December 08, 2005

Is Christmas "Constitutional"?

As we enter the season best known for promulgating many an idealistic nicety including but not limited to "peace on earth" and "goodwill" and "joy" and whatnot, I am somehow not at all surprised to learn that we have found a way to continue to ruin everything -- even the holiday season -- by insisting on political correctness to a degree of complete insanity. I am referring to a slew of recent articles in major metropolitan newspapers, about a recent, very public, legal battle over the word "Christmas". Proof of this nonsense comes after my rant, which begins here:

Look, I call mid-Dec to early January the "holiday season" not because I'd be offended if specified Christmas or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or the month of Bodhi, but because I recognize that different people do different things this time of year. I'm OK with that. I grew up knowing and celebrating this way. I like it. And even now, as a Christian (OOOoooh. Bet that's a bad word to some of you, huh? Well, to pre-empt the inevitable emails about this confession, I'd like to make it clear that I'm of the "golden rule" variety, and am not big on the "fire-and-brimstone" mentality, so take it easy, OK?), I observe more than one religion's celebration during this season with my diverse multitude of friends and family. I have decorated an admittedly pagan Christmas tree and sung carols about a baby born in a barn and lit the Minorah, too. Somehow I seem to navigate this apparent conflict of interest rather smoothly and with no objections from my conscience. Granted, I'm in the majority 77 percent of Americans who are Christian, which probably gives me a slanted perspective, as someone else's savior isn't being sung about in every mall I go to. I'll give you that. But really, that's not the issue here.

What I'm not cool with are people fighting major legal battles involving everyone from minimum-wage workers to worldwide corporations over some semantic bullshit like what we call those trees we stand in our living rooms and town squares and decorate with lights and balls and garlands to announce the arrival of the *whatever* season.

I am even more not OK with a credible news source wasting ink on this crap. I'm in the news business, and as each day goes by I am more and more disheartened by the steaming piles of garbage our journalists report on. TV is the WORST. Don't even get me started, because then we have to discuss why they're reporting it (which is a complex, painful, other topic) which is because it's newsworthy. You might object, but according to most standards, "newsworthy" it is: it's gotten lots of folks riled up and it's actually happening and there's lots of money and corporations and organizations involved and it's relevant to the season. Does the chicken proceed the egg or vice versa? All I know is the chicken lays the egg, so I guess if we start waving signs and calling stores and hiring lawyers and hollering at anyone who will listen, we can expect the egg to hatch and spread the word... but I digress, again.

::takes deep breath::

Here. See for yourself. Here's a good one. This article was followed by a slew of op-eds and followups including this funny Q & A session with a crazed right-winger.

Please, read with a sense of humor. I found that after reading the first article, I felt like I had stepped into the twilight zone or an inbred Christmas movie. It's like "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" bred and gave birth to this mess. My favorite are some of the "sources" quotes. Here are a few:

* Reporter: "Given the fact that "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World" play endlessly in every store and that Santa Claus and trim-a-tree shops are everywhere, do you really believe that the holiday is endangered?"

* Wacko: "...About 95 percent of the people who are in your store are there for the birth of you-know-who."

* Lawyer: "What we are going to do is educate that it's OK to say `Merry Christmas,' Christmas is constitutional and in those egregious cases where there's blatant constitutional violations, we will litigate."

* Random lady: "No angels here!"

* President of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association: "This is about goodwill and glad tidings... let's get over it and get on with it."

Ever seen "Mixed Nuts"? You must. These people could all be characters right out of that movie. (Which is, by the way, one of the best holiday... er... Christmas movies of all time).

Happy *whatever*, everybody. Or not. I just don't really care, to be honest. Well, I mean, I do, but I'm just so very *over* it all. I don't even know what side I'm on. I just want it all to go the hell away. So, in the fitting spirit of irreverence, let's have a little laugh, shall we? I think it's become clear that we could all use one. Here's a Christmahaunakwanzika song or two just for you.



auntiegrav said...

We don't watch much TV here, since we put it in the farthest, coldest room away from where we live and eat. Once in a while, I'll pick up the remote and scan the networks after watching a movie, and end up saying, "Yup, there's nuthin' on that wasn't on 6 months ago."

NewsWORTHy: What is the news worth? How many seconds of claptrap junk advertisements can we sell to Ron Popeill when we put this on TV?
The more uncomfortable people are with themselves and their guilt, the more they buy, because putting that credit card on the counter or swiping it through the reader is the only time they are actually in control of their life; the only time they actually get to DO SOMETHING themselves....

It's all in the marketing.

Bryan said...

Political correctness has good roots but it has been over applied. And it is starting to piss ppl off.

Trebuchet said...

Yes. And isn't it funny?

Drew said...

There's a local news promo every year that has a table with a crapload of stuff on it- a ham, presents, a menorah, some african tribal-ish stuff, etc. and it's played along with the accompanying message "happy christmas, kwanzaa, hanukah and ramadan!" They don't really seem to mention that Ramadan is a mostly somber period focused on prayer and fasting, and not so much on super-shiny gift-givin'. Plus, this year, Ramadan was in October or something. I'm not Muslim, but if I was I don't think I would be too bent out of shape if my overtly pious holiday was left off the happy holidays laundry list. People are so scared to offend that they completely circumvent logic when doing this shit. It's silly.

On an unrelated note, I was Christmas shopping today and noticed that if you bought something at Abercrombie & Fitch, you could get your picture taken with a shirtless, muscly white guy. He was literally just standing there with no shirt on. Doesn't this seem twisted to you? Nice pecs though. Grrr...

Trebuchet said...

Drew - I SAW THE MUSCLY HALF-NAKED MAN AT MY ABERCROMBIE, TOO!!! And I was mortified for him and his chubby female counterpart in the miniskirt and both of their mothers.

It was MAJORLY awkward even walking by the store, so I can't imagine what grandmothers shopping for their pubescent grandchildren must have thought when entering that under-lit, over-priced store and being greeted by half-dressed, barely legal sexpots.

But I did want to touch his abs, just a little... :)