It’s officially December, which means holiday party season is about to begin. Whether you’re noshing on latkes at a school shindig or avoiding the mistletoe at a family gathering, you’re gonna need some conversation starters.
Our suggestion? Use our Online Courses as inspiration. They have more info than you can stuff in a stocking, and with a Shmoop subscription, you’ll get access to all of ’em. No matter who you’re chatting with, you’ll have some fun facts to throw their way.
1. The internet exists thanks in part to the Cold War.
Your 12-year-old cousin probably thinks she knows everything about the interwebs. But you can teach her a thing or two with our History of the Internet
course, which will give you all the deets on how Sputnik scared people into wanting a better way to communicate. Thanks, dog-driven satellites.
2. There’s such a thing as negative freedom.
When your conspiracy theorist uncle starts yammering on about evil government schemes, hit him with this one. Our Social Contract Theory course will back you up—and will probably pique Uncle Al’s interest, too.
3. Dr. Seuss was actually writing about communism.
Looking for some English teacher small talk during your class holiday party? We bet he didn’t know Thing 1 and Thing 2 were red menaces in disguise. Or not so disguise—they’re all decked out in red, after all. Get more info (and plenty of rhymes) in our course called The World According to Dr. Seuss
4. Auteur isn’t just a fancy way to say author.
Well, it kind of is. But our Film Studies
course will give you the low-down on how authorship isn’t only for writers. Save this one for your dad’s pretentious friend who you totally saw double dippingin the chocolate fondue.
5. Comic books require major brain power to understand.
Trying to get your little cousin to calm the stink down? Teach him about closure: the concept that describes what’s happening when you fill in the blanks between the panels in comic strips. Want the heavier explanation? Head on over to our course on How to Read Comics