Monday, December 19, 2005

In Defense of "Merry Christmas"

     I've come to the realization that I've come across as a Christmas-hater. It's not really that - it's more of a Christmas backlash. Like everybody hating Kevin Costner for making long movies and trashing Waterworld without ever seeing it. I thought Waterworld was good! Plus, the little girl grows up to be the love interest in the counter-culture Napoleon Dynamite, so you know it can't be all bad. I would like to formally say, "Mr. O'Reilly, I am not attacking Christianity and I'm not looking to ban Christmas. I'll take my global conspiracy and go now."
     I'll admit, I have been somewhat swayed by the latest effort to keep the Angry, White Man angry. (Your regularly scheduled anti-gay marriage polemic has been moved to the next election cycle. Check back in November.) I've always been a big proponent of calling things what they are. A Christmas Tree is a Christmas Tree, not a "Holiday Tree" or a "Chanuka Bush". And students are out on Christmas Break, not Winter break. Who are we kidding? And when we talk of "Judeo-Christian" values? I know you mean "Christian Values". December Holiday Parties at your office? Not really - they're Christmas Parties. I know these things. I'm not an idiot.
     It would actually be really nice to hear other people call them these things, too. Because maybe it would finally open peoples' eyes to what the Religious Reich has been doing for the past 20 years. Americans like to think they're enlightened. And for many of the past half-century, they made great strides towards egalitarianism: feminism, anti-racism, and religious pluralism. But along the way, the forces of backwards thinking realized that they could just talk like they were being progressive and people would believe them. So now they can say, "The school calendar doesn't revolve around Christianity, it's just coincidence that Spring Break and Winter Break fall around Easter and Christmas." "It's OK to preach intolerance, as long as we preface it with 'Judeo-Christian values'." So let's get back to telling things like it is. I'm not sure the evangelicals are going to like the results.
     I do believe most Americans are reasonable people. Not necessarily good critical thinkers, but reasonable. (In large part due, IMNSHO, to crappy post-cold war education systems) So when they realize that their kids are getting a holiday for Christmas but the Jewish kids have to choose between taking an unexcused absence or attending Rosh Hashana services, maybe they'll begin to see. When they notice that their company is having de-facto mandatory Christmas parties complete with food no observant Jew or Muslim would eat, maybe they'll begin to see. Maybe they'll understand when one house on their street doesn't have Christmas light. It's easier to understand that than the one house that doesn't have Holiday lights.
     I look forward to this day of honesty that will never happen. It's ironic that it's the "religious conservatives" that are pushing this War on Christmas, because it was the religious conservatives that were the ones who renamed Christmas to start with in order to keep it in public life. Maybe once the name returns, we can start to tone down to celebration. And then maybe we can all start appreciating the real holiday a little more.

7 comments:

Anonymous Assclown said...

I didn't think today so, per your written guarantee, I want my money back.

Scott said...

I concede the point. You get all the money you've ever given me back.

Sylvana said...

Well, if we are going to call things what they really are, I propose calling this time of year Guiltfest and Thanksgiving break Deer-Hunting Break (as that what it really is in Wisconsin where many schools get a whole week off since most kids wouldn't show up anyway cause they are all out shooting deer with their family).

Jody said...

Actually where I went to school, Jews got off for Jewish holidays in addition to the normal holidays.

Scott said...

Jody, they were very lucky, then. In most places, they don't. Neither do the Muslim students nor the Hindu students. And in college, it was always a fight to get the professors to allow us make up exams scheduled for Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur.
But I was merely saying that calling these false attempts at multiculturalism what they really are might just let people see the contrasts of how different Americans experience life.

Jody said...

Also at VT, the MIMO class (it's a wireless thing) started 30 minutes after its scheduled time on Fridays (twas a 3 hour class) to accommodate the prayers of the Muslim students in the class.

So you can continue to mystified by the claimed war on Christmas and I'll continue to be mystified by your perception of a lack of religious pluralism...

Shannon said...

Hey, maybe then a Jewish co-worker can stop calling herself "vegetarian" at company functions and just say "kosher." (I had no idea she was even Jewish until I caught her, "the company vegetarian," eating a roast beef sandwich from home)