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Happy Holidays
December 22, 2013 4:16 PM   Subscribe

About the only place this book hasn't been is in my hands, open and upright, with my eyes pointed at it. But that's about to change. Because I'm going to read this book in 20-minute bursts over the next eight hours. Why 20-minute bursts? Because that's how long it takes for a batch of my mother's Slog-famous Christmas Snowball cookies to bake. I'm going to put a tray in the oven, read, swap trays out, read some more. And I think it's fair to say that by the end of the day today—after all my Christmas cookies are baked—I will have read more of this book than Sarah Palin wrote. - Dan Savage reviews Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.
posted by Artw (91 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
A Very Palin Christmas.

I read this the other day, and it's Dan Savage with a lot of the annoying bits of Dan Savage shaved off. It is also brilliant.
posted by Mezentian at 4:22 PM on December 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cookie recipe.
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on December 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's not the most informative review, since he can't really bring himself to read it.

not that I actually want to know what's in it. I will go on happily wishing people "Happy Holidays" because I am NOT Christian, and even if Hanukkah is over early, it was still a happy one.
posted by jb at 4:27 PM on December 22, 2013


Unless she runs for office again I am content with being out of touch with Sarah the quitter Palin. So... She has a book out eh?
posted by edgeways at 4:28 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The bit about Sandy Hook is, frankly, informative enough.
posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on December 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


The fact that she doesn't twig about Sandy Hook and gun control says volumes.
posted by Mezentian at 4:33 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was hilarious. I really enjoy Dan Savages' way of writing.
posted by Uncle Grumpy at 4:41 PM on December 22, 2013


"doesn't twig"? You give her too much credit. Wait, you don't live in the US do you? I'm sure she (along with the NRA) points to Sandy Hook as the reason why there should be more guns.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:45 PM on December 22, 2013


The fact that she doesn't twig about Sandy Hook and gun control says volumes.

Of course she twigs (I think? We don't really use that word in America). What she twigs is that there are millions of Americans who think social reality is a vile conspiracy against fantasy.

These people will vote Republican if Republicans tell them stories about bringing Blacks and gays and Moo-slums and everyone else back in line, like they used to be; and they will buy books that explain how persecuted Whites are in America or evince Palin's agnosticism-on-child-murder, Jesus-stuffed ghost-written garbage if it promises to beat reality back with violence so that the fantasy about what was, what is, and what will be are assured of eternal non-contestation.
posted by clockzero at 4:53 PM on December 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Here's the website for Broadside Books, the Harper Collins imprint, who published this latest pile of wet waste from La Palin.

Sarah Palin by herself is a dizzy-ass housewife running around putting dents into her buckethead from the walls in her house.

Sarah Palin with a well-known publishing company's budget behind her, with stylists and media attention and book tours and big buses is what I hate far worse than she herself.

Even the village idiots have agents now.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:59 PM on December 22, 2013


Come on, responding to Palin by using "housewife" as an insult is just throwing her into her favorite briar patch. We can do better than that.
posted by No-sword at 5:09 PM on December 22, 2013 [43 favorites]


Sarah Palin by herself is a dizzy-ass housewife running around putting dents into her buckethead from the walls in her house.
What does that even mean? Calling her a "housewife" is an insult to housewives. Does anyone refer to Rick Santorum as a house-husband?

The thing that I hate the most about this War-on-Christmas bullshit is that I genuinely don't know how to take it anymore when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. Probably, they're being friendly and have no reason to suppose that I'm not Christian. But maybe they're trying to make a statement. Maybe they really are telling me to screw myself. Do Christians really not mind that your holiday greetings have been converted into hate speech?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:10 PM on December 22, 2013 [38 favorites]


The thing that I hate the most about this War-on-Christmas bullshit is that I genuinely don't know how to take it anymore when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas.

Yeah, I'm an atheist who was always happy to wish people "Merry Christmas" and happy to have it wished upon me (heck, it's Christmastime and it's nice to be Merry, regardless of your beliefs) and now I find myself thinking "If I wish that person Merry Christmas will they think I'm trying to hold a beachhead in the War On Christmas." It drives me nuts.

But I guess from the point of view of the Palins and O'Reillys of the world this is precisely the victory they wanted--if they were lefties of a certain stance they'd call it "consciousness raising." You can't not think about your stance towards "belief" when you think about Christmas now.

Still, it doesn't stop me having perfectly fun days of giving Christmas presents and decorating Christmas trees and singing Christmas carols etc. etc. with people who share my complete lack of belief in any shred of Christian theology.
posted by yoink at 5:19 PM on December 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


It's best to just assume the best. Unless people are overtly aggressive just operate as if they mean well. Life is as bit less stressful if one doesn't go looking for insult. Happiness through ignoirance .
posted by edgeways at 5:19 PM on December 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


It's best to just assume the best.

Exactly. There is no war on Christmas outside of Fox News.
posted by crossoverman at 5:22 PM on December 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


I once, without thinking, wished Karl Rove "happy holidays". I believe this makes me a Colonel in the War on Christmas.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:34 PM on December 22, 2013 [58 favorites]


But I guess from the point of view of the Palins and O'Reillys of the world this is precisely the victory they wanted--if they were lefties of a certain stance they'd call it "consciousness raising." You can't not think about your stance towards "belief" when you think about Christmas now.

That's an interesting idea, but I'm skeptical because I don't think this isn't about belief at all. I think it's about pretending to aggressively defend a cultural tradition that simply isn't under attack while actually defending a perceived right to insist, threaten and demand that society conforms to an imaginary past indefinitely. What you've said makes the same mistake their advocacy does by confusing Christmas itself with the cultural and ethnic hegemony of White, European Christians.

In their case, that's a deliberate conflation because for all their talk of "reason for the season" and such they care far less about honoring their (entirely syncretic) God and traditions than they do about ensuring that everyone pretends, on pain of being declared an enemy combatant and for the sake of the all-important Feelings of White People, that Christmas is the only religious thing one can talk about ever that exists during winter at all. It's a cultural struggle for hegemony fought by proxy through religion. It's not even remotely about belief in the religious sense.
posted by clockzero at 5:38 PM on December 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


In other news, Rush Limbaugh has a children's book out. It was the only stack of books at the Barnes and Noble that looked totally untouched and fully stocked. I'm afraid they're not coming by land or by sea to buy your book, "Rush Revere."
posted by davejay at 5:44 PM on December 22, 2013


She's a shrewd if astoundingly shallow political operator with an instinctive grasp on how to being out the worst aspects of terrible people - I wouldn't call her a "housewife" anymore than I'd call her some cutesy shit like "soccer mom".
posted by Artw at 5:46 PM on December 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hockey mom.
posted by bukvich at 5:53 PM on December 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


In their case, that's a deliberate conflation because for all their talk of "reason for the season" and such they care far less about honoring their (entirely syncretic) God and traditions than they do about ensuring that everyone pretends, on pain of being declared an enemy combatant and for the sake of the all-important Feelings of White People, that Christmas is the only religious thing one can talk about ever that exists during winter at all.

Yeah, I agree with this -- I am in fact a Christian and I do celebrate Christmas and I still think the whole idea of the "War on Christmas" is ridiculous. In fact, the idea seemed so bonkers crazy to me that I now actually am actively (I mean, kind of -- I'm pretty lazy) a part of it because I find the idea that Christmas is being "attacked" super super offensive, so offensive that it makes me want to attack Christmas or, at least, the people who are pushy about it.

Not everyone celebrates Christmas -- that is okay! You are not being judged for this! The fact that PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CHRISTIAN EXIST is not an attack on you! Claiming that there's a "War on Christmas" because some people don't celebrate it is the most insular, short-sighted thing I can imagine.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:53 PM on December 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


If there's a war on Christmas, it's not a very successful one; many stores I saw here in New York City, pantheon of liberal paganism*, had Christmas stuff before Halloween.

*My father got a non-professional masters degree from a Baptist seminary a few years ago, and we all traveled to the graduation ceremony. At one point, we were talking with some family of either a professor or another student, and my Mom mentioned I went to NYU. The other Mom said, oh, NYU! Isn't it very liberal and pagan there? I laughed because I thought she was kidding, then I realized she probably wasn't kidding.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:00 PM on December 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm an atheist and have nothing against Xmas (well, except about the Santa lies and the consumer mentality and the militant Christians...) so I have no problem with wishing anyone a "Merry Christmas!"--or at least I didn't until I found out that there's a war on and I'm not really sure if I can be Switzerland in this one.

I've found a happy medium, though, by wishing everyone a "HAPPY Christmas!" It's not so in-your-face as the dreaded "Happy Holidays!" (Translation: "Bah Humbug!") yet it isn't cookie cutter enough to be Fox News approved.

Try it--it's liberating.

Happy Christmas!
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:07 PM on December 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's interesting -- Christmas, nowadays, is almost the only occasion on which American Jews are really forcefully reminded that our way of life is nonstandard. A huge amount of most American's headspace (or so it appears from the outside) is devoted to big family get-togethers and present-giving and for us that's just not happening. I think people in Palin's camp want to make sure we don't totally forget we're not exactly "normal Americans."

I do say "Merry Christmas" to people I know to be Christian, though. And I will, next week, for the first time in years, have a traditional Christmas Day celebration. (By which I mean, I'm going out for Chinese food with a bunch of my co-religionists.)
posted by escabeche at 6:13 PM on December 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I never wish anyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holidays or anything else. But if someone wishes me a merry/happy/whatever I wish them, with common courtesy, the same in return. It's called not being an asshole...
posted by jim in austin at 6:18 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


What goes unsaid: they aren't talking about a war on Christmas in general. Megyn Kelly gave away the game (as if it needed giving away) last week. It's a war on WHITE Christmas.
posted by spitbull at 6:18 PM on December 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's a war on WHITE Christmas.

Bing Crosby fired the first shot.
posted by crossoverman at 6:42 PM on December 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Just like the ones he used to know...
posted by Artw at 6:43 PM on December 22, 2013


//It's a war on WHITE Christmas.//

That's just one battle. It's a war to preserve the white cultural majority that will cease to exist in about 30 years when us white folk officially become the minority in the county.
posted by COD at 6:45 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Artw household Santa race update: Last Christmas the kiddos had her photos with a black Santa, this year a white one... they seem pretty chill about his race-change abilities.

(Black Santa was moderately more jolly IMHO)
posted by Artw at 6:46 PM on December 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I like saying Happy Christmas because it's saying "Be happy like you were when you were a kid during the holidays and didn't have to go to school for two weeks and you got presents and stuff," something that happened to all my kid friends, too, who were mostly Jewish) and it's also celebrating the Lennon/Ono tradition of imagining Peace on Earth which would be nice if it happened, wouldn't it?
posted by kozad at 6:50 PM on December 22, 2013


I'm a Jew and I love Christmas. I exchanged early gifts with friends today. I'm dressed in green and red with elf-striped socks. I'm playing the Christmas station on Pandora. I have a little tree, admittedly one with a Yule goat and several homemade Catalan crapping manger figures. I drink egg nog. I'm planning on making some festive food for Christmas Eve. And I have probably written more about It's a Wonderful Life than any person alive.

That being said, the fact that I see it and treat it as a secular holiday probably marks me as part of the problem. Because it's not about there being a war on Christmas -- I'm not at war with the holiday. It's my favorite holiday!

It's that a small group of reactionaries are outraged that they don't get to define Christmas for everyone else.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:55 PM on December 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


This concept has been making the rounds at work. I work at an incredibly multicultural place and the number of local yokel maroons that feign insult if they hear 'happy holidays' is staggering. So willfully rude to all your coworkers during a time of year you supposedly hold peace on earth and goodwill towards humanity. Ugh.

The worst part is that they think of themselves as some sort of rebel freedom fighters.
posted by ian1977 at 7:07 PM on December 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I genuinely don't know how to take it anymore when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. Probably, they're being friendly and have no reason to suppose that I'm not Christian. But maybe they're trying to make a statement. Maybe they really are telling me to screw myself

Look at it this way: since, in most instances when you have "Merry Christmas" wished upon you, it doesn't really matter what they intend; and since, in many instances when someone wishes "Merry Christmas" on you, you'll never encounter that person again, you're pretty free to imagine that it means anything you want it to mean.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:09 PM on December 22, 2013


Tho' if I did wish someone a "Happy Holidays"—something which I have been known to do—and they made a face or feigned insult, then I think I'd just say "Then don't have a happy holiday, Scrooge. It's no skin off my nose."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:14 PM on December 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I once, without thinking, wished Karl Rove "happy holidays".

Rove's an atheist. He probably didn't even notice.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:17 PM on December 22, 2013


I'm a Jew and I love Christmas.

I think that's great! I have several Jewish friends who feel the same way. I also think that part of the issue is that that needs to be your choice -- I'm pretty happy for you to enjoy Christmas but I don't think that, especially as part of a majority, I get to tell you that Christmas can be fun for everyone. I mean, I kind of think that the secular version of Christmas can be for everyone if you want it to, and I'm glad it's good for you (sorry if that sounded sarcastic -- it's not! I really am glad!), but if a Christian tells someone of another religion "but Christmas is for everybody!" then I also think you're well within your rights to be like, "Um, no, it's not. I am not doing that."
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:25 PM on December 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wish people a Happy Christmas, primarily because saying Merry Christmas feels wrong without a hand bell.
posted by arcticseal at 7:33 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate Christmas, but calling it Crassmas really hasn't caught on the way I always hoped.
posted by Mezentian at 7:36 PM on December 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


One of the odder experiences in my life was being asked (with my then wife) to go out to a Christmas eve service at a Unitarian church by a nice lesbian couple who lived in an apartment building I managed at that time. What the heck, I hadn't done that in 20 years... So we went!

All seemed to be well in the world, and we returned home after the midnight service. Then the more, ah, intense? of the two ladies who'd taken us started to complain about the service. Her beef? They had kept mentioning Christianity.

I'm someplace between agnostic and non-missionary atheist.

I still really don't know how to take that...
posted by bert2368 at 7:42 PM on December 22, 2013


(Small derail, but I just heard second hand of a sort of Jewish Christmas, with a name that sounded like Chrastmas, which is basically reclaiming some sort of sort of holiday wherein the Christians us to head out at the Happiest Time Of The YearTM for a jolly game of hunt the Jew. As it was told to me, parts of the Jewish community are taking the time of the year and some of the Christmas trappings, like Turkey -- but no gifts, sorta what like some of the Asian nations do around Christmas. Any idea what I am talking about..? Because I am all for any new front in the War On Christmas).

Incidentally, I am now looking at the Amazon Reviews. They seem to be split evenly between 5-star and 1-star.
Is that a metaphor for American politics?
posted by Mezentian at 7:44 PM on December 22, 2013


My favourite 5-star review in part:
Finally! At long last someone has said what has needed to be said. One brave soul has trumpeted it from the rooftops. Forget about the Iraq War with their hundreds of thousands of innocents dead. Remove your mind from worrisome drone strikes hitting children and families in Afghanistan. Our returning soldiers--battered, maimed, wounded in every human way possible, and now, most likely jobless, could not have returned from a more glorious conflict than the War on Christmas. This annual melee, swift on the heels of the Satanic orgy of demon-worship and candy corn that is Halloween, should be front and center on the radar of every God-loving, red-blooded American. While women line up for their holiday abortions and those godless gays don their stylish gay apparel, Mrs. Palin has reminded us that the fight for Christmas is the fight for our very souls. As the Pilgrims exchanged gifts with the Indians, as Paul Revere rode up and down that night to warn us of the British plans to take our guns and Christmas trees, and as Ronald Reagan reminded the Soviets when he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, it's 'Merry Christmas!", so we must take a stand against the liberazis who intend to topple the entire edifice of Western Civilization through their insistence on wishing one and all a "Happy Holiday."

Nailed it.
posted by Mezentian at 7:46 PM on December 22, 2013 [22 favorites]


One more:
Having lost my left eye in the First War on Christmas, it takes me a while to get through books. It took me even longer than normal to get through this one, however, because of the post traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks that it inspired. Picture yourself in my shoes, there on the battlefields of the Paramus Mall, the mist rising off the fields that but days before were fertile farmland, now smoldering in the aftermath of egg nog bombs and fruitcake.
What's that sound? Incoming peppermint strike!


I'll stop now.
Promise.
posted by Mezentian at 7:52 PM on December 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


My one snotty uncle (he thinks he's high-bred, or something) likes to say "Merry CHRISTmas" with the sneer and portent of Ted Knight dissing Rodney Dangerfield. He also likes to cite Drudge Report when spouting his talking points. My usual response is "Whatever, dude," and my wife actually has replied, "Merry fucking christmas, Uncle Rich."

I think this year, I'll respond with a hearty "Good Tidings and Great Joy!" and see if he gets the sarcasm.
posted by notsnot at 7:57 PM on December 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I usually say "Have a nice holiday" because most people get at least one day off in the next week and when I say "Happy Holidays" I sound glib. On the rare occasions when I've gotten a sneer about the sin of saying "holiday" instead of Christmas, I have sometimes delivered a loud sermon on what it was like growing up Christian in a majority Jewish town and how sometimes I felt really left out and how people were always very kind about accommodating my family's different religious needs and so why do you think that as a member of the majority religion you should be UNKIND and UNINCLUSIVE during Christmas? Or, I ask, do you just like it when little children feel left out, when there's no room at the Inn for them?

A couple people have said, That's a good point. But mostly people stand there dumbstruck and then scurry away and I call after them, Now you have a real nice holiday, okay?

I have Feelings on this issue.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:08 PM on December 22, 2013 [24 favorites]


I love everything about Christmas except belief in the divinity of Jesus.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:26 PM on December 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


People have been saying "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings" since long before any of us were born. How anybody could argue that there's something nefarious about these phrases, as if they were invented by hippies or feminists or are somehow a product of "political correctness" is beyond me. People have ALWAYS said these things.

If anything, I would expect only young people to buy into these arguments, because maybe they don't realize that these expressions have always existed. But the cranky old people who watch FOX News and adore Palin should know better.
posted by Max Udargo at 8:35 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, I wonder what those waging the war on Christmas would make of my first ever family Christmas lunch which includes four Jews, three non-Church-going Catholics, prawns, a bacon stuffed turkey and a kosher roast chicken.
posted by prettypretty at 8:44 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please keep in mind that Christmastide does not begin until Dec. 25. We are currently in Advent, a time when the traditional Christian liturgical calender calls Christians to think about the anticipation of Jesus' coming into the world. Interestingly, the tradition uses this as a time to remember both baby Jesus and the second coming of Jesus. So, if you meet a Christian in the next few days be sure to show respect for their faith by greeting them with a hearty...

"Happy Advent! When the second bowl is poured out the seas will be turned to blood!"

Pull this on an Anglican and he'll probably buy you a beer.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:49 PM on December 22, 2013 [36 favorites]


I always thought the War on Christmas was part of the Left's Politically Correct Crusade in the UK, as part of the wider Muslim War On The West.

I should probably stop reading the Daily Mail.
It's seems there's an attempted coup in South NurseryRhymville and Mother Goose is in retreat. And the chick from TOWIE got her knockers out.
posted by Mezentian at 8:52 PM on December 22, 2013


I always figured it was just laziness- Christmas is coming up, New Years is pretty soon after, I can just mush them together instead of having to mention them both.

Also, reading this thread, the word 'merry' is starting to kind of weird me out. We don't actually use it for anything other than Christmas, do we? Which maybe has something to do with peoples' irrational fear of its absence?
posted by hap_hazard at 8:53 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Merry, Nebraska has paused its merry-making to frown at you.

(Clearly, this is part of the Gay Agenda to remove all words akin to happiness for.... *flips Illuminati card* the Rand Corporation to *flips card* allow the Reverse Vampires control of the *flips card* Valentine's Day rose trade.)
posted by Mezentian at 8:56 PM on December 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


On Facebook today I floated the idea of wishing everyone a cosmic holiday, which so far has not gone over with certain of my more conservative relatives.
posted by vverse23 at 9:04 PM on December 22, 2013


Azathoth is the reason for the season!

Christmas lunch is a metaphor for Shub-Niggurath devouring US.

*gibber*
posted by Mezentian at 9:07 PM on December 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of my saddest adult realisations about my family was that they weren't conservative, narrow mind Liberals in an ironic way - they are serious about their bigotry. My mum - the child of immigrants who thinks "boat people" should stop "queue jumping" also has strong feelings about stupid PC inclusive language. She was organising her office's end of year shindig, which she describes as the "Christmas Party". One non Christian declined to attend because something about not celebrating Christmas, and my mum was all strident about it, how rude etc. And I said to her, but your workplace is crazy multicultural, don't you WANT to be inclusive? Isn't everyone welcome? Would it be so terrible for everyone to feel included? And she was deadly serious: no. This is CHRISTMAS (And everyone else can fuck off). So this isn't some kind of mythical right wing other who thinks this nonsense is a thing.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 9:29 PM on December 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Kaleidoscope... that sounds like Modern Australia.
Modern Australia is drunk.

no. This is CHRISTMAS (And everyone else can fuck off)

Now there's a Christmas Carol I could get behind. Almost.
posted by Mezentian at 10:16 PM on December 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now there's a Christmas Carol I could get behind. Almost.

Merry Fucking Christmas!
posted by Shmuel510 at 10:24 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sarah Palin is a grifter.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:16 PM on December 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


escabeche, you can come to my house. We have friends over on Christmas Eve to eat Middle Eastern food and get tipsy. I'm Heathen, and have introduced my friends to the Toast and Boast. The two Jewish folks in our cohort are some pretty masterful toasters, and have a lot of fun with my weird family.
posted by MissySedai at 11:18 PM on December 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


2000 words spent histrionically trashing someone who's about as relevant as the Wii Fit at this point. Dan Savage, you sure know how to pick 'em, don't'cha?
posted by blucevalo at 11:34 PM on December 22, 2013


2000 words spent histrionically trashing someone who's about as relevant as the Wii Fit at this point

Hey, look, it's The Grinch.
Sarah Palin is the pointy person for $X, and is the voice of $Y.

I'm a bit full of Life Day cheer, but Palin is sadly relevant to too many people, hence she is with a major publisher.
posted by Mezentian at 11:43 PM on December 22, 2013


I'm ok with trashing Palin at every opportunity and whenever she sticks her pit bull nose out of her own house.
posted by spitbull at 4:59 AM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Since losing the election and resigning as governor, Palin has turned into one of the right's primary propagandists. She coined "death panels," supported the nascent tea party, gave us "mama grizzlies," and put Gabrielle Giffords in crosshairs.

We minimize her relevancy at our own hazard.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:14 AM on December 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm an atheist who was always happy to wish people "Merry Christmas" and happy to have it wished upon me (heck, it's Christmastime and it's nice to be Merry, regardless of your beliefs) and now I find myself thinking "If I wish that person Merry Christmas will they think I'm trying to hold a beachhead in the War On Christmas." It drives me nuts.

I have the same thing, except that I say "Happy Holidays" unless I know the person is Christian. I hate how politicized this has become, though, because I'm kind of getting aggressive in the other direction. I have an immediate, negative response to people talking about how Jesus is the Reason for the Season even when they are being perfectly sincere and appropriate.

The other week I was at church, and during the homily the priest encouraged us to remember that Christmas is really supposed to be all about Jesus and what the Incarnation means for us Christians. I'm a little ashamed that my gut reaction was "Oh, for fuck's sake, even in church I have to hear this politicized nonsense!" before I remembered that church is a perfectly appropriate place for Christians to talk about a Christian holiday.
posted by gauche at 5:26 AM on December 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


Since losing the election and resigning as governor, Palin has turned into one of the right's primary propagandists. She coined "death panels," supported the nascent tea party, gave us "mama grizzlies," and put Gabrielle Giffords in crosshairs.

We minimize her relevancy at our own hazard.


Yeah, but all those things happened years ago. I can't really think of anything she did recently that had a major impact. Heck, she was even dropped from Fox and then brought back and most people probably didn't even notice.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 5:33 AM on December 23, 2013


Please keep in mind that Christmastide does not begin until Dec. 25. We are currently in Advent, a time when the traditional Christian liturgical calender calls Christians to think about the anticipation of Jesus' coming into the world. Interestingly, the tradition uses this as a time to remember both baby Jesus and the second coming of Jesus. So, if you meet a Christian in the next few days be sure to show respect for their faith by greeting them with a hearty...

I think it's telling that Christmas warriors object to non-believers both celebrating and not-celebrating but not Black Friday or the use of holiday symbols to sell consumer debt.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:50 AM on December 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


2000 words spent histrionically trashing someone who's about as relevant as the Wii Fit at this point My Wii fit is still useful.

Sarah Palin is an attention-monger. Why contribute? Though I'm curious about Palin bragging about her tits and how buying a gun is an act of civil disobedience. Did she buy a gun illegally, if that's even possible at this point? Her new book is a tax on stupid people, including the publisher.
posted by theora55 at 7:01 AM on December 23, 2013


It's hard to imagine an easier target than Sarah Palin. I'm no fan of Ms. Palin, but I'm not a fan of Dan Savage, either, and while the linked article is mildly entertaining, it's hardly a revelation that Palin is a kook.

Dan Savage could try a little harder, I think.
posted by math at 8:22 AM on December 23, 2013


You can make the day more Jesusy of you wish people "Joseph and Mary Jesus Christmas. "
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:52 AM on December 23, 2013


This: "The other vision is a secular winter festival, which launches on Black Friday and ends sometime after Kwanzaa. People who hold Christmas in contempt believe the holiday can be 'saved' from its religious heritage. The secular vision wants the 'peace' and the 'goodwill toward men' without the miracle of the Virgin Birth—forgetting, of course, that there is no ultimate peace apart from Christ, and it is Christ who empowers every act of 'goodwill toward men' in our otherwise fallen hearts." (quoted by Savage from Palin's book)

Does not jive with this: Sarah surprised Todd with a "nice, needed, powerful gun" for Christmas in 2012. It was a "small act of civil disobedience," Palin writes, prompted by "the anti-gun chatter coming from Washington."

The above is the Palin level version of those "Keep the Christ in Christmas" signs that pop up on front lawns and as magnets on cars. For some reason, this particular example of cognitive dissonance (the consumerism used to spread a religious idea) drives me batty.

"Happy Advent! When the second bowl is poured out the seas will be turned to blood!"

I am so using this as a greeting to my Roman Catholic Priest brother-in-law next Advent.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 9:35 AM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Happy federal holiday! That's what I've taken to saying. Because love or hate xmas (oh no, he wrote xmas!), everyone loves a day off.
posted by GrapeApiary at 10:03 AM on December 23, 2013


I have found that the stock response "Why thank you, and the same to you and your family as well!" works equally well in reply to "Merry Christmas", "Happy Holidays", or "Go F*** Yourself".
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:10 AM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Happy Saturnalia, everyone! Remember, the god of wealth and agriculture is the Reason for the Season!

or

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone! Remember, the earth's axial tilt is the Reason for the Season!

can't quite decide
posted by echo target at 10:19 AM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who holds Christmas in contempt? Who? Where are these people?

Puritans, historically. And these people, it would seem.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2013


Oh, it's axial tilt all the way. I don't much so mind "Christmas should be more about Jesus than presents", but when they say "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" I want to kill. The season is Winter, and it is cold and dark, and the reason it is cold and dark is because the part of the Earth where we live is tilted away from the sun right now. (apologies to Australia and Argentina.).

"Jesus is the Reason for the Season" is just wrong. It belongs in debates over which Martian hemisphere St. Augustine was born in. If you say it you should have to go sit in a corner for 15 minutes, thinking about it. Grrrr.

Merry Christmas Everyone!
posted by benito.strauss at 11:06 AM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Saints Row 4 put out "How the Saints Save Christmas" in which there's swearing, violence, ginger bread men armed with energy weapons, multiple gunfights through the toy making shops at the North Pole, and you get to drive a black metal version of Santa's sleigh called Slayer.
So, there's a small something to be said for the season, anyways.
I'm not sure if that all dovetails with the spirit of the thing (I suspect not), but shooting elves in the head is pretty fun.
posted by Zack_Replica at 11:34 AM on December 23, 2013


Puritans, historically. And these people, it would seem.

And a certain percentage of Christians.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:28 PM on December 23, 2013


It really does take two to play. I don’t participate in any cultural war nonsense either way. Happy Holidays to you and yours.
posted by bongo_x at 12:44 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess it struck a chord with somebody:

Dear Editor:

Why would you publish such a foul-mouthed and hateful piece as that written by Dan Savage, "Good Grief and Great Tits"? Giving voice to radical opinions from any political persuasion is to be praised. Publishing material where profanity, death wishes, abuse of the Lord's Name and anti-Semitic comments are the best tools of the "writer" dishonors you like smeared lipstick on a whore.

Is Mr. Savage's juvenile rant representative of the content and views of your publication? Is THIS how you want to be defined? Really? I have never heard of your publication and now I know why.

As for Mr. Savage's wishes for the death of Sarah Palin, and his obvious disdain for Christians and Jews, well..par for the course for such a juvenile hack as Mr. Savage and, apparently, par for the course for a rag such as the Stranger.

Have a blessed day.

Rick

posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


It really does take two to play. I don’t participate in any cultural war nonsense either way. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

As much as I'd like to agree, I do worry about whether the yearly invitation is going to be tainted by the yearly propaganda campaign painting me as unreasonably offended.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:59 PM on December 23, 2013


Happy Hogswatch one and all.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:01 PM on December 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I (atheist, raised Christian) worked in retail during college, at a small local shop that didn't have an official policy on how to greet customers. I used "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" pretty interchangeably, because it was something I just hadn't really ever given much thought. One day, I said "Merry Christmas" to a customer, and she thanked me for saying it and went on this epic rant about how everyone's too scared to say it anymore and how glad she was that I was the sort of person who would stand up to all that "Happy Holidays" garbage, and blahblahblah. I stopped saying "Merry Christmas" to strangers starting that day, because damned if I was going to give nasty people like that woman any reinforcement or be mistaken for that sort of person.
posted by naoko at 10:15 PM on December 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


I stopped saying "Merry Christmas" to strangers starting that day, because damned if I was going to give nasty people like that woman any reinforcement or be mistaken for that sort of person.

Or you could have just said "I don’t really care either way" and not let someone force you to change because of their beliefs. I’m not chastising you, I’m just saying there are alternatives. If you let other people define the rules and play along you’ve already lost.
posted by bongo_x at 10:31 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rick...
Rick ....
Rick....
RICK!
SARAH PALIN'S ON THE NEWS, RICK.

oh wait, that's Tina Fey
posted by Mezentian at 12:47 AM on December 24, 2013


bongo_x: "Or you could have just said "I don’t really care either way" and not let someone force you to change because of their beliefs."

But what if I do care? I believe in peace on earth and goodwill towards all, regardless of what they do or don't believe spiritually or religiously. Because of this, I choose not to use a phrase that's meant to be a greeting but which some people are increasingly using as an attack against others.

If it becomes clear that enough people interpret something I say as a dogwhistle phrase indicating that I share a belief I not only don't share but find morally wrong, I'm quite likely going to stop saying it. I don't want either the people who do share the belief or the people who don't share the belief to think I believe it if I don't.

It's a pity. Christmas was one of my favorite holidays as a kid. But whatever remnants of my enthusiasm for it hadn't been stifled by the increasingly consumeristic nature of the holiday got crushed under the bogus "War on Christmas" steamroller.
posted by Lexica at 10:06 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Murdoch and Ailes thank you for your cooperation. A divided lower class benefits the most wealthy. Their plan is proceeding with nary a hitch.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:19 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Murdoch and Ailes thank you for your cooperation. A divided lower class benefits the most wealthy. Their plan is proceeding with nary a hitch.

Exactly. "But they’re making me take sides" doesn’t change anything, that’s is the plan.
posted by bongo_x at 2:19 PM on December 24, 2013


Or you could have just said "I don’t really care either way" and not let someone force you to change because of their beliefs. I’m not chastising you, I’m just saying there are alternatives. If you let other people define the rules and play along you’ve already lost.

Well, in that particular instance, sure, but because of that incident I actually started giving some thought to how to greet people around the holidays (rather than doing it mindlessly) and I decided that with strangers "happy holidays" is the appropriate thing to say, because it doesn't make anyone feel excluded - except for assholes.
posted by naoko at 3:46 PM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


At Christmas lunch today, I mentioned how to many of my friends, saying 'Merry Christmas' was the standard, even though they weren't Christian. In its way, Christmas was seen as a secular time of year, divorced from all its religious trappings into something more akin to Thanksgiving than a religious festival. But we also don't have anything like the alleged War on Christmas here, something even my conservative Catholic parents scoff at.

Still, in talking about this I suggested that those so vehement about the importance of saying 'Merry Christmas' over anything else were acting as if every time someone said 'Happy Holidays' an angel died. No more than a minute later, the head of a decorative centrepiece angel had completely detached from its body. So my work there was done.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:54 AM on December 25, 2013


H.P. Lovecraft, "The Festival":
It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:15 PM on December 25, 2013 [1 favorite]




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