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Do we purposely egg on holiday family fights?

Actress Halle Berry and her fiance French actor Olivier Martinez pose during the premiere of Cloud Atlas at Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood in this October 24, 2012 file photo. The father of Halle Berry's daughter is headed to court after he was arrested following a fistfight with her fiance outside the Oscar winning actress' Los Angeles home on Thanksgiving, police said. Canadian model Gabriel Aubry, 37, was later released on $20,000 bail after being charged with misdemeanor battery following the punch-up with Berry's fiance, French actor Olivier Martinez, 46, in the driveway of her house on Thursday.


Nothing like fisticuffs to end off the holidays.

That's what happened at Halle Berry's house this American Thanksgiving, as her ex, Gabriel Aubry, got into it with Berry's fiancé, Oliver Martinez.

Worse still, Aubry, a French-Canadian male model, was dropping off the four-year-old daughter he shares with Berry at the actor's house in Los Angeles for the holiday. That's when he allegedly started brawling with her new flame, who happens to have boxed competitively. The laundry list of injuries include a broken hand for Martinez and a broken rib and possible head injury for Aubry (you can guess who won).

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While it's tawdry tabloid stuff, plenty of voices are pushing family fights – and tips for winning them – this holiday season.

First out of the gate was Slate with "How to Pick a Fight with Your Relatives this Thanksgiving."

"Despite what you've heard about avoiding holiday conflict, now is your time to fight," writes Slate's John Cook. "So here are some good rules to follow to make sure your Thanksgiving descends into a screaming match that mortifies your loved ones and makes you feel superior to all your troglodyte cousins."

Cook suggests picking on the "actual Republicans" at your table – an "angry drunk uncle" or someone else you only see once a year. He suggests waiting till everyone's seated for a "captive audience" and then letting it rip about Israel, while binge drinking.

Over at The Daily, Adam Raymond also suggests the "Middle East mess" as good fuel for a "holiday smackdown." (His other suggestions include the Benghazi crisis and fighting over the best Hostess snack: Ding Dongs or Twinkies?)

The Atlantic, meanwhile, reissued its 2011 round-up of best Thanksgiving altercations in pop culture, including 1992's Scent of a Woman. (Al Pacino's nephew makes blind jokes and ends up in a ranger choke-hold. Hooah.)

While the roundups and advice columns are clearly contrived in jest, their proliferation is somewhat disappointing, given that they appear in tandem with overly elaborate tablesetting and bird-stuffing guides at this time of year. Pity all that hard work be wasted on family trauma, unless ranger choke-holds are your idea of a good time.

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What was your worst holiday outburst? Any plans on how to pacify the more contrarian members of your clan this season?

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Zosia More


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