at Thanksgiving dinner, and only 3% reporting having argued about politics. She also points out that Cueball's family has political views that are "mostly fine". This is probably not especially uncommon, as families tend to share similar experiences and backgrounds, which inform their political opinions. Where disagreements do occur, it's common for those to be minor, and not the subject of particularly emotional arguments. In addition, where politics are a source of friction within a family, most learn not to bring it up at holiday gatherings, precisely to avoid such arguments.
The misperception at the root of this may be a case of selection bias. There certainly are families in which members hold opposing political views with such emotional fervor that gatherings typically devolve into arguments. Since those arguments can be so intense and emotional (and often personally hurtful), the people involved are far more likely to relate their experiences to others, both in person and in media (such as in articles, columns, and portrayal in fiction). By contrast, people who have quiet, undramatic family dinners are less likely to get attention. This can give rise to the perception that heated political arguments are the norm for such gatherings.
The comic concludes by revealing that Cueball's family, rather than arguing about politics, tends to argue about The Rise of Skywalker, a controversial recent entry in the Star Wars franchise, with Megan agreeing that his aunt "brings that up a lot". The joke is that Cueball's family, like him, tend to have nerdy, pop-culture-based passions, and those are areas that are far more likely to result in family debates. The title text extends this theme by referencing the mother's devotion to the 2003 movie The Core (widely considered a contender for "all-time-worst 'science in a movie' winner") and her insistence on watching it annually during Thanksgiving is mentioned as a bone of contention within the family. This underscores the idea that perceptions of a "normal" family gathering (ie, arguing about politics) aren't necessarily applicable to most families. The individual character and eccentricities of each family are far more likely to define what their holidays are like.
- [Cueball is sitting on an office chair at his desk typing on his stationary computer as Megan walks up behind him. The text he writes is shown above the screen with a zigzag line going from a starburst on the screen.]
- Text: How to win political arguments with your awful relatives at Thanksgiving dinner
- [Closeup of Megan in a frame-less panel. Below Megan there is a footnote relating to the asterisk at the end of her sentence.]
- Megan: You know, despite all the posts about it, surveys show most families don't actually argue about politics at Thanksgiving.*
- Footnote: *https://www.huffpost.com/entry/poll-nobody-fights-thanksgiving_n_5deece02e4b07f6835b7eab6
- [Zoom back on to Cueball and Megan. Cueball has turned around in his chair, hands on his lap, looking up at Megan.]
- Megan: Take your relatives. Their political opinions are basically fine.
- Megan: Maybe you should write about what they argue about?
- [Closeup of Cueball typing on his computer. The text he writes is again shown above the screen with a zigzag line going from a starburst on the screen. Megan speaks to him from off-panel, her speech line coming from a starburst at the right edge of the panel.]
- Text: How to win arguments about The Rise of Skywalker at your Thanksgiving dinner
- Megan (off-panel): Aunt Katie does bring that up a lot, doesn't she.
- Cueball: This'll be year four.
add a comment! ⋅ add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ refresh comments!