News & Politics

The NYT Has an 'Angry Uncle Bot' to Help You Navigate Thanksgiving with Your Family

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you know what that means: It’s time for liberals to write their annual explanatory pieces about how to talk to somebody who’s stupid and misinformed enough to disagree with them even though they’re liberals. This is one of the only times of the year when libs are forced into conversation with people who might not see the world the same way they do, and the mere thought of it sends them into paroxysms of dread. There’s no safe space on Thanksgiving, other than the kiddie table.

This year, the NYT went to the next level and gave us “Angry Uncle Bot,” an automated chat program that supposedly prepares you for the trauma of holding a conversation with somebody who thinks you’re wrong about something.

I gave it a try. Here’s the Angry Uncle Bot telling me about health care:

Well, my preferred response isn’t available: “If health care is a right, how do you propose to force people to provide it for you? What entitles you to the fruits of their labor?” Or simply: “No, that’s not how rights work.” But obviously that’s too much thinking for the NYT. So if I have to pick one of those three responses, I guess I’ll go with the first one. What happens then?

Oh. Okay, I see the problem. I chose the response that used logic and reason, and that’s bad. According to the robot programmed by a liberal, if you want to talk to somebody about hot-button issues over Thanksgiving dinner, the only acceptable responses are to agree with the liberal or to avoid openly disagreeing with the liberal. Anything else and you’re just an angry uncle.

But you don’t need some stupid bot to help you out, right? You’ve got a stupid blogger right here! Here are a few of my tips for getting through Thanksgiving dinner with people who disagree with you even though you’re absolutely sure you’re right:

  1. Recognize that we’re all human beings whose thoughts and opinions have been shaped by a lifetime of experiences, unique to each individual and equally worthy of respect, and we can disagree with each other without being enemies. Boring!
  2. Mercilessly taunt and ridicule your opponent’s foibles and mistakes. Now this is more like it. Did you just remember that your friend or relative on the other side of the aisle voted for somebody who lost? Rub it in his face!* Did he vote for somebody who won, but shouldn’t have won because it makes you upset and fearful for the future of America? Blame him! Did he fall for a ridiculous piece of fake news? Remind him! It’s all about owning the libs, or the cons, depending on which ones you hate most.
  3. Shut up. That’s it. Just shut your mouth. Don’t say anything. Eat your dinner in the company of family and friends, or whoever it happens to be, and be thankful for the food and the company. You’re not going to change anybody’s mind, about politics or social issues or anything else, over Thanksgiving dinner. Especially if there’s booze involved. So just zip it. Zip. It. If somebody says something stupid, then okay, they said something stupid. Big deal. Eat your turkey and your cranberry sauce and your pie, watch some dumb sporting event nobody really cares about, and then everybody can go back to not talking to each other for another year.

Also, the Pilgrims were racists and turkey is murder. Happy Thanksgiving!

*I’m using male pronouns here because it’s sexist to disagree with a woman. Unless, of course, she’s a conservative. Come to think of it, pronoun choice is another fun thing to bicker about over a turkey dinner.