Doug Stanhope once did a very funny bit about how people taking a political cause too far can make you go in the other direction just to spite them. He’d say, “It’s like the PETA people. I’m sympathetic to their cause, I mean, I would never hurt an animal, that’s just messed up. But PETA is so ridiculous about it, throwing blood on anyone who wears fur coats and trying to get lobsters the right to vote that it makes me want to choke a fuzzy bunny in front of them just to piss them off because they’re so extreme about it. And now I’m against what I’d be for normally because they’re a fucking nitwit.” That’s how I feel about this “War on Christmas” crap that we are being bombarded with from every corner of the right wing media.
I’m one of those people who loves Christmas. It holds no religious meaning for me, but I love it. I love watching the faces of my nieces and nephews as they open their presents, I love having the family together and cooking a big meal for them, I love the sentiment behind it. But the more I hear Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson and the Jerry Falwell and the rest of the American chapter of the Gang of Demagogues and Con Men mindlessly beat this idiotic drum, the more I want to blow it back in their face. And you’ve gotta see O’Reilly’s latest lunacy. This is from his radio show from a week ago:
O’REILLY: There’s a lot of emotion — and I can hear it in your voice too, [caller]. There’s a lot of emotion tied into Christmas. You know why? Because it’s our earliest Christmas memories. You know, I have a memory of me sitting on my stairs in my Levittown house, four rooms, and looking at this Christmas tree about 5:30 in the morning, my parents were still asleep, my sister was still asleep. And I just stood — I just sat on the stairs and stared at that Christmas tree with all the gifts underneath. That is one of my earliest memories; maybe I was three, maybe four. OK? And I — it was such a magical time for me as a child. It was just magic. The whole thing was magical. I never felt better as a kid than I did at Christmas time. I loved everything about Christmas. And I submit to you that 80 percent of Americans feel the way that I do. All right? That they just remember as a child the joy the season brought.
I am not going to let oppressive, totalitarian, anti-Christian forces in this country diminish and denigrate the holiday and the celebration. I am not going to let it happen. I’m gonna use all the power that I have on radio and television to bring horror into the world of people who are trying to do that. And we have succeeded. You know we’ve succeeded. They are on the run in corporations, in the media, everywhere. They are on the run, because I will put their face and their name on television, and I will talk about them on the radio if they do it. There is no reason on this earth that all of us cannot celebrate a public holiday devoted to generosity, peace, and love together. There is no reason on the earth that we can’t do that. So we are going to do it. And anyone who tries to stop us from doing it is gonna face me.
Here’s what I think is hilarious about this. Notice in the first part, where he talks about why he loves Christmas, that he doesn’t say a single word about Jesus or Christianity? Not one. It’s all about the presents and the tree and getting up early and the anticipation of opening presents, and so forth. Not one word about the religious meaning. But his crusade against “Happy Holidays” is all about the religious significance. The phrase “Happy Holidays” does absolutely nothing to change any of the things he listed as being so special about Christmas. You could call it “Bloodbath” and it wouldn’t change any of those things, it’s just a name. God, I’m tired of these people. I’m tired of this whole stupid War on Christmas meme. The more these frauds cry about persecution, the more it makes me want to actually persecute them to punish them for polluting our culture with this idiotic idea. Stanhope was right.