Taking the Christ out of Christmas
December 30, 2004 7:12 AM   Subscribe

article and feedback here i can't believe how politically correct Christmas became this year. Some stores sent out memos telling their employees not to say Merry Xmas but to say Happy Holidays and because of that you have some right wing religious nuts boycotting these stores and complaining on the radio. I personally think they are both wrong. the real religion for the stores is the dollar anyway. And if you waste your valuable time trying calling radio stations and picketing stores then you obviously have way too much time on your hands. just relax people and stop being brainwashed. this link is to a feedback forum where a reader complained about the usage of xmas as opposed to christmas in a headline. the editors explain that xmas is actually still a very religious term. link here
posted by hpsell (64 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Please refer to your metafilter user manual for proper operation of the metafilter



 
Oh, man, Seth is going to hate this.
posted by eriko at 7:14 AM on December 30, 2004


[bad bad bad]
posted by Mid at 7:16 AM on December 30, 2004


Is anyone going to like it?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:17 AM on December 30, 2004


Make this go away, fast. Please?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:18 AM on December 30, 2004


*choke*
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:20 AM on December 30, 2004


Wow. The bad grammar/style is just the tip of the iceberg--I can't even tell what you're trying to say here. And I'll leave the snarking on the value of the link (same one posted twice!) to someone much more crotchety than I.

Um, well, I'm not sure if this is what you mean by, "I personally think they are both wrong. the real religion for the stores is the dollar anyway", but my feeling on this is that feeling oppressed because a merchant has made a business decision to not alienate Jewish/Muslim/atheist/satanist customers is just stupid. The "reason for the season," as far as retail is concerned, is equal-opportunity spending.
posted by availablelight at 7:21 AM on December 30, 2004


I'm not going to make fun of you because I strongly suspect that you're retarded.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:26 AM on December 30, 2004


i didnt mean to ruffle any feathers. i am simply amazed that a person would actually write a note to complain about the usage of Xmas instead of Christmas in a headline.

I was amused to learn that Xmas still had religious connotations to it thus making the readers complaint null.

ill try to do better with the grammar
posted by hpsell at 7:27 AM on December 30, 2004


Worst FPP ever.

For so many reasons: a) we've talked about this issue ad nauseam already; b) the link goes to something that is hardly "the best of the Web" or even "the decent of the Web"; c) the post itself is confused and makes no sense; d) it's written thoughtlessly and with no regard for style, presentation, or even coherence; and e) it includes the phrase "politically correct", which is in my mind the linguistic equivalent of goatse.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:28 AM on December 30, 2004



posted by mosch at 7:28 AM on December 30, 2004


I thought Seth went over the top on MeTa. Then I read this post.
posted by chundo at 7:29 AM on December 30, 2004


Oh man, I followed the link, just to be a sport, and I couldn't even find what you were talking about, even though, as Sidhedevil points out, we've already talked about it several times this joyous season. Good or bad, an FPP requires more care than this.
posted by OmieWise at 7:32 AM on December 30, 2004


Seth, is this you sneakily proving your point?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:32 AM on December 30, 2004


Okay. That's enough "this is a bad post" comments right? Someone e-mail Matt, but go ahead and leave the thread alone. Just my opinion, of course.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:32 AM on December 30, 2004


X on a bike.
posted by seanyboy at 7:33 AM on December 30, 2004


hpsell, a lot more people are going to come into this thread and insult you, so I am going to do the opposite, because it's kind of fun:

This is one of the BEST front page posts I've ever seen on MetaFilter!! I look forward to more of your witticisms and keen insight!! Welcome to the internet, friend!
posted by naxosaxur at 7:33 AM on December 30, 2004


wow. didnt realize the ruckus this would cause. for those of you cant find the relevance in the link it i s posted below.


Rumsfeld Pays Surprise Xmas Visit to Troops in Iraq

It is unfortunate that recent heading of Rumsfeld's trip to Iraq included the term Xmas. Reuters stock went down in my portfolio. If you disparaged any other world religion as you have Christianity the uproar would be large. I'm sure you're taking the Christ out of Christmas, the very reason for the holiday, will probably hardly be recognized. Too bad.

Very Disappointed

Every December, when we sometimes use Xmas in headlines because it is much shorter than Christmas, we get complaints from readers accusing us of taking Christ out of Christmas. This is not our intention, of course. To quote from dictionary.com:

“ [From X , the Greek letter chi, first letter of Greek Khr stos , Christ. See Christ.]

Usage Note: Xmas has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents a Greek chi, the first letter of...“Christ.”. In this use it is parallel to other forms like Xtian, “Christian.” But people unaware of the Greek origin of this X often mistakenly interpret Xmas as an informal shortening..... Many therefore frown upon the term Xmas because it seems to them a commercial convenience that omits Christ from Christmas.”
posted by hpsell at 7:36 AM on December 30, 2004


hpsell: do so, with the grammar and all. And chin up!

A better post might have linked to a few other sources for etymology or usage of "xmas", or in some other way explored the meaty tangents of the issue. It's all about interesting (and ideally plural) linkage, presented well.
posted by cortex at 7:36 AM on December 30, 2004


PST, where's the fun in that?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:37 AM on December 30, 2004


More detail on the usage of Xmas from Wikipedia. See also the Chi-Ro page from the Book of Kells.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:37 AM on December 30, 2004


I love you mosch.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:40 AM on December 30, 2004


I have always been a passionate advocate of free speech. I'm reviewing my position.
posted by Cancergiggles at 7:41 AM on December 30, 2004


Yeah, since this specific FPP will hopefully get pulled down soon, I'll save my observations on the changing secular nature of Christmas for the next, better edited version...
posted by LairBob at 7:41 AM on December 30, 2004


what
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:44 AM on December 30, 2004


Ecchh...this again? BTW, does anybody have any of these so called "memos" for ALL of those evil pagan companies, or do they only exist as capitalist sugarplums in republican heads?
posted by rzklkng at 7:46 AM on December 30, 2004


It seems a few Christians are upset that non-Christians feel they can be more open about the fact that they aren't Christian. This salutation issue is the tip of a growing culture war as "traditional" Americans begin to realize the face of their nation is changing, both racially and culturally.
posted by fleener at 7:50 AM on December 30, 2004


So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny and the Battle for Religious Freedom

Author: Alabama Chief Justice Ray Moore
posted by orange clock at 7:53 AM on December 30, 2004


I bet 99% of the rationale for changing Christmas to Xmas was for sizing of the article title for PRINT LAYOUT. Arg.

anyways i prefer to wish people a happy xmas without using any punctuation or pauses in my diction so it sounds like i am mumbling and therefore no one can fault me for my religious or unreligious leanings because they cant understand a word i as saying
posted by tpl1212 at 8:00 AM on December 30, 2004


PST, I thought about not posting something, but then I thought it would be better to a) indicate my annoyance, and b) give hpsell some reasons why I found the post annoying.

However, mosch wins.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:05 AM on December 30, 2004


Oh, and hpsell? Another thing I should have mentioned is that the FPP isn't the place for a lengthy airing of your own personal views of the matter in question. That's supposed to go in the first comment, if anywhere.

To me, this might possibly have worked if you had approached it something like this:

[link]Reuters' readers weigh in[/link] on the "Xmas" debate their [link]feedback forum[/i]. They seem less annoyed than the folks at [link to an editorial that was all up in arms about "Xmas"], but less informed than [link to an article about how "X" has been a shorthand for "Christ" since the late Roman Empire].

Then, you could have used the first comment as a mini-editorial for your own take on the issue.

I still might have felt that we had already covered this ground way too many times, but it would have felt more like a reasonable post to me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:11 AM on December 30, 2004


I'm sorry sir, but i belive you have mistaken Metafilter for your own blog...
posted by Dreamghost at 8:13 AM on December 30, 2004


Please note that I have read all of your comments and will try to do better when I attempt a second post.

Live and learn.
posted by hpsell at 8:27 AM on December 30, 2004


"X" has been a shorthand for "Christ" since the late Roman Empire.

I thought God was 7, not 10.
posted by psmealey at 8:32 AM on December 30, 2004


hpsell is a good sport.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:38 AM on December 30, 2004


Can I just give Kudos to us all for handling this in such a calm and supportive manner? Sidhedevil, especially, for a fine example of what would have saved this post. I just want to give all of you a great big hug!

(Oh, and mosch wins.)

On preview, psmealey is right.
Malcom is 10.
posted by Floydd at 8:38 AM on December 30, 2004


hpsell, good on your for being a good sport.

everybody else, sweeeeet pile on!!!! Your grammar suXXors and here, let me help you rewrite your post. Also, goatse.cx.
posted by zpousman at 8:40 AM on December 30, 2004


Merry VIImas.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:44 AM on December 30, 2004


hpsell is a good sport.

Absolutely. Hpsell, stick around for a while, get a better sense of what a post is expected to look like, read MetaTalk (with perhaps some strong drink at hand), and post again. In the meantime, please comment! Thanks for being such a good sport, as has been said, given that criticism of supposed substandard FPPs is usually quite harsh. Sometimes the fidelity of the poster's mother is called into question.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:47 AM on December 30, 2004


hpsell, I liked the link a lot. I just spent 45 minutes reading pretty much the entire page, and there is some comedy to be had there. I especially like the cheerful way the editors have to admit that somebody wasn't paying enough attention.
posted by dammitjim at 8:50 AM on December 30, 2004


The post sucks.

Snopes has had a bit on the Xmas thing for a while.

I'm an atheist but this year I sent out Christmas cards with a cute nativity scene on the front; I think it threw off a lot of my friends.
posted by aerify at 8:57 AM on December 30, 2004


Ok, maybe not the greatest post but not the most thoughtful response either IMHO.

i can't believe how politically correct Christmas became this year


I can believe it just fine, very typical of our times and you can expect more next year. I agree, it's pretty obvious the dollar is what's determining retailer's and just about everyone else's behaviour in this way and all others. That's how it is. When there is general disagreement about just about everything including something as basic as religious belief, or at least general religious tolerance, all that's left to form a cohesive society around is a) money and b) secular law and I think for the most part I have these in correct priority order. You can expect companies and many individuals to think about money first, then to consider any legal aspects of whatever they're doing. Consider the litigous nature of American society, after respect for money the legal system is the only thing everyone believes in apparently.

Now some might say love of country matters too, but I'd like to know what that might mean outside of religious tolerance, which I don't see a lot of here on MeFi, and a) and b).

Anyhow re. the post, I'll add one simple complaint: eveyone I know religious or secular is about Christmased out by now, probably time to move on.
posted by scheptech at 9:07 AM on December 30, 2004


It's almost Easter isn't it?
posted by Cancergiggles at 9:09 AM on December 30, 2004


I thought God was 7, not 10.
Pixies, psmealey?

I thought it was:
7 7 for no tomorrow and
8 8 I forget what 8 was for and
9 9 9 for a lost god and
10 10 10 10 for everything
everything everything everything
/violent femmes
posted by WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot at 9:09 AM on December 30, 2004


Three more criticisms, since you clearly are receptive to amelioration:

1. Reuters links are old, tired, and lazy. If you are really wetting yourself to put a reuters link on metafilter, at least do some background research and add more succulent links to your fpp. Posting a solitary link to reuters is careless and almost flippant.

2. Thie topic you chose has been recently and frequently discussed on metafilter. Although this may not literally be a double-post, you clearly didn't search before you posted your link.

3. Christmas is over. Take the tree down already, gramps.
posted by naxosaxur at 9:15 AM on December 30, 2004


America is Jesus!


posted by orange clock at 9:19 AM on December 30, 2004


[this is horrible]
posted by designbot at 9:27 AM on December 30, 2004


:-)
posted by psmealey at 9:33 AM on December 30, 2004


Oh timeliness...

I do appreciate the two links to the same page though. That was verrrrrry helpful.

Blah.
posted by AspectRatio at 9:35 AM on December 30, 2004


*sigh* is it amusing that some of the criticism reflect the problem inherent in the criticisms themselves? Very... meta-? I know comments are not FPPs and so things are more relaxed... but ok, I think the poster got the message the first few times eh?

btw. Look for a Christmas constitutional amendment coming soon from the government near you.
posted by edgeways at 9:37 AM on December 30, 2004


Please.

Let's not give Christians any more reason to feed their martyr complex any more than is avoidable.
posted by randomstriker at 9:46 AM on December 30, 2004


This is shaping up into one of the most curious of threads. A terrible FPP followed by a pretty generally polite and civil discussion of its failings.

I suppose it was inevitable though its not unwelcome.
posted by fenriq at 9:52 AM on December 30, 2004


Please don't hug MetaFilter without prior consent.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:55 AM on December 30, 2004


I just came back to this - fenriq - you called the thread curious but I really thought I was in the wrong place.

Is it possible that this amount of nice could end up in one place as a random event?
posted by Cancergiggles at 10:00 AM on December 30, 2004


"and if Xmas is sick,
this BLOG is heaven!
this BLOG is heaven!
this BLOG is heaven!"


(with apologies to black francis, psmealey, et al.)
posted by joe lisboa at 10:01 AM on December 30, 2004


"Jesus H. friggin' X on a crutch!" just doesn't have the same ring. Seriously, hpsell, keep posting - but, use other posts as a model.
posted by FormlessOne at 10:13 AM on December 30, 2004


"Is it possible that this amount of nice could end up in one place as a random event?"

Fuck you all, you dimwitted globs of putrescent, misbegotten offal.

Whoa! Looks like the gambler's fallacy is actually true.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:14 AM on December 30, 2004


Thanks EB - that's much better
posted by Cancergiggles at 10:22 AM on December 30, 2004


I like the idea of the post, hpsell. There does seem to be more right-wing anger this year than in previous about the happy holidays/merry xmas thing. The editorial pages of my favorite newspaper is littered with letters from the left and right about this. I honestly didn't know what made this such a big issue this year, was it the election, grassroots/astroturf efforts by the right, company policy? Thanks for the link.

Now the tough love, the problem is that with posts that can possibly turn into flamewars, you have to be very careful in how you write it. For instance, you have to have a great deal of information and make every effort possible to prevent the thread from going sour. Naturally, this advice is moot because all threads (not all posts) about religion/politics are going to be bad is just inherent.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:26 AM on December 30, 2004


I know comments are not FPPs and so things are more relaxed... but ok, I think the poster got the message the first few times eh?

But what else is naxosaxur qualified for? It can't even get 3rd-grade sarcasm right.

At least sidhedevil tried to be nice and gave useful advice.
posted by davy at 10:35 AM on December 30, 2004


"Piss off, you ungrateful snobs!"
posted by fandango_matt at 10:35 AM on December 30, 2004


I thought seth was overreacting too, but this does come off as not meeting metafilter community standards. Although psmealey et al basically saved it with the proper generational references ...
posted by mdn at 10:55 AM on December 30, 2004


MetaTalk.
posted by languagehat at 11:04 AM on December 30, 2004


davy: Are you trying to say something? Because once again, your words are impotent and flaccid. Take that any way you want.
posted by naxosaxur at 11:05 AM on December 30, 2004


Easter is cancelled.
posted by 2sheets at 11:14 AM on December 30, 2004


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