It’s not often I find myself on the same side of an argument as Bill O’Reilly, the American Family Association, or people of a Christian persuasion , but this one really does get my goat.
Over the last decades, a campaign has been under way in the world, but mainly the US, to “secularise” Christmas. In short:
“…public, corporate, and government mention of the term “Christmas” is avoided and replaced with a generic term—usually “holiday” or “winter”—and that popular non-religious aspects of Christmas, such as secular Christmas carols and decorated trees are still prominently showcased and recognized, but are vaguely associated with non-specified “holidays”, rather than with Christmas.”
American cities have renamed their Christmas trees, rather hilariously, as “Holiday Trees”. Christmas cards are now “Holiday Cards”. Christmas cake is probably “Happy Funny Fuzzy Cake”. And we are supposed to wish all and sundry Happy Holidays.
Well Happy Holidays, my saggy arse.
“A controversy regarding these issues arose in 2002, when the New York City public school system banned the display of nativity scenes, but allowed religious symbols of Hanukkah and Ramadan to be displayed.”
What is everybody so jumpy about? I could find a hundred things in the year that I don’t agree with – pancake tuesday, daylight savings time, Thursdays in general – but why the hell would I have the energy to go around complaining about them? Life’s just too short.
So you’re religious non-Christian and offended by the C-word? So just do what I do about the abject idiocy spewed forth by every major religion – ignore it! I happily ignore Ramadan, Lent, Passover and every other day of submission to invisible, transdimensional entities. I am a rather committed atheist but I do not give a secular crap how people refer to traditional days. Neither do I throw a fit every time I see Hebrew texts, or men muttering, kneeling down and facing east five times a day, so why should 3 men on camels get my atheist arse all fired up?
My buddy Bill O’Reilly calls the whole “Happy Holiday” thing “anti-Christian”. Personally, I don’t give a toss about the Christians (or Mr. O’Reilly) but I do take offence at having bits of my traditions pruned away and watered down by committees terrified of offending other committees.
And why “Happy HOLIDAYS”? Holiday is obviously a version of “Holy Day” and is thus offending to secular and twitchy people in the same way as “Christmas”. Probably worse, in fact.
But things are looking up. Arnold Schwarzenegger, bless him, recently referred to the Californian “State Holiday Tree” as a Christmas tree. Which it clearly is. And the battle rages on, as more Americans realise that its all a bit daft, really, and that their energy could be better spent in finding small countries to bully, or working out new ways to get high fructose corn syrup into their diets.
Political correctness, and the fear of offending people, is a scourge of our modern twitchy society. It demeans us all. Things that we do not like keep us on our toes, and make the world interesting. What, should we all walk around in full-body air bags, crash helmets and horse blinkers to avoid any chance of insult or injury? What a sad and sorry bunch of twits we have become.
I really hope that we don’t get rid of all the kitsch stuff that makes Christmas interesting – the carol singing, the cribs, the full-on in-your-face religious imagery. It’s a TRADITION people! There really wasn’t a Jesus or a virgin birth you know, it’s all just pretend. And it’s not unusual that people care about other things that do not exist. Gandalf, for example. Or Lionel Ritchie. Just go with it, and have a laugh.
So I shall make it my business to wish everybody a happy Christmas, and go out of my way to deface with a fat marker any signs wishing me a mediocre and mousey “Happy Holidays”. Holiday’s aren’t happy, and they sure as hell don’t have 2 litres of Baileys, a dozen mince pies, horrendous jumpers and great enormous slabs of turkey in them. Yum yum indeed.
(Did you like this article ? Then send it to Digg or wherever these things are sent to. I want hits! And fame! Come on now, it’s nearly Christmas, be nice to your uncle Paddy…)