Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul’s celebrity hatred game becomes a Thanksgiving tradition.
Since I moved to the Big Apple, Thanksgiving has become my all-time favorite holiday. Instead of traveling to spend stress-induced time with family, I gather friends in my home for a big meal. After we pile our plates with food and pour copious amounts of wine, we go around the table and announce the person we would most like to spit on. That’s right, we don’t waste time being sappy and thankful. Instead, we use it as an opportunity to vent frustration with famous faces. The Spit List as we call it has a long and storied history, having been created by Susan and me in our days at Condé Nast. CLICK HERE to read a full excerpt about the origins, including a peek inside the famed Condé Nast cafeteria, and a dig at Chloe Sevigny.
For those of you rushing to adopt the game as a conversation starter at your own feast and too busy to read the excerpt, let me give a quick overview of the ground rules:
- Spitting on someone is a real commitment based upon a visceral reaction; it comes from the gut. There really is no rhyme or reason—so there’s no arguing allowed once someone announces their “spitee.” They are allowed to give some background, but not required to defend their choice per se.
- You can only spit on famous people—someone that you might see on a red carpet. It can’t be Bob in accounting.
- Your Spit List doesn’t have to be long, and people can move on and off the list over time. Scarlett Johansson was on my very first list, but has moved off.
Friends who have enjoyed The Spit List game at my table report that it has become like a drug for them—they spend all year looking forward to creating their list. If they miss Thanksgiving at my house, they phone or email in their entry. Some have tried exporting it to their family gatherings with limited success. My friend Aimee spent some time in Liberia but was frustrated in her attempts to explain the game to citizens of a post-war torn republic.
Over the years, we have had quite a diverse group of honorees—Jennifer Aniston has moved on and off various people’s lists; not surprisingly both Suze Orman and Oprah have appeared more than once. I imagine at least Oprah will be back this year.
Last year, Angela tried expanding it beyond just celebrities to broader concepts like the “blogosphere.” The judges are still out on whether pop culture concepts will be a permanent category addition to The Spit List.
This year I’m extra lucky—two of my perennial Spit List favorites have collided: the Vampires of Twilight and Dakota Fanning. I’m already getting choked up.
Have a heartwarming holiday, and do report back on your own Spit List.