Friday, December 20, 2013
Sarah Palin and Bill O'Reilly and Fox News and the Family Research Council and the woman who allegedly punched another woman outside Walmart earlier this week for saying "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas" managed to break me of the "merry Christmas" habit. I suspect I'm not alone. This constant bitching from the right about "happy holidays"—a perfectly lovely expression that embraces Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Pancha Ganapati, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Hanukkah, the Epiphany, Saint Nicholas's Day, Hogmanay, Twelfth Night, and Kwanzaa—has made one thing clear. Not that there is now, or ever was, a war on Christmas. But that saying "merry Christmas" is an asshole move. Just as conservatives made patriotism toxic during the Vietnam War by conflating it with blind obedience to authority ("My country, right or wrong!"), modern conservatives have made "merry Christmas" toxic by associating it with Christian fundamentalism, religious intolerance, and the politics of imagined persecution.
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My favourite greeting at this time of year remains: "Happy Festivus! Let the airing of grievances begin."
By 2:38 pm, at
And the feats of strength! Don't forget those.
Remember when the "War on Christmas" was waged by bible-thumpers who ranted against Thanksgiving and Xmas as a plot by the evil Catholic church to inflict pagan rituals on God-fearing Christians. This war had been waged for centuries (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_Puritan_New_England). Nowadays the fight against the "War on Christmas" is being waged by the same types who used to rant against the Catholic church. The daily two minutes of hate is now directed against Emmanuel Goldstein rather than the Pope (who a local Baptist hatemonger always called "the Anti-Christ in the City of R").
While the modern Christmas warriors are mostly screaming in outrage over minor or fictional incidents, the previous warriors were generally right; there is little or no Christ in Christmas. Don't blame the Catholic Church however. The Epiphany (when Jesus was recognized as the Son of God) and the Circumcision (the Messiah had to be a practising Jew) were more important dates to the early church than the Nativity since people are born all the time. When January 06 was decided as the the day to celebrate Epiphany, the dates for the Circumcision (January 01) and the Nativity (December 25)were created by back counting. Historically Saturnalia was actually over by December 25 but when Christianity was imposed on the citizens of the Roman Empire the old celebrations just continued under a different name and a different date. Yule WAS celebrated in Germany on December 25, but wasn't within the Roman Empire at the time.
If some somebody complains about hearing Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, ask them why they didn't say Merry Christmas and Happy Feast of Our Lord's Circumcision.
By 10:39 pm, at