The Axis of Holidays

What does the Thanksgiving – Christmas Axis of Holidays have in common with Plato’s Allegory of the Cave?

Weird, I know.

It’s the only comparison that describes my reaction to the stories abounding, telling how this holiday season “Over 30% of Gen Z participants said they’ll be celebrating with friends to avoid family drama this year.” (Preplay)(Newsweek). There are other polls and pieces about other Gen- Somethings doing almost anything else to avoid “family”, what B-Boomers would refer to as ‘traditional’.

Is this really happening? Where have I been?

In previous Substack gems, I forthrightly revealed my generally reclusive, isolated, Luddite-like lifestyle over the last 25 years. While I never found the Ultimate Cave, ‘off the grid’ with sufficient ‘comforts’ to sustain someone not advancing on a New Youth, rural settings were sufficient for the days. Avoiding the professional social world and whirl was an occupational side-effect. After 50+ years in ‘show biz’, peace and quiet became the new precedent over the non-stop attention of an adoring (or otherwise) public. Somewhere I discovered Writing can be more important than talking when jibber-jabbering produces as much content as a peeled balloon.

The same data also showed which topics of conversation will be a hit (not) with different generations around the dinner table. The results were pretty stereotypical. (Preppy)

Here are the top 10 conversation topics that all survey participants said they wanted to discuss the least at these holiday rituals:

1. The 2024 election

2. Trump

3. Family drama and gossip

4. Biden


6. Personal relationships

7. Jobs

8. Personal finances

9. War

10.Conspiracy theories

That leaves ‘Underwater Basket Weaving’, ‘The Real Wives of Seahaven’, Official Rules of Full-Contact Origami, and ‘Aboriginal Delicacies Featuring Chopped Butterfly Liver’.

From personal observation, I suspect the reason lurking beneath all this mandated avoidance is intelligent discussion of any of the Top 10 requires, well – Intelligence! While first on the “Most Wanted Conversation Ingredient List”, it occupies the identical spot on the “Least Found Ingredient List”. Sadly, the replacement found most often is the polar opposite: Ignorance. How did this inversion come to be?

Based on simple calculus: Ignorance is more prevalent and preferred among those possessing copious quantities because it makes Conclusions easier to reach; they are based mostly on Opinions that do not require Facts based on Intelligence. Therefore, those expressing fact-less based Opinions (due to their dearth of Intelligence) will be adversely judged accordingly. That judgement must be avoided at all costs. It is demeaning, triggering, embarrassing, basically: No Good. Such judgement curdles the ego, feelings, and Crème Brule, simultaneously roiling the conviviality of family and friends. While enforcing avoidance of so much as a mention of the Top 10, the opportunity to banish Ignorant Opinion and embrace Intelligent Fact is lost for another season.

Pity. “The Informed Family is a Congenial Family”. And isn’t that what the Pilgrims and Indians were all about?

Ironically, articles similar to those linked above reveal that the same Gen-Whatevers are “Most Likely to Move Back with Mom and Dad”! The inability to find (or accept) gainful employment, due to flashing the eyebrow-arching advanced degree in “The History of Cheese Whiz” or “Sex Life of the Kardashians (Season 1)”, the likely culprit. Apparently, the parents’ proclivity to discuss meaningful matters on the Top 10 list can be tolerated when Free Room and Board is the dessert.

Maybe Santa will bring each of them their own box of Reality (sans sugar-coating) this year, making for a happier fact-laden, self-sustaining New Year, preferably in separate quarters.



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