Thursday, December 01, 2005

Merry Christmas, you jerks!

Ok, my only reader (Hi, Sam!) has been bugging me to post more, so I shall.

I was just perusing over at the Mazur Boys' blog, which I enjoy from time to time, and I saw this post, regarding the renaming of the "Holiday Tree" in DC back to its original name of "Christmas Tree." Now for all you rational folks out there, this is a no-brainer. It's a tree, and its only purpose for even being there is to celebrate CHRISTMAS. Not Channukah, not Ramadan, not even the pre-fab joke on African-Americans known as Kwanzaa. (Author's note: this has inspired me to write about my own made-up holiday, which I think I will do soon.)

Anyways, this got me thinking about how verboten the simple phrase "Merry Christmas" has become in our society. My darling and beautiful wife, about 3 years ago, worked at a Williams-Sonoma and a Pottery Barn back in Seattle as a holiday temp worker. I should mention that this was mostly for the FORTY PERCENT DISCOUNT she got at WS, which rocks in terms of what they sell, plus we needed the money at the time, since I was a simple farmboy working on the plantation -- er, I was a grad student working on slave wages. Anyways, she was explicitly instructed by her employers not to wish anyone "Merry Christmas," but instead to recite the more bland "Happy Holidays." This sort of practice is becoming more and more common among a number of stores around the country. Are the store owners seriously THAT bent out of shape over the possibility of offending someone who would otherwise shop there, or is this just more capitulation to the ever-present culture of "Separation of Church and ________"?

So that leads me to another inevitable conclusion: what about offending the atheists? After all, a holiday is merely a "Holy Day," and I would imagine that any athiest, upon being wished a happy holy day, might become irate. And we wouldn't want that, would we? Their dollars are precious, precious I say! Therefore, we must limit ourselves to something that ensures that we in no way favor any holidays or events taking place during that time. My first thought was to propose the phrase "Have a completely value-neutral winter season!" However, it is obvious that this phrase might offend Wiccans and/or Druids, so we have to discard it, as they have a weird sort of fixation on the winter solstice. So then I thought of "Have a fine, but in no way outstanding, period of time during which the axial tilt of the earth is such that, in the northern hemisphere of the Earth, colder temperatures, shorter days, and overall lack of any natural agricultural production are the norm." However, this might severely alienate the following groups: astronomers, physicists, optimists, pessimists, farmers, flat-earthers, weathermen, sun-bathers, geographers, extraterrestrials, nonheliocentrists, and mathematicians.

It is clear that I am taking the wrong tack here. Rather than trying to offend no one in the name of equality, I should rather extend my efforts to offend as many people as possible equally. Since I am in no way a masochist, I am unable to offend myself as a Christian, so rather, I choose to offend everyone who is NOT a Christian, with the following greeting: "Happy Jesus' Birthday, all you godless heathens!"

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Anonymous Sam said...

In reference to the name of Christmas I have been chastised for using the wrong phrase.

Several years back I was the president of the geology club at my university. This was a public university, so we will just call it PCU. I accidentally led a successful fund raising effort that netted us more money than we expected. As a club, we decided to throw a little Christmas party at a local restaurant for club members, but we also posted fliers for it in strategic locations around science oriented venues at school. Keep in mind that at this point it is still a Christmas party, and many fliers have been posted. At that point, our club sponsor blew a gasket. She called an emergency meeting of all club officers, including the vice president, who we will call Timmy because he is handicapped, the treasurer, who is now my wife; and myself. We were ordered to rename the party so as to not offend any of the non-Christian staff. There were a couple of Muslims in the department. Timmy stepped in and said that we would call it a Silly Season party. He used this term to mock the silliness of the fear of the word Christmas. The reason that I say fear is because these other religions fear that my God can beat up theirs and so mentioning anything about mine will harm theirs because they know that they are wrong and I am right. Ironically, one of the Muslims in the department told me that she was sorry that she couldn’t make it to the party. Her excuse was that her Muslim cousin or something like that was also throwing a—get this—Christmas party. She apparently was co-hosting and couldn’t get out of it. Also keep in mind that the only person with an actual objection was our sponsor. Nobody else had been offended. We decided to stick with the term Silly Season, though. Timmy made it boldly obviously why, but our sponsor could not do anything about it because it had no overt religious meaning, and she could not prove our intent.

Here comes the irony.

We have since moved from the Bible Belt to the left coast, the home of everything liberal and PC. My wife now attends a public university in the state of California. She is a grad student in the geology department there. THE SAME GEOLOGY DEPARTMENT THAT OUR FORMER SPONSOR ATTENDED FOR GRAD SCHOOL. This is also the same department that is now having a school sanctioned, department funded, fliers posted Christmas party. Apparently California liberals do not fear Christmas the way Southerner liberals do. Talk about speak up for tolerance.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

I think the difference may be that California liberals are the "Real thing", as bad as that may be. They're out there actually fighting court cases to get God and Judeo-Christian values removed from anythng and everything they can get their hands on. The southern liberals are more-or-less faking it like a child might imitate his father's profession, so they have that same knee-jerk freak-out response to anything that smacks of religion.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got this from Tucker Carlson. I do not know how to properly cite it and I do not care, but I like what he said.

"I welcome the controversies this season over Christmas. Every time a school district bans Christmas carols, every time the ACLU dispatches a busload of lawyers to fight a nativity scene, every time the ADL declares the Christian Right "dangerous," it's a reaffirmation that the faith is not dead. Dead religions don't give people the creeps. They don't make atheists mad. They don't keep Alan Dershowitz up at night. But Christianity still does. What a relief. It's nice to see that our faith still scares people."

12:34 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Don't worry, the plagiarism police don't even know where this website is, and at least you said his name. Also, I came to a similar realization not too long ago: Christianity is always at its best when it's being persecuted. SO, if everyone was happy and didn't care, we'd probably go stale and stagnant. BUT if we're finally forced to strive for our faith, amazing things happen (just look at the first-century Church!). So finally I decided to stop getting so worried about this persecution, and welcome it instead. That line of thinking has certainly saved me some ulcers.

Doesn't mean I don't get pissed off every time something like this happens (as well I, and all other Christians, should!), but I just don't worry, and that's the key.

12:42 PM  

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