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Tuesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Nov 22, 2023 07:14 PM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included petty Thanksgiving vents, increased interest in Duke University, weird Thanksgiving foods, and Trump leading polls.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "I think I win the Thanksgiving 2023 petty vents already" and posted in the "Family Relationships" forum. Complaints about family members around Thanksgiving are, of course, fairly common and threads about such issues are an annual DCUM tradition. Just as in the case of yesterday's bagel controversy thread, many of the complaints tend toward the petty end of the spectrum. The original poster of this thread owned the nature of her gripe which involved her in-laws arriving at her home 9 hours before the were expected. As the original poster acknowledges, it's not the worst thing that could have happened, but it was a nuisance. She and her husband were working at home during the day and, therefore, not available to entertain guests that early and had not finished their preparations. There was laundry still to be done and beds to be made. However, if the original poster thinks that this is going to be the most petty complaint over the holiday, she vastly underestimates DCUM. As this 16 page thread demonstrates, DCUMers can vent about a lot more petty things than this. The annual petty vent thread has a lot of fans. I guess it is sort of a guilty pleasure. Posters can enjoy other's misery but, since it's only petty, they don't really have to feel bad about it. Those who don't understand the concept and urge the venters to "get over it" are met with disdain. "Here for the petty, rolling my eyes at every poster who's told a venter to suck it up/she's the problem", wrote one poster. Because yesterday was a bit early for many posters to already have vents, petty or otherwise, some posters brought up things from previous years. One poster complained about her mother-in-law moving furniture around in order to search for dust bunnies. The poster recounted how she gave her mother-in-law the phone number for her cleaning service and asked her to lodge a complaint with them. Another poster's petty vent got quite a bit of attention. In this case the poster was the guest, visiting her brother and his wife. The poster says that she doesn't have high expectations for how she is treated, but it appears that her sister-in-law has taken the advice commonly offered on DCUM and made the poster her brother's responsibility. He, in turn, hasn't seemed capable of offering the poster a cup of tea, some cheese to eat, or even clean sheets or the bed. The initial post from this poster appeared to blame the lack of hospitality on her sister-in-law, causing a number of replies questioning why her brother was such a poor host and why the poster expected better treatment from her sister-in-law. This poster's story, buttressed by constant subsequent posts that did little to calm the storm, practically took over the thread and she was dubbed variously the "tea poster" or "cheese lady". She may well go down in the annals of DCUM folklore.

The next three most active threads were ones that I've already discussed. Those were the Gaza war thread, the thread about covid school closures, and the thread about the Fairfax car crash involving teenagers. So, I had to move all the way to the fifth most active thread. That that thread was posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum and titled, "Duke Sees Dramatic Spike for 2028 ED applicants... Yikes!". The original poster says that her daughter's college counselor received an email from Duke University saying that there had been an approximately 30 percent increase in early decision applications and expected an acceptance rate below 13 percent. For those not familiar with the intricacies of college applications, early decision, or ED, is an application type in which the applicant commits to attending the university if accepted. So, applicants should only choose this for their top choice of school. The original poster's daughter is disappointed because this suggests stiff competition for her preferred university. While the original poster appears to have wanted this thread to be about ED experiences, it instead was dominated by discussion about Duke. Many posters suggested this shows that Duke's reputation has improved and that high-performing students are now targeting it. Posters suggest a number of reasons for Duke's increasing prestige. I've read enough threads of this sort to notice a few stock responses to increases in school applications. There are always posters willing to blame "test optional" admissions policies, At least one poster is obsessively focused on weather and attributes climate change, which the poster claims is making Spring terms miserable in the North, for growing interest in southern schools. A few posters don't trust the numbers that the original poster provided and argued that we should wait for press releases from the universities. Another suggested that the thread was being astroturfed by a "Duke intern" to make Duke appear more competitive than it actually is. Another characteristic of our college forum is that Asians have become the bellwether of the quality of a university. As a result, there is tremendous argument about whether Asians choose to go to Duke and, if so, for what reasons. While statistics regarding the demographics of Duke's student body show a significant Asian population, some posters prefer to rely on their personal anecdotes to claim that Asian's don't hold the school in high esteem.

Next was a thread titled, "A pure celebration of foods others sneer at" and posted in the "Food, Cooking, and Restaurants" forum. The original poster says that she loves other people's weird holiday foods, even if she doesn't enjoy eating them. She encourages suggestions of strange concoctions that are other's traditions and urges that they be celebrated rather than dismissed. Her own list includes "cocktail meatballs with jelly sauce", "Mohawk Valley Limburger Cheese" and "Nippy Cheese" — both of which are apparently no longer available — and "Any type of homemade candy made with cereal and/or pretzels". Those responding really seemed to get into the spirit of the thread and many suggestions with accompanying appreciation were posted. There were even many requests for recipes. I am not going to list all of the suggestions, but many were familiar and others were completely unknown to me. I appreciated an exchange involving a poster who said that she prefers "Actual Stove Top Stuffing" and "No, I don't like your grandmother's recipe" only to elicit a response from a poster saying that her grandmother's recipe was Stove Top Stuffing. There were lots of posts recommending various salads and dips. Tater tots seemed to get a strangely high number of suggestions. If there is any trend, it is a preference for boxed or canned foods over those made from scratch. This is generally a good natured thread in which you might find an idea or two for your Thanksgiving table.

The final thread at which I'll look today was posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. Titled, "Trump wins over Biden in NBC poll for the first time, as president’s approval craters to new low", the original poster linked to a New York Post article that says, as does the thread's title, that for the first time in a national poll conducted by NBC News, former President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden. There is a lot that can be said about this story and most of them are said in the thread. First, Trump's lead is only 2% which is less than the margin of error. So, statistically they are tied. Also, there is little value in a poll this early, or in a national poll for that matter. Presidents are not chosen by a national election, but rather by the electoral college chosen by state by state elections. Even so, battle ground polls have also shown Biden struggling. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to undestand why Biden is lagging in polls. Voters are clearly worried about his age, a topic on which the media has seemed incessantly fixated. There is no mainstream counterpart to Fox News, which is engaged 24/7 in trying to make Biden look as bad as possible, spinning everything in the most negative way of which the network can conceive. Other mainstream media outlets will publish stories that are both favorable to and critical of Biden. As a result, the information landscape is lopsided. But, most troublesome for Biden, though it is not clear his political advisors have realized it, is the impact of the Gaza war. Biden's unequivocal support for Israel has alienated large numbers of young people, Muslims, and Arabs. At the same time, pro-Palestinian protests led by those groups have turned off some pro-Israel constituencies. Biden, therefore, is losing support from both sides. At least from the Democrats' perspective, Biden's performance on domestic policy and been laudable and it is not uncommon for DCUM posters to declare him the best president of their lifetimes. Many of those concerned about Biden's age seemed to be willing to set aside their fears because of his perceived competence. But, among a large number of Democratic voters, his behavior during the Gaza war has drawn that competence into question. This seems like a dangerous crack in his wall of support that, if not repaired, can be a real problem for him. Whether Biden can turn things around over the next year remains to be seen.

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