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.
I'm totally with you. I believe the standard response to a whiny child (standard or overgrown) is "If you don't shut up, I'll give you something to REALLY whine about!"
What makes me laugh is that he also calls people who are offended by Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings as being "Nuts" yet the Christians that are offended by Target saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas are the poor persecuted victims of totalitarian secular forces waging a war against Christianity.
I love the disconnect here:
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...There is no reason on this earth that all of us cannot celebrate a public holiday devoted to generosity, peace, and love together.
A bit unclear on the concept, are we?
Because nothing embodies the Christmas spirit more than bringing horror into people's world.
One more thing: I've been a Pagan since 1981, and in touch with other Pagans since 1993, and I have NEVER met a Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan, Druid, etc. who actually got the least upset about being wished a "Merry Christmas." Most of us grew up in Christian households, f'chrissakes, and still have Christian relatives with whom we celebrate...drum-roll please...CHRISTMAS! Bill O'Reilly's mileage may vary, of course, but I think he's making this whole "war on Christmas" thing up. And that's both silly and scary. There's a place in Dante's Hell for "sowers of discord," because they do real harm.
Bill O'Reilly is a comedian who isn't aware that he's a comedian, and that makes me think of a quote from the movie Beautiful Girls:
Moe is like a retarded person who doesn't know any better. He doesn't desire new experiences, new women, nothing. He's like a mental patient who doesn't know he's mental, so he's perfectly content.
I, for one, am going to avoid not just the word Christmas but also the "sanitized" expressions like Happy Holidays. For me, it's Seasonal Humbuggery! Bah!
Now, Brayton, I know I've warned you against bloviating on this theme before, but being the Secularist Anti-Christian Dog that you are, you seem to like playing with fire. As I've warned you about before in the past, you are risking a dangerous Factor-driven boycott of this blog and you risk being added to the list of "fringe looney smear far-left" websites O'Falafel keeps taking about on his show. Pretty soon he might just have to put you on his show and give you a right good finger wagging ass beating in front of millions. I am also sure that Falafel has taken note of your defense of the ACLU. Playing with fire, Brayton, playing with fire!
If you guys haven't seen these yet:
The first one is the Colbert Report. Christmas is pinned down by enemy fire and he's coming to the rescue.
The second one is The Daily Show. "I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together... at Osama's Homo-bortion Pot-and-Commie Jizz-porium."
Oh my god, how did I miss that episode of the Daily Show? Brilliant.
Remember when preachers wanted us to put the "Christ" back into Christmas instead of putting the "Christmas" back into newspaper ads?
Bill O'Reilly is an "entertainer" whose main job is to get people to watch commercials of his advertisers. His heart wrenching story of being a 3 year old in Levittown is ludicrous. When I was a 3 year old, my family was living in West Virginia. BO'R grew up in a family that became upper-middle class, as did I after they moved to Cincinnati.
More on BO'R at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_O'Reilly_(commentator)
No one has mentioned that George W. Bush did not mention Christmas on his "holiday card." See this article.
The furor over Bush's "holiday" card just kills me. Apparently it's just preposterous to these halfwits and demagogues to even consider that on the president's Christmas card list (over a million people get them) are probably thousands of non-Christians. It would make little sense to wish Merry Christmas to them (though it doesn't bother me in the least to be wished a Merry Christmas) and thus they are merely trying to cover their bases. The alternative, of course, is to try and determine what religion each and every person on the list might be and sending several different cards, and that would be impossible to do. This is a perfectly reasonable decision on the part of the White House, but to listen to the William Donohues of the world, you would think that it all throws Christians into the ovens at Dachau. It's completely ridiculous.
The takedown on the Daily Show made two of my points for me:
-Christmas and New Years are two holidays. They're close together. The expression "Happy Holidays" encompasses them both. (It also covers Thanksgiving. Which brings me to...)
-These nuts are insisting that we celebrate Christmas, which is December 25th, for all of December! And part of November!
My third point was made by chrisberez, above. Especially ironic is that those taking offense at Christ being sidelined are doing so in the name of a man who taught you to not retaliate if you're punched in the face!
By the way, Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception (since generic holiday greetings are verboten). Or, if you will, Bloodbath.
I am incapable of doing html in blog comments but if you go to FOX news "holiday" catalog you will in fact find Oriley factor "Holiday" balls and "No Spin Zone" "Holiday" balls. Terri Gros interviewed Colbert last night on fresh air. I am actualy glad my roomie got cable for the first time since I discovered the science channel. Did I say "holiday" I meant to say "holy days" silly me. . .
How do they determine who get those Bush cards? I believe I remember getting something like that, but I didn't look at it. I wish I had kept it now.
The irony is that the religious right is boycotting a bunch of stores not because they promote vapid materialism, which denigrates the meaning of the holiday, but because the stores aren't mentioning Christmas explicitly. They might just be doing the right thing (What Jesus Would Do?) for the wrong reason. I think Jesus would care more about the rabid commercialism of his birthday than semantics.
By the way, Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception (since generic holiday greetings are verboten).
Ummm, that was like 9 months ago. Sheesh.
This whole situation just seems to get stranger and stranger. Today the New York Times is reporting that a small number of megachurches are not going to have services on Christmas Day.
For Bulman -- The Immaculate Conception is the conception of Mary, not of Jesus. It is celebrated on December 8. The feast of the birth of Mary is September 8. The "conception" (?) of Jesus tallies with the feast of the Annunciation on March 25. They calculated all these things to a nicety, didn't they?
P.S. It's been a long time since I did my catechism (I got more intelligent as I got older, I guess, but I was a pretty credulous 7-year-old), but if I remember correctly, Mary's conception was "immaculate" because she was (is?) the only human being born without the stain of original sin. Her destiny as the mother of God required it, I guess. Actually, I don't remember ever hearing the word "conception" in relation to Jesus, but maybe I just issed it.
"I'm gonna use all the power that I have on radio and television to bring horror into the world"
Now, if I was a Creationist, this is the line I would quote. I do believe 0'Reilly has already made good on this.
Here's a thought for the Christian loonies -
OK, let's have the major retailers start saying "Merry Christmas" again. Ah, all is well once more!
Now how about they also start saying "Happy Ramadan"? (Or some reasonable equivalent.) "Happy Summer Soltice". Or "Happy Vishnu's Birthday"? (Don't know diddly about Hinduism, so I don't know if such a thing even exists, but I hope the point is made.)
How would the Christian loonies react if the trappings of other faiths were put in there faces, as they seek to do to others with their beliefs?
My small-business-owning father explained it to me this way: "Merry Christmas" stuff was passe on December 26. In a small town where much of the business depended on fall harvests that might fail after the businesses had already ordered their pre-Christmas inventory, the ability to keep the sales going from December 26 through January 2 was necessary to keep the business going, to keep the lights on, to pay the employees, to pay the owner, etc., etc. "Merry Christmas" was something only the really big businesses could afford.
So Bill O'Reilly is anti-small business. He's coming out four-square for the triumph of gigantic big box stores over small stores. He's coming out in favor of the destruction of small town America -- you know, the towns like Bedford Falls where George Bailey had a wonderful life. O'Reilly wants to turn them all into Pottersvilles, and make them bedroom communities to Gary, Indiana.
At least, that's what he's campaigning for.
O'Reilly is an anti-American, anti-Free Enterprise, misanthropic bigot. His only chance to know the spirit of Christmas is if he gets visits from three ghosts . . .
Best line from Dickens, ever (and it applies to O'Reilly in spades): "The stairs were dark. But darkness was cheap, and Scrooge liked it."
Darkness is always cheap, and Scrooges, like O'Reilly, always choose darkness for that reason alone.
My two Muslim-raised kids have not lived in the US since they were toddlers but because their Mom is American and they watch Christmas movies they think Christmas is a cool holiday. (No, we don't celebrate it here although I do usually do something or other for thanksgiving.)
Yesterday I told my 13 year old that his aunt was getting her Christmas tree (she lives in Cleveland) and that it was snowing there and he got all annoyed that we live in Cairo and don't have snow and don't have Xmas trees - and he is not a Christian, he is a practicing Muslim. He saw no problem with the concept. No non-Christians that I have ever met have a problem with Christmas per se. Nor do they get offended by Merry Christmas. This whole issue seems to have been invented from whole cloth.