Here’s one from The Consumerist: Talking Jesus Action Figure Sells Out At Walmart. It is, indeed, refreshing to be reminded once again about how reverent and serious Americans are about spiritual matters. As the article notes, we all know what happens to action figures eventually. Some may even end up, well, crucified—drawn upon with marker, head shaved, blown up with firecrackers, made to perform all manner of sexual act on Barbie, that sort of thing.
And that’s just what I’m doing with mine. I can’t imagine what tortures children will come up with. (Kidding. You wouldn’t catch me buying one of those things.)
One of the prerequisites to becoming a card-carrying, right-wang Republigoat—once you’ve taken the jagged suppository that unleashes the corpus callosum-rotting chemistry into your bloodstream—must be a semester-long class on unintended irony. For instance, every year, the Fox Noise Machine’s Ted Baxter goes all Debbie Downer on Christmas, whining that the “secular progressive agenda” is somehow at war with it, when in fact his perennial bitching does more to politicize and ruin Christmas than any ACLU member ever has. It’s not that Mr. Baxter doesn’t have a point. It’s just that this is one of those rare instances where he’s got it completely back-asswards. It shouldn’t be offensive to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” in America. But don’t blame the Brights that it is. Blame the Bible thumpers.
If there is a national winter holiday in this country, it is Christmas. This is true. Christmas has been the traditionally secular, inclusive, national winter holiday, a time when even the most secular of us can appreciate a pretty tree, exchange presents, and meditate on Peace on Earth and Good Will and all that crap. Unfortunately, the Falwell contingent of this nation, one of whom is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, has taken Christmas’ powerful secular role as fortification of the utterly incorrect notion that the Untied States was formed as and ought to exist as a Christian theocracy.
Some Americans, perhaps a bit due to the aforementioned loboto-suppository, cannot understand the vital difference between my cute little secular celebraion of Christmas in the commons and the private, self-flagellating Christmas observed at midnight mass or however you celebrate your imaginary friends in the sky in your own home or church. They can only perceive of Christmas as an exclusive, religious, Jesus’ birthday kind of Christmas. It’s because of them, not because of us, that “Merry Christmas” is difficult to take. The point of the secular, national holiday I’ve described is inclusion. The point of the solely religious holiday advocated by conservative hacks is exclusion. The insistence on making “Merry Christmas” an exclusive, proprietary custom makes necessary a suitable substitute for the secular, inclusive world. Thus, “Happy Holidays” is more in fashion these days.
I have a theory about why Christmas is so difficult in this respect. I suspect that children are victims of a bait-and-switch scheme designed to force a belief in the Allmighty. They are first introduced to Santa Claus, a mythical, supernatural being who lives up there and listens to wishes and instills a system of morality. When they’re older, they are introduced to God, a mythical, supernatural being who lives up there and listens to wishes and instills a system of morality. They are then told that Santa does not exist, but they are expected to believe for the rest of our lives that God does. I have no scientific evidence of this. But it does in my mind shed some light on why we are so schitzo when it comes to Christmas and other issues of spiritual import, why we seem so determined to fuzz the line between secular and worshippy. It’s because many still believe in Santa Claus.
So I don’t understand why the Fox Noise Machine’s Ted Baxter insists on bringing this up year after year like that loaf of fruitcake that keeps getting regifted. Why would we “war” about Christmas when Christmas isn’t even The Big One in Christianity (that would be Easter, dumb-dumb)? Why would we “war” about Christmas, a holiday once banned by the Puritans, a holiday that steals most of its mythical power and traditions from moon and rock worshippers? Why would we “war” when all we want is our tree and our presents and meditations about Peace on Earth and Good Will and all that crap, when he and his and the occassional presidential candidate insist on piously crowing about the “reason” for the “season” (even though, as previously mentioned, The Big One actually falls in the springtime)?
We’re not the ones who usurped and ruined Christmas, Ted Baxter. You are. You’re the Grinch. There is a wall between the secular and the worshippy not just to prevent the tainting of former from the latter. It goes both ways, you big dummy, and that is why you have seen a “war” all these years, while we have just been trying to mind our own damned business.