Hey, buying gifts for the holidays is hard enough as it is, but what do you do if you have a wingnut on your Christmas gift list? Well, first of all, if you do, make sure you don’t call it “the holidays”, but only call it “Christmas”, regardless of your own religious or familial traditions. But on top of that, you shouldn’t despair, because here’s the first annual Pandagon Wingnut Gift Guide for the various kinds of wingnuts you have to give stuff to. Make sure it’s all wrapped in red and green, so they don’t suspect that you acknowledge the existence of other holidays! There is a lot of overlap between these categories, of course, so feel free to mix and match.
This person hates the “liberal elite” almost much as they envy them, and therefore expends a lot of effort into trying to seem smart and even, at times, classy. They love dropping $5 words they don’t understand, expounding at length on economic theories pulled out of their asses, and while Ayn Rand is their personal hero, they know better than to actually reference her by name or read her books in public. They desperately want liberals to validate their intelligence, but since that’s not going to happen, instead they front like they’re deep thinkers in online spaces where other poseurs can name drop writers they’ve never read in comments.
Examples: Megan McArdle, George Will, this moron trying to pretend he knows what “nihilism” means
1) They frequently embarrass themselves by dropping big words they don’t actually understand, so I recommend the Oxford English Dictionary. Make sure to note when you give it to them how to use it, specifically emphasizing that they don’t have to read the whole thing, but only refer to it as necessary. They’ll probably ignore it, but you did the best you could.
2) An old-fashioned pen-and-quill set, which you can explain is just like the kind that the Founding Fathers would have used. Suggest they write their blog posts out by hand with it before putting them out into the world, to give them that air of true intellectual authenticity. Should slow them down, at least.
Black helicopter guy
This is the paranoid type sure the federal government is out to take his wife and children to be sold for “reparations”. Thinks he personally can bring down tyranny simply by removing the safety features from his guns. Sucks in an endless amount of media that refers directly to or simply nods towards a whole series of conspiracy theories: that the Bohemian Grove is a den of Satan-worshipers, that the President is a secret agent of a foreign country, and that the gun confiscation teams are about to swoop down on his house to disarm him.
Examples: Alex Jones, Glen Beck, Leo Berman
1) These things are usually sold for BDSM play, but you could easily convince the gift recipient that it’s actually a device designed to protect him from the one thing he really fears that the liberal-federal-Kenyan-socialist mafia is out to take from him.
2) He probably already plays “Call of Duty”, but if he doesn’t, go ahead and get him the latest edition. Engaging in his militaristic fantasies for hours at a time will distract him from listening to more right wing media, and might calm him down a little.
Does someone on your
holiday Christmas list have a bunch of pent-up anger that she takes out solely on other women, while pathetically pandering for any kind of validation she can get from men, even right wing losers? Does she claim at times to be a liberal and/or a feminist, but spends most of her time spouting right wing talking points? Does she attack other women as slutty for having the nerve to be young, attractive, or even just seemingly too happy? And then does she turn around and dump all of her anger issues by mocking women who’ve been betrayed by men? Does she have a heightened attachment to rigid gender roles that drives her to act like men who have an ounce of compassion in them are wimps, and women who aren’t them can’t do anything right? Someone has some internalized misogyny.
Examples: Ann Althouse, Maureen Dowd, Sarah Palin (to a degree, though she’s also just an opportunist)
1) DVDs of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and the “Sex and the City” series. Use a little pop culture to introduce the idea that women don’t have to hate each other, but can actually be friends. And if that doesn’t work, try…
2) Pole dancing classes. Get them in the door by appealing to their need to try harder for validation from men who don’t care about returning the favor. Once they’re in the door, maybe they’ll see women getting along, helping each other out, and otherwise being friendly, and the penny will drop. Or maybe not, but it’s worth a try.
Wannabe cheeky asshole
This guy thinks he’s funny, but really he’s just mean. He thinks he’s like those guys that write “South Park”, but he’s more like Biff in “Back To The Future”, expect weaker. He often says mean-spirited shit he actually means, but when called on it, tries to pass it off like he was just joking. Sees himself as a good times guy, but the rest of the world sees him as a brat who dishes it out without wit, and certainly can’t take it.
Examples: Tucker Carlson, Jonah Goldberg, Ace of Spades, James O’Keefe
1) If you want to get them something that will occupy their time but continue to convince them that they have wit they don’t, I suppose any season of “South Park” on DVD.
2) But if you want to give them a gentle nudge in the direction of what actual comedy looks like, may I recommend starting them with a P.G. Wodehouse reader? They’ll probably relate to Bertie of the Bertie and Jeeves story—a worthless aristocrat who is indeed a good times guy, who spends most of his time gambling, drinking, and womanizing. But this time, the humor will actually be sharp and pointed, and they might learn a thing or two. Plus, you’re inching them towards more actual reading.
Golf pants-wearing weenie
These are the Republicans that wish other Republicans didn’t have to be in the party to win elections. They just want some tax cuts, some foreign adventures, and for the little people to shut up. They waver between admiring the politicians like them for their pandering skills and being annoyed that they have to deal with all this gays and abortion crap just to get some tax cuts.
Examples: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, probably John Boehner
1) There is an entire industry of golf crap to give them. This isn’t so hard.
2) However, if you don’t want to buy yet another golf-related gift, buy them a few rounds in the tanning bed, so they can look like their new hero John Boehner. Bonus if the tanning salon has complimentary glassware.
Jesus was a Republican, and he’s not coming back until welfare is gone, creationism is science, abortion is banned, and gays just get back in the closet forever. Some are Catholic, some are evangelical. All are assholes.
Examples: James Dobson, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Tim Tebow
1) Fetuses have eclipsed crosses as their team’s mascot, mostly because crosses are used by liberal Christians, i.e. people who think it’s just fine to say “Happy Holidays.” They understandably don’t want anyone to get confused, so fetuses it is. Luckily, there is no end of stuff decorated with pictures of fetuses—jewerly, T-shirts, checkbook cover, you name it. I highly recommend this fetus Christmas ornament. Nothing says, “You’re a megawatt creep, but I accept that” like giving someone a fetus Christmas ornament that combines their two obsessions into one.
2) If you want to be an ass, you could wrap up “The God Delusion” in the paper cover swiped of George Bush’s new memoir. This is an option if you want them to defriend you on Facebook, which is totally understandable if you’re sick of random Bible verses showing up in your news feed.
So there are my suggestions. Leave your own categories and gift ideas in comments! And, if you enjoyed this, I will happily do a “gift guide for liberals” next week. I promise that it will also be jokey; anyone who has read my book “Get Opinionated: A Progressive’s Guide to Finding Your Voice (and Taking a Little Action)” knows that I don’t hesitate to poke fun at liberals, too. So let me know!