Holiday-Appropriate Talking Points for Your July Fourth Gatherings

In which we help you not look at your phone mid-convo.

Stone cold grillin’. (Photo:

It’s July 4th, which means you are either at a barbecue, planning to go to a barbecue later, or desperately searching for a barbecue to crash. However, the limited availability of green space and roof decks means you’re likely to find yourself in a situation that requires small talk with strangers. To that end, we’ve selected a few thematically appropriate conversation starters.

1. Russia’s parliament is considering creating an Internet blacklist for sites featuring “banned pornography, drug ads and promoting suicide or extremist ideas.” Certain elements of the U.S. Congress might try, but our all-American legislative gridlock isn’t likely to let it get far.

2. The European parliament gives ACTA the thumbs-downFreeeeedom!

3. However, thanks to a recent injunction, you will not be free to buy Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus phone here in the good old U.S. of A. If the party gets boring, we recommend springing this one on an Apple fanboy.

4. So, just how bad can we expect cyber attack fallout to be? More importantly: How will the Hollywood of 2076 make its Dirty Dozen-style take on a hypothetical mid-century cyber war exciting?

5. France is investigating Microsoft for tax fraud. What would the marquis de Lafayette think?

5. Andy Griffith. Get nostalgic for a time before Twitter. Or, alternatively, envision Mayberry with technology. We’ll start: Can you imagine the trouble Barney Fife would cause with a few Facebook tips?

Holiday-Appropriate Talking Points for Your July Fourth Gatherings