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FOR FREE PEOPLE

Kindergarteners perform a Thanksgiving pageant. (Photo by Diana Walker via Getty Images)

TGIF: Giving Thanks

For the holiday, a quick homage to America, John Fetterman, and to you, my TG readers.

This Thanksgiving, we’re taking a holiday. I’m not allowed to read the news, so when you’re reading this, just know I’m detoxing somewhere, shaking on the floor of a Pittsburgh bathroom. 

I’m going to kick it off with a few things I’m grateful for. But really, this week, I’d love for you to share what you’re grateful for—head to the comments and add it in or email me directly at TGIF@thefp.com, where Julia the Intern will be waiting. Next week, instead of a Where I TG, I’ll feature the Best of the Gratitudes. 

→ America: Every week we may look at the bad news, the strange news, the news that makes you think “okay, time to close my computer”—but only because America is worth it. Most Americans don’t think their children will have a better life than they did. Count me in the minority, then: America is great and poised to be even greater. Let’s look at the rest of the world briefly, which is all it requires: China? Communists. The Middle East? We’re getting off oil sooner rather than later, and there will come a day when a Saudi prince, without his precious oil allowance, suddenly has to work a real job, and it will be a disaster. Europe? A lovely museum to a special culture that decided it was done, stopped procreating and stopped inventing, and now has to be liquidated for sensitivity purposes (I’m hearing that the English language is Islamophobic colonialism). That leaves us with America. The US of A. Land of the free. Land of invention. Bastion of the world’s brightest minds and hardest workers. Despite the nuts wandering around—and yes, there are many—we’re still the best party on earth. I’m so thankful to have had the profound luck of being born here. I’m grateful for America. 

→ John Fetterman: I judged Pennsylvania senator John Fetterman too quickly. I thought his insistence on wearing gym shorts and a hoodie on the Senate floor was weird, and I thought the progressive senator would be another Squad soldier, doing the predictable march against my beloved and weakened moderate Dems. But over the last few weeks, as his cohort has cheered on Hamas, baying for blood, Senator Fetterman has stayed strongly anti-Hamas. He put photos of the Israeli hostages on the wall of his office. At the Jewish solidarity march in D.C., he was there wearing an Israeli flag like a cape.

To a pro-Hamas protester chasing him with questions about why he wasn’t pushing for a cease-fire, Fetterman responded: “I think you should be protesting Hamas. Why don’t you do that and do protesting till we get the hostages back?” It was shocking to the protester, who assumed a good leftist like Fetterman would agree (certainly more, not fewer, Israeli children ought to be taken hostage, right, Senator?). Fetterman is a powerful example of someone who says, no, this ends with me. He is taking his political allies to task. It’s not easy. I was wrong about John Fetterman, and I’m grateful for him. Senator, I will fight for your right to wear shorts all year long. 

→ Social media: The other night I was at an event where I accidentally listened to a journalism school professor talk about the state of media today. He was talking about how dangerous social media is since it’s “pre-chewed” and “unverified,” but the legacy media, oh tower of goodness, that is Real Journalism. It’s funny because the truth is the exact opposite, of course. Social media, over the last six weeks, has shown me raw footage from the war, raw footage of Hamas taking hostages, raw footage of atrocities the legacy media downplayed or ignored or actively lied about. Over the last six weeks, legacy media has given me literal Hamas propaganda, quite proudly, on the front page, over and over again. And now we all know it. Which makes the legacy media very mad indeed. The screaming and thrashing about social media are the old world’s death throes. Don’t get me wrong; social media is a mess. Twitter?! It’s vile. It’s full of offensive lies and just offensive reality. It’s vile because the world contains vile things and people are monstrous and weird. I see images I shouldn’t. I see hedgehogs who seem too tame (is that legal?). I see Susan Sarandon retweeting MAGA accounts in ways that trouble my sleep. And yet. I would take the mess over my apportioned journalism-school-Hamas-propaganda-oatmeal any day. God bless this mess. I’m grateful for social media.

Where I TG: I’m thankful for you. When I started doing this column, I thought I was just setting up a little weekly news roundup feature for someone else to run, maybe an intern. But it has become apparent that I am that intern. No writing has brought me more pleasure than this. And in part, that’s because it’s fun to write about whatever pops into my head and newsfeed (are they separate?), but also because I get to write for this particular group. There aren’t words to describe you all because you are genuinely too diverse and strange to be summarized. Yes, professionally, most of you happen to be pilots. Politically, you’re all over the map, though I’ve noticed a few threads, again that don’t make any coherent sense. A lot of you are moms of young kids. Many of you are grad students, many are hunters, many backpackers, and some back-to-landers. A weird amount of you are ham radio operators, and I need to know why. Many of you live in sweet sunny homes in quiet neighborhoods, others live in college dorms, reading from the twin bed. Some of you live in communes and run yoga studios; some of you are Christian homeschoolers with enough kids to make it qualify as a commune. I don’t know where you people come from or how you found me. All I know is we are bound together by a shared sense of absurdity, and I TG for the lot of you.

Below is where you TG—and next week, in lieu of pictures, tell me what you’re thankful for: TGIF@thefp.com. (If you already told us what you’re grateful for in the comments to Wednesday’s story, we’ll add it to the list.)

Vyky writes: “TGIF came in handy when I needed a break from building and breaking down a short film set.” 

Kelley writes: “Literally in my nest while empty nesting. Hubby traveling for work. My cozy bed with the dog and coffee in Sacramento, CA (where bad ideas become law!).” 

Luke writes: “TGIFing from my office in Duke of York Sq. in London.”

Keith writes: “I’m TGIFing from a deer blind in Gladwin, Michigan, while waiting for an appearance by the big guy.”

Amy writes: “I read TGIF to my husband as he flies us from Kenosha to Minocqua, Wisconsin, for deer camp. (Milwaukee and Lake Michigan in the background).” 

Peter writes: “TGIFing from the back porch in Valdosta, GA, as I prepare to escape the madness of our times for a moment by raking pecan leaves and pulling vines from the ligustrum on my little slice of terra firma.” 

Jena writes: “Reading from the Seine.” 

Frank in Stratford, Connecticut writes: “I usually TGIF from my office/radio shack with my two dogs, Sammy (L) and Missy (R) assisting. As a ham radio operator I use Morse code exclusively, which is how people sent text messages 100 years ago, except with Morse code there are no fees to send messages (and the radio costs less than an iPhone 15).” 

Bryn: “My weekly tradition as a freshman at Villanova University is reading TGIF on Friday mornings while I eat brunch.” 

Diane: “I TGIF looking out on fall colors from my house window.” 

Tim writes: “This week I TGIF’d on a flight to the Intelligent Transportation Systems (self-driving cars and traffic signs) conference in College Station, TX.” 

Elyse writes: “I’m reading TGIF in Rancho Mirage, CA. Thankfully, there is no hot air at The Free Press.” 

TGIF. Happy Thanksgiving. 

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