Holiday Hysteria, 2019 Edition

War On Thanksgiving

Ah, 2019. Perhaps it hasn’t been quite the dystopian nightmare envisioned in Blade Runner, but that sure as hell isn’t for lack of plenty of folks putting out the furious effort to make it so. One of the most telling arenas is the annual War On Christmas narrative, which has turned especially bizarre this year. Yes, I mean even more bizarre than usual.

For starters, the War On Christmas season, which as usual had been raging since September, was interrupted in November for a War On Thanksgiving season. Don’t people know that when November comes, Thanksgiving is passe and it’s time to be going after the War On Christmas full throttle already?

It all started with a single article published on HuffPost called “The Environmental Impact Of Your Thanksgiving Dinner”. The purpose of this article was to suggest some steps to lessen that impact. The purpose was not to discourage anyone from celebrating Thanksgiving at all. How do we know this? Well, maybe because the author said so:

No one should be discouraged from enjoying the holiday or celebrating with family and friends…

No one possibly could misconstrue an unequivocal utterance like that, right? Ah, never underestimate the extraordinary skill of Fox “News”, which repeatedly hammered away at the utterly false narrative that “liberals”  or “the left” or “college students” want to “cancel Thanksgiving”. One of the network’s talking headlesses even declared that there was a “huge push” to do so. Jesse Watters of Fox “News” even spurted, “They lost the War on Christmas. They want to fight again??”

Yes. of course, they do, Jesse. Can’t you hear “them”, whoever “they” are, trying to smash down your gate with a pagan battering ram?

Predictably, the White House Occupant, who gets his intravenous infusion of kooky talking points directly from Fox, did a monkey-hear monkey-repeat of the whopper, except in his twisted telephone game version of the story, those liberals/leftists/college students just want to change the name of the holiday. He even pulled out of his ass the claim that they had “different ideas” about why it should be changed. But he assured his fawning cult that “we’re not changing it”, because we all know that everyone will obey his imperial edicts without question.

Just as predictably, the story went full circle — right back to Fox, where it started, who touted their president’s speech as proof that, see, the War On Thanksgiving really is a thing after all.

Having thus dispatched with the War On Thanksgiving, it was back to the all-important War On Christmas. So as usual, you’ve been hearing the reactionaries say things like this:

Last Christmas most people had a hard time finding Christmas cards that indicated in any way that Christmas commemorated Someone’s birth.

And saying of “liberals” or “the left” that

It is not religious tolerance in the midst of religious difference, but religious attack that they preach and practice.

Well, you’ll certainly hear them say things very much like this. But these particular words were not uttered by a Fox bloviator. They came from the notoriously anti-Semitic Henry Ford in 1921. And he was referring specifically to Jews, whom he accused of waging a War On Christmas and Christianity.  That’s right; the “War on Christmas” narrative began as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. And while the target has shifted a bit, the ammunition remains the same. Wingers are still vowing to defend Christmas against a vicious assault from the left that they swear, honest to Pete, is really and truly happening.

The Christmas Street Decoration Committee of the Waterloo [Iowa] Chamber of Commerce followed the lead of many other towns in Iowa putting “Christ back in Christmas.”

Hmm… That’s not exactly a new quote, either. It comes from 1954. If “the left” has been waging such an unrelenting war for so many decades to remove Christ from Christmas and shut down Christmas itself, they surely must be the most inept warriors in history.

But this year, there was an interesting new wrinkle. Pay attention here and try to keep up. Part of the War On Christmas has consisted of forcibly yanking Christ out of it. And that’s been done in part by turning too much of the spotlight on his secular counterpart, Santa Claus. But Santa Claus himself has been the subject of rumors about how that notoriously dreaded “political correctness” is making drastic changes to our cherished traditions. So, to extend the battlefront in the War On Christmas, and put Christ back into same, the Christmas Warriors also rallied to put the claws back in Santa Claus. They waged a war on those waging a war on Christmas by waging a war on those who were waging war on Santa Claus, who was waging war on Christmas. We can pause if you need to diagram this.

This campaign also was fueled by a single article. It was filed under “weird news” in the Mirror, a publication in the librul/leftist/commie UK, reporting on a survey by a marketing company that specifically invited people to suggest ways that Santa might be rebranded in a more appealing contemporary guise. Of those responding, 27 percent suggested the possibility of a female or gender neutral Santa.

Well sir, that was all it took to get the InterNuts seething. The Facebookers and Twitterers were abuzz with scathing memes about how Thuh Leffft is now trying to wage a war on Christmas by waging a war on Santa Claus, who has been waging a war on Christmas. They’re coming to castrate Kris Kringle! Is nothing sacred to them?  Never mind that there was absolutely no movement to alter a hair in Santa’s beard, not even a known proposal to that effect. (Except that there have been a slowly increasing number of black Santas, which somehow seems to have slipped under the outrage radar.) There was only a survey in which people suggested possible marketing strategies after being prompted. But hey, we must never let the facts get in the way of a provocative meme.

Time out. Do these people realize they are getting into a lather over a mythical character? Do they realize that mythical characters are characters that somebody just made up? And that making them up required arbitrary choices like gender? Some mythical characters, like Santa, are folk characters, which simply means that we don’t know exactly who made them up. But somebody did. And another thing about folk characters is that they constantly evolve. People are always making changes to them. And always have.

In fact, Santa Claus can trace his family tree to the legendary Fourth Century Turkish-Greek bishop St. Nicholas. And to Father Christmas, who wore a green robe. And Odin, who rode a horse. And even Krampus, the horned pagan figure who punished children who misbehaved.  The present standardized image we have of Jolly Old Saint Nick dates back only to 1931, when it was created to advertise Coca-Cola. This is what reactionaries are pugnaciously defending against any change, real or imagined.

Meanwhile, the ever-dependable Fox went on a rampage about “The Left” attacking Rudolph. Yes, the reindeer.  This scoop was also the result of a single item on HuffPost, a little video of humorous observations people have made about the TV movie. It wasn’t the first time HuffPost had poked good-natured fun at the Rudolph story. In fact, it seems to run at least one Rudolph item every year, often clearly branded as comedy. But this year, it also ran a piece on “Why We Love Rudolph”.

But all of this went way over Fox’s talking heads. As did, apparently the fact that Fox itself has in the past aired allegations that the Rudolph story promotes bullying. No, Tucker Carlson and his sock puppet “former leftist” guest Dave Rubin were interested only in snickering and smugging all over themselves in their ridicule of “The Left” as the captions proclaimed “Huff Post dubs Rudolph Public Enemy Number 1” and “Are any holiday traditions safe from attack”? Better question: is there any depth to which Fox won’t stoop?

Meanwhile, on Christmas Eve — Christmas Eve — the official White House advisory panel of Fox and Friends proclaimed that millennials want to “ban Secret Santa” because it gives them anxiety. How the hell would you go about “banning” the practice of Secret Santa even if you wanted to? They were referring to a poll showing that millennials, more than other generations disapprove of the Secret Santa practice at their workplace and would prefer to see it discontinued. In Foxlandia, this means that they want to enact a Big Brother law preventing anyone anywhere from practicing it. Interesting thing is that even as they breathlessly reported the latest War On Christmas tactic from Thuh Leffft, the Fox hosts themselves admitted that, well, um, they didn’t exactly like the practice themselves. But as representatives of their network and its alternate universe, they apparently were compelled to take a stance against political correctness even when they privately considered it a good thing.

But they can rest easy; the War On Christmas has been won. Again. Fox told us, right after the White House occupant won his Electoral College victory, that the mere act of his winning had abruptly ended the decades-old conflict, and it was now safe for Americans to say “Merry Christmas” again. And now, Fox is informing us that, thanks to his mindless spawn, the war has been completely won yet again. Jeanine Pirro even tells us that “we now don’t have the political correctness we used to”. (Which, of course, has not stopped them from constantly yammering about how that nonexistent political correctness is destroying America.) So now that the war has been completely won twice in such a short span of time, it surely must be won for good. And there is no reason why we will ever, ever hear about it again.

Right?

 

4 comments

  1. I wish someone would win this war on Christmas and get it over with. I am tired of being bombarded, beginning in October, with Christmas music on the radio, Christmas movies and ads on TV, Christmas decorations and tinsel all over every house and store on the street, and in every mall.

    The holiday is pervasive and unavoidable. Seriously, I’d appreciate the sentiment of the season a great deal more if it wasn’t being rammed down my throat every day and night for three months.

    However, I assume that retailers are largely responsible. I think 20 to 30% of their annual revenue is earned in the last quarter of the year, so they’re going to push the Christmas holiday like crazy. They might even be secretly pleased that some people think there’s a war being fought about it, hoping that would generate more sales.

    Suggestion to self: turn off the TV and read a book.

    p.s. I always enjoy reading your posts, P.O.P. Thank you.

  2. When they scream about Santa being a woman, or anything else (such as a handsome white man) they are not just being influenced by their conservative bents (to conserve everything)! What really bugs them making santa a woman or a black man) which threatens their belief that Christmas needs to be “normal” and imbued with (just) the Hollywood version of Jesus. So, in this sense using a non-existent entity to criticize what “them liberals supposedly believe,” still has meaning–because even mythological or invented characters must also conform with the established versions of what we have all been taught. And when it comes right down to it, concocting yet another conspiracy theory is a way to defeat them librulz–even as them librulz are busy decorating their living rooms and roofs, with bright displays of traditional symbols,–seeking to define God in a traditional way–by spreading mirth and love, rather than using pagan symbols to permeate the Holiday with “rituals!” Just once I wish conservatives would recall that Christ drank wine with “many sinners” and even turned water into “wine! so that the host could give the good stuff to his guests.

    I really can’t picture Christ as being completely somber about life, or seeking to make every aspect of it a drag. So born agains should go ahead and whip themselves with steel rods–or maybe they should genuflect until they get arthritis in their knees–just to atone for their every errant thought, while waiting politely to (correct) anyone who does not share their own immaculate beliefs!-the “special transformations” which turn true believers into the “chosen ones?”

    Wouldn’t it be great if Republicans started standing up for defending the truth again– Or perhaps just understanding that most holliday myths are intended to help us stop and be thankful for the bounty which many of us share, (thanks to the previous period of liberal policies–beginning in the 1940s)–so is happiness really so wrong?

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