The Thoughtful / Passive Aggressive Holiday Gift Guide

We here at NitWitty appreciate that this is the season for giving. “But,” you ask, “I want to get something nice for the dapper/sexy/outrageously attractive intellectual in my life, and I don’t know where to start.” If that’s the case you’re in the right place. The NitWitty writing staff is full of dapper/sexy/surprisingly non-single intellectuals, and we are here to help. Of course, not everybody you have on your list is somebody you actually want to buy anything for, and nobody does passive aggressive snark like we do. So tuck in, ‘cause it’s about to get all holiday cheer up in here.

IJThoughtful Gifts:

We are all big fans of David Foster Wallace, since he’s the only writer that I’ve encountered that can give Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams a run for their money in the footnotes dept. Also, his prose is almost carnal in how good it is. We recommend sharing this literary hotness via Infinite Jest, a book that really is as good as people say it is. Or, if you want to subject loved ones to more bite sized DFW, there’s always one of his essay collections.



Puckish Gift:cat

Do you know somebody in your life that is well on their way to being a crazy cat person? Is the only thing keeping them from realizing their dream a crippling feline allergy? Well, good news everyone Hasbro is here to save the day with their Joy for All Companion pets. They really are everything you want in a cat, minus the litter box and the whole eating your face when you die bit. As a bonus, unlike a real cat the Companion Pet is immune to shame, so go ahead and dress the little bastard up. Until Skynet becomes aware, there is nothing to fear from these adorable balls of robo-fluff, at which point there will be more pressing matters.

Thoughtful Gifts:  cover_filmart9_sm

This is seriously the book for the cinephile in your life. Film Art: An Introduction peels back the technique of film and shows the aspiring movie savant the Matrix code behind their favorite films. Once they’ve finished reading it prepare to have movie night paused while they excitedly tell you all about the color composition, mise en scene, whether a frame is beef and cheddar, and how the choice of film stock really captures the feel that the DP was going for. It’s the book that film nerds didn’t know they wanted until they have it.

Since you’re being the cool person that buys textbooks for holiday gifts (seriously, good for you) go ahead and pick up Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. It is basically the source for understanding the core concepts of how comics work as a medium. Like the book above it also gets into both the nitty and the gritty for technique. It will change how you read comics. As a bonus, stick it in a gift bag with Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons to totally blow minds about how good that book is. It’s an example of a time where knowing how the magic trick worked actually makes it even more impressive.


F&FPassive Aggressive Gifts:

For the dude-bro in your life, you know, the one that wears sport sunglasses perched on the back of their collar, here’s just the thing – the Fast and the Furious collection. Upon opening this box of cinematic excrement the intended gift target will feel an overwhelming sense of joy, and you will get to look smugly on and feel superior. Plus it looks like a wheel which encourages people to feel misplaced pride in their movie collection and display their ignorance on a prominent shelf.

Thoughtful Gift: seven

It’s possible that there is somebody in your life that is a lover of all things Japan. It is also possible that maybe they have not yet enjoyed the works of the incomparable Akira Kurosawa. When it comes to samurai films his style is so transcendent that everything from westerns to anime lives in his shadow. We recommend the classic Seven Samurai which is something that everybody needs to see at least 197 times before mortal coils are shuffled off. If you make that highly recommended leap, go ahead and get Everything I Know About Filmmaking I Learned Watching Seven Samurai to help contextualize why that movie is the dog’s bollocks.

If you happen to have the good fortune to be buying a gift for somebody that loves both Japanese culture and Willy Shakespeare, then Throne of Blood is going to make you the best gift giver in the history of people. Basically it’s the story of MacBeth told as a samurai epic by Kurosawa. What’s that? Japan’s greatest filmmaker working from an outline by England’s greatest writer and featuring one of the period’s best actors in Toshiro Mifune? Oh yes. You’re welcome. You know what, go ahead and double down and pick up Ran. It’s late period Kurosawa doing King Lear and basically everything good in the universe on film.

51v8Vs3VL1L._SY300_Thoughtlessly Thoughtful Gift:

If you have somebody that enjoys Japanese things and the furthest they get into the culture is badly dubbed anime and Pocky sticks, then make them suffer with Samurai 7. It’s a bad adaptation that people that don’t know better think is good. It’s not, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I can’t bear to watch it fully I’d write more about it. On the surface it appears as if you care about your gift target, but inside you’re just helping them along on their road to misplaced cultural appropriation.

Thoughtful Gift: gin

Come on, you know a hipster, with their eccentric quirks and quirky eccentricities sandwiched between ironic facial hair and utilitarian flannel. What hipsters love almost as much as liking something before it was cool is a good artisanal cocktail. It’s honestly the best thing to come out of that entire clique, and now you can get the cool person in your life the gift of booze. But not just any booze, Gin! Magical Gin! Glorious gin! The core of any real martini and the road to the best hangover you can ever want. With the Homemade Gin Kit a unique collection of herbs can be added to make a booze almost as unique as their favorite indie band t-shirt. As a bonus, there’s a decent chance they’ll share some gin after they make it, so everybody wins.

cheeseThoughtfully Encouraging Failure Gift:

It’s possible, likely even, that there is somebody that cannot get enough Pinterest, and they’re always showing you some new thing that they think is really P-interesting. Even more hilariously, they might even show you their current success (read: colossal fuck-up) from time to time and you have to be supportive and stifle laughing at them. For this person we recommend the Standing Stone Cheese Making Kit. This is great for the Pinterest Aficionado/Failure because they’ll feel like they’re doing a project and you’ll get to enjoy watching the whole endeavour collapse under the weight of sincere incompetence. If you want to be really awful, stop at the store on the way over and pass off your bought cheese as something you made, then at least you won’t get hungry watching sadness unfold.

Thoughtful Gift:booze

Let’s be grownups about this – alcohol is amazing. Gin is great, scotch is good for breakfast, and bourbon makes life, if not quite pleasant, at least bearable. So for, how shall we put this politely, the alcoholic in your life NitWitty recommends a Personalized Oak Whiskey Barrel. You can add whatever your favorite drink is to it, and then let the magic of oak do its thing for a few months. Watch in wonder as it smooths the flavor and makes cheap hootch taste like it’s made out of rainbows. Do you like oak jimmy? We like oak, and your gift target will love what oak does to their favorite drink.

Thoughtfully Evil Gift:

That kid goes right for the eyes every time.
That kid goes right for the eyes every time.

Finally, many of you might be the age where you know people who have had children on purpose. Maybe those children are nieces or nephews and maybe you want to make their parents suffer. If that’s the case you need to get the Jurassic World Velociraptor Claws. They’ve recently been named as one of the most dangerous toys of the 2015 holiday season. Of course, if you’re a kid you’ll love these, but they will put an eye out faster than a Red Ryder BB Gun. The parent will endure fights, tears, possible hospital visits, and maybe if they’re lucky, they’ll step on one of these bastards in the middle of the night. Which really serves them right.

So there you go, that’s a quick rundown of thoughtful gifts to buy people you like, and secretly hateful things for people you don’t much care for. If I missed anything tell us in the comments, or see what other questionable gift ideas we have for you..

Happy Holidays.

Eric Carr

Occasionally has mad notions, and more often than not runs with them. Welcome to one of those.

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