Thursday, December 23, 2004

You're a Harvard Phd, You've Been an Adviser to the POTUS, You're a Professor at Berkeley, You've Published in First-Rate Scholarly Journals...

And you'd have to have the reading comprehension of a sack of rutabagas to get this:

The Lileks That Stole Christmas

Here is something bizarre. James Lileks thinks that Christmas comes from a store--and that America's stores aren't pulling their weight. There's something very wrong here. There's something very wrong with the soul of somebody who thinks that Christmas is diminished because shopping malls don't put up MERRY CHRISTMAS in six-foot high letters.

From this:

I probably exaggerate a bit, but I spent yesterday at the Mall, and the word "Christmas" was nowhere in sight - except for the signs that detailed the holiday store hours.

They were closed on Christmas, for some peculiar reason.

I don't get it. There's this peculiar fear of Christmas that seems to get stronger every year, as if it's the season that dare not speak its name. Check out the U.S. Postal Service Web site: two different stamps for Kwanzaa. One for Eid, two for Hanukkah. Two for non-sectarian "Holiday," with pictures of Santa, reindeer, ornaments, that sort of thing. One for the Chinese New Year. One for those religiously inclined -- it features a Madonna and Child. But the Web site calls it "Holiday Traditional." The word "Christmas" doesn't appear on the site's description of the stamps. Eid, yes. Hanukkah, yes. Kwanzaa, yes. Christmas? No. It's Holiday Traditional.

....This isn't about shoving Christmas down the maws of the unwilling -- it's simply about admitting that the vast majority are celebrating, well, CHRISTMAS, and there's nothing injurious to the public sphere in celebrating that fact. At this rate we will have to rename July 4th The Holiday of Perceiving Nocturnal Airborne Explosives, lest we offend the few who regard the American Experiment as a grievous stain on human history.

Yes, "Merry Christmas" means different things to different people. To those disinclined to follow the creed it represents, it speaks to the cultural traditions of America; to those who take spiritual succor from the season, it means something else. Bottom line in either case: Be happy.

And if you're about to throw down the paper and fire off an angry letter to the editor, stop: Think.

I wish you a Merry Christmas. I really do. That's all there is to it.

We assume the Professor is still wondering how the idiot Bush could have won the election.

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