Sunday, December 17, 2006

Oh, well, now that you put it -that- way

Via Sadly No!

Mark Noonan explains why the War on Christmas is so vital:

Why should I be concerned with this? What business is it of mine, after all, what people and merchants choose to do over the holiday season? Well, I'm concerned with it because the war against Christmas isn't about whether or not we should say "Merry Christmas", nor is it really about whether or not we'll have a Nativity scene at city hall - no, the war against Christmas is the frontal assault against the content of Christmas and, in a larger sphere, the assault against the content of all transcendent things.

...The reason we Christians must reclaim Christmas and restore its Christian content is that by so doing we are striking a blow against all those forces who want to mold humanity into a shapeless morass of moral equivilancy. This Christmas seaon, if you are Christian, be sure to say "Merry Christmas" as often as possible - but also be as overtly religious about Christmas as you can. Talk about Christ and His Incarnation and what it means to you - in a gentle, loving spirit, get into the face of the secularists and don't let them forget that this our holiday, and they are participating in it because they love what we have, not because they have a right to use it any way they like. And don't be afraid of offending Jews, Moslems, Hindus, etc - people who genuinely follow these faiths cannot possibly be offended by overt manifestations of our faith. People who assert to be of some particular faith who claim to be offended by a Christian Christmas are, well, trying to put one over on you.



Gosh darn it, he is so right. When I said I was offended by you "getting into my face" and droning, unasked, with just a hint of spittle, about the True Meaning Of Christian Christmas, Chris Christianson, what I really meant was "if you keep talking like that, I fear that you will crush Our sinister plan to crush you and the rest of humanity into a shapeless morass of moral equivalency! Curses! Quickly, I must silence this brave yet simple Christian-type Christian, before he can speak of more...Christian...things."

just like when I said, "Happy Holidays!" I really meant, "bow before Our sinister plan to crush you and the rest of humanity into a shapeless morass of moral equivalency! Muhahahahahha!"

and, when that overworked cashier/waitperson/sales rep said, "Have a Nice Day!" with that toothy grin, what sie really meant was "Fuck you, asshole!"

oh wait, that's probably true, actually.

44 comments:

Tom Nolan said...

Christmas 2000 I was working at a Salvation Army Hostel in a very rough part of the English north, and I noticed that all the other staff refrained from saying "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" but said instead "Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year". I asked the Captain what this was all about and he told me that the inmates would likely take any reference to "Merry" as an invitation to go out and get utterly whammed. I suggested that a further improvement to the greeting would be: "Listen up everyone. Have a Sober Christmas and a Well-behaved New Year. OK, as you were."

Veronica said...

I love how all these Christmas Restorers never mention that the Puritans banned celebrating the holiday, deeming it too raucous and secular.

400 freaking years ago.

Eli said...

I fucking HATE transcendent things.

ballgame said...

Veronica: Indeed. In fact, I think it would be more accurate to say that Christians stole the winter festival from the pagans than vice versa.

Dan L-K said...

Attn. Mark Noonan: Am sending coven over directly to collect your tree, mistletoe, lights, wreaths, and other sundry incidentals you may have borrowed from Pagan midwinter traditions and have felt the right to "use... any way [you] like." You may keep the nativity and the angel.

Merry fucking Yule, asshole.

KH said...

This really is just the unchoate impulse to fight, & barely bothers to clothe itself with reasons. Note the carelessness of his Unified Theory of the Enemy, which conflates a wildly varied group of people – anybody, whether left or right, atheist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, whoever might be cool to civic Christmas triumphalism – with the chosen (pardon the term) secular party-political enemy: The Left. And how what passes for deepest spiritual longings, the transcendent thing, devolves into an occasion to hector skeptical strangers in check-out lines, just another chapter of How to Annoy a Liberal. It could just as well be (at some level inseparably is) about his views on welfare, immigration, etc., as about his favorite theory of the supernatural origins of the universe & meaning of human life. The important thing about his transcendent thing isn’t its content, it’s that, just in just for it to survive, he has to assert himself straight to the tips of other people’s noses (& always the same set of noses). Like a Lamb? No, soulless.

Alon Levy said...

You know all the things I've been saying about radicals these last few months? The idiots who push the War on Christmas meme are a better example of radical nuttery than most left-wing radicals I've argued with.

belledame222 said...

Well, for one thing, at least on the left generally the radicals *call* themselves radicals, not o "fair and balanced" or "non-partisan"...

Unsane said...

I hate it when people try to claim spirituality as their exclusive preserve whilst turning it into something obnixious, necessary, or crude.

emily said...

yes, Christmas is solely and only a Christmas tradition. It didn't merge with any pre-existing pagan traditions, and Santa wasn't invented by Coke or nuffin.

I like how in Futurama everybody talks about a traditional X-mas (pronounced "exmas" of course), and Santa is a gun-toting robot. Bob bless us every one.

KH said...

There is an actual discipline of political psychology. It’s not at the center of academic psychology, but I certainly wouldn’t presume to dismiss it as somehow unworthy of attention. It does have all the paraphernalia of an established academic field: professional organizations, graduate programs, institutional & intellectual relations with other subdisciplines (psychometrics, personality psychology, etc.), its own journals, etc. I’m sure that if anyone, even without formal training in the field, were to submit persuasive results bearing on the cognitive styles (or nuttiness, or psychometric intelligence, or moral traits, or whatever) of radicals, one or another of the journals would be pleased to consider accepting them. (It's not as if nobody has ever thought to look for such differences, or published their results.) Pending publication, however, it’s worth recalling that there is a long history of people with axes to grind & biases to confirm, beginning at the beginning with Adorno’s F-scale; also, Ken Keniston, JJ Ray, etc., etc. (I suspect the editors of Political Psychology are in much the same position as the editors of math journals who’re bombarded with naïve “solutions” to the problem of quadrature of the circle & such what.) While it’s a trivially easy to pick out individual cases of nuttiness in any political milieu, including self-designated “sensible” ones, it evidently turns out to be much harder to justify sweeping generalizations, or even to construct valid measures of political-psychological traits, than barroom know-it-alls imagine. The place to start is by reviewing the actual published literature on the subject.

It’s another matter that the psychological evaluation of people or groups, no matter how appropriate the methodology you’re using nowadays, provides no evidence as to truth or falsity of any substantive political proposition. No weight of evidence transmutes an ad hominem fallacy into a sound argument.

Andrea said...

I suggest this guy read up on Mithras worship. He may experience some deja vu whilst doing so...

He obviously wants what others have himself.

And what Dan l-k said.

Rootietoot said...

Christmas isn't even Christian. It's origins are the Roman party-holiday called Saturnalia, complete with song singing, gift-giving, and hanging greenery.

I know, how very bah-humbuggy of me, but the pretense that it has Christian origins is just plain silly. If you read with half your brain, you'll notice right off that Christ was born either in the Spring or early Summer. How much sense would it make to leave your flocks out at night when it's really cold? Not for the sheeps sake, but for the shepherds. What kind of logic would have a nationwide census in the dead of winter,when travel is hard and you can't camp out at night? Hm?

I like getting presents as much as the next guy, but not in the name of Someone who advocated getting rid of your stuff and following Him.

And I'm a Christian! Go figure!

Mey, Mark Noonan,quit arguing a tradition, not canonical law. Get off your little rocking horse and do something practical with your righteous rage. Go feed someone.

Ed Ward said...

Dude can't even spell "equivalency."

Bimbo said...

Is Christianity an endangered species or something?

Rootietoot said...

"Is Christianity an endangered species or something?"

I think that depends on how you define it.
Christian=white person who goes to church=Not Endangered
Or
Christian= a person who sacrifices self(not literally- but gives up what's self-important) for the glory of God and the benefit of His children (that would be, everyone)=has always been rare

I think Christians these days, the ones who squeal about Christmas in the schools and prayer in schools and all that, are focusing on things that aren't so important, so they don't have to work on something that is, like genocide, or homelessness, and all those other uncomfortable things that require one to step outside their comfort zone and actually make a committment.

belledame222 said...

I think you know this lot is Christian the way certain people are Feminist. all brass gongs and tinkling cymbols, or however that goes.

"whited sepulchres" is a great, underused term

belledame222 said...

kh, i know political psych well, or reasonably well; have we talked about Robert Jay Lifton or Eric Fromm in here? mebbe i should, more.

so, yeah: the Authoritarian Personality scale. and Lifton's eight criteria for determining cults. even Fromm's theory of malignant narcissism, dicey as some of his conclusions look to me now. yepper.

Wilhelm Reich and Alice Miller count too, I suppose. maybe Hannah Arendt, too?

belledame222 said...

rootietoot: are you familiar with Sojourners?

R. Mildred said...

I love how all these Christmas Restorers never mention that the Puritans banned celebrating the holiday, deeming it too raucous and secular.

400 freaking years ago.


That's not the irony of hte english puritans, Olde English PUritans were also forrunners of our current dominionist Pre-Millennial Dispensationalists - they believed that A) The books of revelations and that bit in Daniel both were accurate and literal predictions of what would happen during the end of the world B) if only good honest christians took charge of the country (and scotland, wales and ireland too!) and forced everyone to stop drinking and cavorting and worshipping those evil phallic objects then C) England (or american, or where the damn bastards were at that precise moment in time) would become the new jerusalem and God will automatically get every single patriotic new-jerusalemite into heaven, free of charge.

I'm personally of the opinion that the most unchristian thing a christian can do is care about what the fucking season is called.

Is this guy a relative of "The Dolphin Lady" Peggy noonan, ex-member of the Reagan Administration? I find it hard to keep track of their various spawn.

midwesterntransport said...

this is what i find funny:

"in a gentle, loving spirit, get into the face of the secularists"

and "And don't be afraid of offending Jews, Moslems, Hindus, etc"

how is that in any way gentle or loving? getting in someone's face isn't exactly either, in my book.

"and don't let them forget that this our holiday, and they are participating in it because they love what we have, not because they have a right to use it any way they like. And don't be afraid of offending Jews, Moslems, Hindus, etc - people who genuinely follow these faiths cannot possibly be offended by overt manifestations of our faith. People who assert to be of some particular faith who claim to be offended by a Christian Christmas are, well, trying to put one over on you.

midwesterntransport said...

erm, didn't mean to leave that last long bit in there. sorry.

belledame222 said...

Is this guy a relative of "The Dolphin Lady" Peggy noonan,

one would assume so, but apparently not.

word verification: kuqqox

KH said...

A story in today's NYT offers one small example of where all this leads.

Tina Kelley, "Talk in Class Turns to God, Setting Off Debate on Rights," NYT, Dec. 18, 2006, p. A23.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/18/nyregion/
18kearny.html?hp&ex=1166418000&en
=fa807250c191d8c8&ei=5094&
partner=homepage

Rootietoot said...

BD re: sojourners
I've heard of them but don't know a single thing about them. (am going right now to look them up)

KH said...

Excerpts from Tina Kelley's NYT article:

[David Paszkiewicz, an 11-grade civics teacher] told his sixth-period students at Kearny High School that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark, and that only Christians had a place in heaven …

“If you reject his gift of salvation, then you know where you belong,” Mr. Paszkiewicz was recorded saying of Jesus. “He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.”

… Mr. Paszkiewicz, 38, who has taught in the district for 14 years and is also a youth pastor at Kearny Baptist Church.

… students and the larger community have mostly lined up with Mr. Paszkiewicz, not with Matthew [LeClair, the student who has complained about his classroom behavior], who has received a death threat handled by the police, as well as critical comments from classmates.

Greice Coelho, who took Mr. Paszkiewicz’s class and is a member of his youth group, said in a letter to The Observer, the local weekly newspaper, that Matthew was “ignoring the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gives every citizen the freedom of religion.” Some anonymous posters on the town’s electronic bulletin board, Kearnyontheweb.com, called for Matthew’s suspension.

On the sidewalks outside the high school, which has 1,750 students, many agreed with 15-year-old Kyle Durkin, who said, “I’m on the teacher’s side all the way.”

… the controversy here, 10 miles west of Manhattan, hinges on assertions Mr. Paszkiewicz made in class, including how a specific Muslim girl would go to hell.

… As for the request that Mr. Paszkiewicz correct his statements that conflict with the district’s science curriculum, “Sometimes, the more you dwell on the issue, the more you continue the issue,” [the school board’s attorney] Mr. Lindenfelser said. “Sometimes, it’s better to stop any inappropriate behavior and move on.”

… the LaClairs said they had been surprised by the vehemence of the opposition that local residents had expressed against Matthew.

Frank Viscuso, a Kearny resident, wrote in a letter to The Observer that “when a student is advised by his ‘attorney’ father to bait a teacher with questions about religion, and then records his answers and takes the story to 300 newspapers, that family isn’t ‘offended’ by what was said in the classroom — they’re simply looking for a payout and to make a name for themselves.” He called the teacher one of the town’s best.

… One teacher, who did not give his name, said he thought both Matthew and his teacher had done the right thing. “The student had the right to do what he did,” the man said. As for Mr. Paszkiewicz, “He had the right to say what he said, he was not preaching, and that’s something I’m very much against.”

Matthew said he missed the friends he had lost over his role in the debate, and said he could “feel the glares” when he walked into school.

Instead of mulling Supreme Court precedents, he said with half a smile, “I should be worrying about who I’m going to take to the prom.”

lilcollegegirl said...

wrt that article in the previous comment WTF? I kind of really want to cry now.

Word verification: emguh-the sound that comes gurgling from your throat when you realize you're surrounded by stupid people in large groups (possibly calling for brains). Telling your students they're going to hell is in no way okay behavior for a teacher, freedom of religion has jack all to do with it.

prettylady said...

Merry Christmas!

Jane said...

Um, hello? Festivus.

KH said...

Tina Kelley’s quotes suggest, if further evidence were needed, that very many people don’t understand not only the US Constitution, but the whole liberal concept that emerged from the 16th-17th century European wars of religion. After 400 years of liberal civilization, it turns out that most of the population (the most democratically & expensively educated general population in history) have never heard the news – still are only weakly acquainted with the idea of modern Western civilization.

That said, the threat doesn’t come entirely from nutty schlubs in outlying areas. It’s self-flattering & wrong to focus only on the stupider sort of religious dogmatist. Malicious stupidity always is with us, & although it ebbs & flows, by itself it doesn’t determine the fate of secular society. Elites, too, – who are at least as intelligent, educated & sophisticated, & mostly as secular, as you or I – have a measure of influence, & play a role in the production & manipulation of mass religious stupidity & intolerance. (They control the Fox News Channel.) There’s a certain reality to the claim that, to the extent liberal ideas have survived at all since Westphalia, even imperfectly, they’ve been sustained by elites. Certainly, where elites have turned decisively against liberal ideas, liberal ideas usually have been crushed. I don’t know how to apportion responsibility for the current pressure on secular norms between elites & masses, but it’s plainly partly a reflex of political decisions by a section of elite opinion, & the conflicting commitments of different sections of the elite bear strongly on its prospects.

Rosie said...

I was really, really hoping Christmahanukwanzakah was going to catch on. Mainly 'cause I was dying to hear the old guy who's the greeter at the Newport, TN Walmart wrap his mouth around it.

And I'm still waiting for an invite from the local Church of Pentacostal Church Snake Handlers in Jesus Christ's Name to see their Christmas Sunday service. I was hopin' to get to watch them drink strychnine and do some rattlesnake juggling. You know...it's the least they could do after I let them come up here and collect copperheads from my property.

Sure, they SAY Merry Christmas, but what they really mean is, "We'll take your snakes, but we don't want your queer ass in our church."

Carly said...

Hate to be off topic here, but... I've just tagged you. Sorry 'bout that - I really am, but I'm just passing on the love. See my blog for the deets.

FoolishOwl said...

I was listening to Lou Dobbs on the "Happy Holidays" thing, and the conclusion I came to is that he's just deliberately lying.

KH said...

I assume Lou Dobbs wouldn't accept a simple "Feliz Navidad"?

FUNKYBROWNCHICK said...

@Emily ... What?!??! COKE invented Santa??? You're a liar. The truth is not in you!!!!! ;)

Chuckie K said...

I was jsut trying to ignore this whole discussion, but I have to confess, as a philosophical materialist, which entails, atheism, I promote the tree-based celebration of Christmas among my immigrant and children of immigrant friends, and I say "Merry Christmas" all the time, because I am taking the holiday away from the Christians lock-stock-and-barrel. Christians who advocate the use of "Merry Christmas" have become my unwitting accomplices.
I consider the most ludicrous example of Christian holiday imperialism to be the media attempts, despite the calendrical vagaries, to force Hannukah and Eid to become the Jewish and Muslim Christmases. In all fairness, every religion MUST have a Christmas.

Lesley said...

Oh honestly, Mark Noonan is an ass. I am not Christian. I don't care if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. I even go so far as wishing my Christian friends a Merry Christmas. However, if someone got in my face to wish me a Merry Christmas, damn straight I'd be offended. I'd be offended because why the hell are they in my face? Getting in someone's face? Not so much of the peace and love.

I also hate the month-long celebration of Christmas. Last I checked, Christmas was somewhere between one and twelve days, depending on how it's being celebrated, with none of those twelve days coming before December 25th. I will say that none of the "Merry Christmas or die" folks have ever wished me a Merry Christmas after December 25th, though. So if anyone wants to wish me a Merry Christmas, I'd appreciate it if they did it right around December 25th (a couple of days before is fine). Oddly, not one of my Christian friends ever wishes me a Merry Christmas before December 25th, because people really don't do that to those they know. Only to strangers. And how odd is that? Why do people feel the need to wish a Merry Christmas to perfect strangers three weeks before Christmas?

Also, a month of hearing the same songs over and over is enough to drive anyone mad. I won't even listen to the same Ramones songs over and over for an entire month, and, dude, they're the Ramones!

So, Mr. Noonan, although you'll almost certainly never read this, allow me to wish you a Happy Chanukah. Oddly, I'm doing this while it actually is Chanukah. What a concept.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

AG would like to declare a war on the war on X-mas!

Miss Robyn said...

You know, that's really what Christmas is about- annoying people who do not share your personal beliefs. In fact, after he finishes sermonizing Atheist/Agnostic/Muslim/Jewish/Hindu strangers on the street, he probably holds his finger an inch from their faces and yells "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!" and then follows them around for the rest of the night toting a chalkboard and scraping his fingernails on it. That'll show'em not to believe in jebus!

belledame222 said...

You know, that's really what Christmas is about- annoying people who do not share your personal beliefs.

Well, duh--how else to explain the relentless deluge of pop Christmas carols?

Ravenmn said...

How come all the wars against them involve store clerks choosing improper language while the wars against us include poverty, lack of health care, death, disease and hopelessness?

I'm thinking some folks in Iraq and Afghanistan could only hope that the worst thing they experience is some store clerk misunderstanding their religious fervor.

Assholes.

emily said...

>>Well, duh--how else to explain the relentless deluge of pop Christmas carols?

Wham's Last Xmas pwns them all. Oh yes it does. Yes.

Alon Levy said...

How come all the wars against them involve store clerks choosing improper language while the wars against us include poverty, lack of health care, death, disease and hopelessness?

They'll get over it. After losing a few political battles on issues people actually care about, some conservative leader will probably be smart enough to say "screw it" and marginalize the radical right.

belledame222 said...

Emily: no, i think the Mariah Carey one is the Prime Evil, there.