Friday, December 09, 2005

I'll furnish the war on Christmas.

In 1898, publisher William Randolph Hearst sent Fredric Remington to Cuba to cover the Spanish-American War as an artist/correspondent. According to legend, when Remington complained there wasn'’t any war, Hurst cabled him, "“You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war." Hurst wanted a war not because he had some principled geopolitical philosophy. He wanted to sell media. It's only business.

Bill O'Reilley wants to sell media, too, and if it requires a war, he'll furnish it. In this case, he has declared that there is a war against Christmas in America. If you think that Christmas is in jeopardy, not only have you drawn the wrong conclusion, but you're too deluded to draw your own bath. There can hardly be imagined anything as secure as the place of Christmas in the hearts of Americans.

To the extent that there is a problem, it is entirely a creation of some right wing nuts. These folks will say or do anything for money. That is why they are whores. If it means driving a wedge between Christians and non-Christians, hey, don't take it personal. It'’s only business.

But what if ...…

What if there really were a war against Christmas? Who would be on the other side? The number one example of the war on Christmas that is given by O'’Reilley and others is that greeters in Macy's say, "Happy Holidays"” instead of a less inclusive salutation. At the start of the 20th Century, Macy's was owned by Nathan Strauss, the famous Jewish philanthropist. Since then, the owners of Macy's have made a lot of money catering to Christmas shoppers.

Look, I am all in favor of making fun of right wing stupidity, and taking an idea to absurd extremes is a time-tested technique of comedy. But we are dealing here with absurd extremists, and that's nothing to laugh about. In the past, Non-Christians suffered greivously on account of false accusations that they have undermined Christian institutions, which accusations were made on the far right.

And what are the putative enemies of Christmas allegedly seeking to replace it with? The imagined enemies of Christmas can't be imagined to propose no substitute for Christmas, because Christmas is too good for business. Christmas couldn't be replaced by Kwansa because people who celebrate Kwansa also celebrate Christmas, and probably at a higher rate than any group of Americans of their size or larger. So, I am thinking that what the imagined enemies of Christmas must want is to instill Chanukah in the hearts and minds of Americans, and this is what scares the b'jeezus out of Bill O'Reilly.

It should scare them, too. Chanukah celebrates religious freedom. It is the story of the few who chafed under the repressive measures of the many, and how they rose up and defeated the most powerful Army ever to have appeared on earth. That kind of story could be bad for business, if your business is being a right wing demagogue.

So, what I propose is that if you ever see one of these right wingnut fear mongers, you wish him a Happy Chanukah. He'll probably recognize you as a guerrilla in the War on Christmas, and lob a hand-grenade at you. That's how they celebrates the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Just smile at this lunatic and feel free. Free to ...

... tell 'em Big Mitch sent ya!

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