Today is Black Friday, which probably means one of three things:
01. You excused yourself from Thanksgiving avarice hours ago for a different kind, one that lets you shove other people’s most aggressive relatives around in the pursuit of terabyte hard drives and discounted pillows. By now you’re covered in blood and teaching other survivors how to live in the new world you’ve made for yourselves.
02. You’re on Facebook whining about all the sheeple out today, with six Amazon tabs open in your browser.
03. You’re still drunk.
But it also means that it’s now the time of year when you have to do the weird dance of deciding who does and doesn’t get holiday gifts this year. An endless tango of mildly familiar coworkers, relatives you see just often enough in a year, friends who you know are going to get you something so they have to go on the list now, and close kin who turn shopping into a litmus test for how far you can stretch the three to four bits of personality trivia they choose to let you have about them into a thoughtful gift. We here at CoS know this struggle all too well, so we figured we’d lend our expertise to helping you shop for the most specific, difficult personalities in your own life. Happy hunting!
Cis White Male Star Wars Snob
His name is probably something like Josh, and he hates the prequels more than you do. He loves to talk about how Jar Jar Binks was racist and is really trying not to sexualize Slave Leia because he wants to be more self-aware in the midst of this 299,784,369th wave of feminism. He still gets wet dreams about her, but hey, he’s just passionate. Despite his hatred for the prequels, he owns all the movies on DVD and VHS and all the action figures, posters, and T-shirts minimum wage can buy. You feel the need to buy him something Star Wars related, but since he still isn’t fully convinced by these Force Awakens trailers, you need to get something a little more classic. A Millennium Falcon shirt from Target just won’t do. Since you’ve heard him declare at parties, “Simon Pegg is totally my spirit animal,” you get him Pegg’s classic series Spaced on DVD. It’s got Star Wars rants and is only two seasons, so it won’t break the bank. Not too obvious, but just right for the Josh in your life.
Future Celebrity President Donald Trump
As the leader of the free world, you’ve managed to prove that gregarious media trolling and outright contempt for the very systems that put you in power are enough to actually put you in power! Naturally, you’ll want to celebrate with the thing you love most in the world — your face, which you’ve artfully crafted into something resembling a circus peanut that has been lost in the couch for three months. Since you’ve got enough mirrors in your home, why not get some of the films you’ve graciously cameoed in? Like 1994’s The Little Rascals, where you play the rich, uncaring father of the villain (did you really read the line “You’re the best son money can buy” and not pick up on the fact that you’re the bad guy’s dad?). Hey, remember when you stole an extra’s popcorn, ate it, and spat it at the head of the person in front of you and said, “That really is some terrible popcorn”? We do, because it’s in the film’s wacky outtakes! What a cad! Merry Christmas, Future Holder of Our Nuclear Launch Codes Donald Trump. You’ve earned it.
Legendary Character Actor Billy Zane
Don’t ask yourself how you know Legendary Character Actor Billy Zane – just supplicate yourself before the Zane and show gratitude for the dazzling gift of his acquaintance. Anyway, your golden idol has fallen on hard times of late, having to appear in bargain-bin atrocities like Mad Dogs and Scorned instead of the Titanic-caliber parts you know he deserves. You have two ways to give a glimmer of happiness to your smooth-headed life model: the obvious answer is to get him a copy of 1994’s The Phantom, so he can feel once more like a powerful purple superhero riding atop a mighty steed. However, my honest advice is simply to buy him a copy of all the forgotten direct-to-DVD sequels he’s starred in lately, like Sniper: Reloaded and The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption. This way, he can still feel relevant until Zoolander 2 comes out. You know you’d do anything for that chiseled jaw and husky baritone voice. Come on. Do it for the Zane.
The ShamWow Guy
What does he like? Cleaning? Apparently he’s also a director and did a movie called InAPPropriate Comedy, so there’s that information. Clearly he’s into the classics, he’s gotta be. Get him, I don’t know, Peter Sellers’ The Party? There are lots of messes made in that one. Maybe he’s into watching the messes get made in a masochistic way. Hell yeah, ShamWow dude is a sex freak for sure. Remember that time he was arrested in Miami Beach because he punched a prostitute who bit his tongue and wouldn’t let go? Ah, memories.
The sun is so giving and we just take, take, take. Seriously, what’s wrong with us? Have we no respect? Back in the old days, people used to talk to the sun, genuinely ask “Hey, how ya’ doing?” And now what do we do? A passive nod to acknowledge its presence? Shit, we are some ungrateful assholes. When’s the last time you even thought to get something for the sun? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You always used to draw Ray Bans on the sun and it’d smile, so get it Risky Business to remind it of the better times. You better fucking pray the sun remembers this gift and shows you its mercy in the midst of The End of Days.
That Weird Guy Who’s Always in the Lobby of Your Building
All year long, you’ve passed by him hoping he wouldn’t say anything during the 15-20 seconds you’re just trying to get your mail and go about your day, but he’s never failed to start a vaguely sinister conversation about whether you know where Becky lives or where the “party apartment” is. He’s never changed his posture or his sweatpants, so he’s a man about tradition and habit, and he always smells vaguely of malt liquor and stale after-coital aroma, so you know he’s living his life to the fullest. For him, roll with Gaspar Noe’s Love, the perfect gift for the higher-minded pervert in your life.
Your 11-Year-Old Stepsister Who Isn’t as Cultured as You’d Like Her to Be
She’s into pop music and all things Disney and you can’t help but think, “Dang when I was her age, I was into WAY cooler stuff,” though that thought is pretty self-serving. You feel bad about your inability to relate to her interests (but what are they?!?), and you just want to be able to find some common ground in a non-aggressive way. No, she isn’t going to be into something like 24 Hour Party People (though it would be perfectly educational), and you’re pretty sure she pretended to like Pavement last time you played them for her. You’ve come to accept her for who she is but refuse to give up on finding something you both love.
But wait, what’s that glimmering from your DVD shelf? Could it be the solution to your problems? Oh my god, it might be. It’s Josie and the Pussycats! Okay. You’ve tried to explain to many people why this is an amazing and smart and hilarious movie, and you know who won’t judge you? YOUR LITTLE SISTER. On the surface, it seems like something she’d like, and you still find it so fucking funny. It’s perfect. A relationship will form. When she’s older, you can tell her about the “Backdoor Lover” joke, and you’ll laugh and bond and talk about your parents’ divorce and be friends at last.
Your 19-Year-Old Redditor Cousin
You’ve spent more than a week on the Internet, so you know that the government is corrupt, maaaan, and you’re the only one who gets it. Thanks to a healthy combination of weed and being exposed to counter-cultural ideas for the first time in your life, you’ve found yourself to be quite the Truth Teller. You nod your head along to Anonymous posts and Joe Rogan podcasts lamenting the lies of the lame-stream media, making sure absolutely everyone around you knows that you’re not one of those “sheeple” who just accepts what the media spoon-feeds them.
Even when they say they’ve already seen them, you still condescendingly tell others to read up on Edward Snowden and check out these things called WikiLeaks like you’re the first guy to ever find them. Your heart (and politics) is roughly in the right place, but you haven’t really figured out how to convey those messages without seeming self-righteous, paranoid, and condescending. I’d get you V for Vendetta, but you already shout to everyone about how “eye-opening” that movie is, so I know you already own it. Eh, I’ll just feed the habit and get you a gift basket of Citizenfour, Dirty Wars, and Vice documentaries, so you can throw those on during family holidays to help them Get Woke.
Gray cube needs no gifts, nor does it want them. Gifts, after all, are a human construct designed to alleviate the painful realization that our interactions are little more than a temporary, ephemeral ploy to stave off the perpetual decomposition of our bodies, until such time as you return to the gray cube from whence you emerged. No, gray cube simply wants your loyalty and undivided attention this holiday season, especially if it should come to demand more blood in exchange for your continued protection. To give gray cube a gift would require the tacit admission that you have come to embrace gray cube, that you have taken comfort in a presence once so hostile and unfamiliar. There is no relative to give a gift to when it was gray cube that formed you. It has been so long now since gray cube begat you into a world cold and frightening and unfamiliar, one for which it scarcely prepared you. There is no love now, only the continual sustenance of gray cube.
Your Cousin Who’s a Freshman in College
Animal House, right? Paaaaaaaartay! Or Old School, that’s the cool new version. Whatever. Stuff’s so crazy for you right now, right? Yeah it is! Maybe you’ll get some Ramen noodles, hahahahaha. It’s gotta be good, whatever you get, because this won’t last forever. Someday you’ll look back on all this and wish you wouldn’t have just stayed in your room all year being a loser. You have so many more opportunities than I did at that age. The whole world’s before you still. You don’t have kids, a mortgage, or any of the stuff that stops you from being young and wild and fun forever. Just be smart about it. I know all the kids around you love Nobama, but you’re smarter than them. Those bleeding-heart types don’t know a damn thing about what it’s like to have their job sent to another country just because someone’ll do it cheaper. Here’s a DVD of American Sniper; you might learn something about the people who died for your right to study basket weaving or whatever you get to do now. Go get me a beer.
Your Dead Childhood Dog
Let him go, goddammit. It’s been SIXTEEN years!!!
Your Mom’s New Boyfriend
No idea. He drives a car. Does he like cars, or just require the one? We’ve established that he’s at least partially heterosexual, so maybe Furious 7? Dudes like Furious 7. He doesn’t seem to do anything other than be places Mom is or attempt non-starter conversation with your friends when you have people over. Does he exist when she leaves the room? He might be an object permanence paradox unto himself. Fuck it, get him Hoosiers. Middle-aged dudes loooooove Hoosiers.