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The Shortest Thanksgiving…Ever?

Posted on November 23rd, 2017 at 12:47 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


Today, of course, is Thanksgiving (in the United States, at least; in Canada it was several weeks ago, eh). This means certain social inevitabilities, to wit:

  • Across America, people of different political persuasions will be gathered around the same table
  • The majority dread the moment that the conversation turns to politics
  • The conversation will turn to politics nonetheless

Thanks to scholars M. Keith Chen and Ryne Rohla, what was just a Thanksgiving cliche has now been put on a numerical basis. Using mountains of data from smartphone location services, and comparing that data to the politcal makeup of 172,000 precincts, they were able to demonstrate that politically-divided families tend to conclude their Thanksgiving celebrations more quickly than those families who are on the same page. In fact, they found that every 1,000 political commercials aired in a market (since most commercials are aired in divided, swing districts) correlates with an average 1.5-minute reduction in the length of Thanksgiving dinner. Further, the folks who rush dinner to its conclusion generally appear to be Democrats eager to flee their Republican relatives.

Now, if political division generally tends to shorten Thanksgiving dinner, we might expect a particularly divisive president like Donald Trump to have an especially strong effect. And, indeed, Chen and Rohla say that families divided between Clinton and Trump supporters tended to end their 2016 Thanksgiving dinners 20-30 minutes more quickly than non-divided families. Given that Trump has only gotten more controversial in the last year, and has consistently generated very strong feelings among both supporters and opponents, there is every reason to believe the effect will be even more profound this year, which could very well make Thanksgiving dinner 2017 the shortest ever. We could have millions of Democrats across the country foregoing their pumpkin pie. Maybe even their turkey. (Z)

  1. We had a flat earther at our get-together.
    That was fun!

  2. Gene, next time get him talking about the moon landings… then hit him with this:

    There’s finally evidence that the whole Moon Landings were indeed faked. NASA hired Stanley Kubrick to do the footage… Most Directors would have been content to use a large sound stage, but Kubrick insisted on shooting on location. One anonymous source, claiming to be a member of Kubrick’s film crew for the moon project, has claimed that the Director insisted on shooting on the Lunar surface “Because he wanted to get the light just right.” The alleged cameraman has also stated that setting up the sets and operating the cameras in the harsh Lunar environment was extremely difficult, but as they were being paid more than double union scale it was well worth it.

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