Monday, November 20, 2006

Fighting for Our Culture

It's that time of year when it seems like every American holiday is under attack. Halloween continues to be regarded at a satanic holiday by some although this has diminished in recent years as the holiday has gained popularity.

You would think that Veteran's Day would be sacrosanct during a shooting war but the day after Veteran's Day the Simpsons ran an episode depicting army recruiters as preying on grade school kids, showing that regardless of aptitude everyone is assigned to the front lines, showing the army deciding to kill sub-standard recruits, and ending with the message that an occupying force can never win.

Then are the constant apologies that Americans are expected to make on Columbus Day and Thanksgiving.

While no one objects to New Year's Day, our calendar was quietly changed from using "AD" and "BC" for the years to "CE" and "BCE" where references to Christ were changed to "Common Era".

But of course, the big one continues to be Christmas. Last year it was noticed that most chains no longer use the word "Christmas" even when selling Christmas merchandise. Wal-Mart backed away from this policy and now encourages employees to use the word. Other stores such as Best Buy and Lowes continue to use the generic "Holiday". Best Buy's policy is

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about including Christmas in our marketing efforts. We recognize that several holidays are celebrated during the months of November and December. Many people exchange gifts in celebration of one or more of these holidays.

In order to be respectful of all our customers (and employees) who celebrate different holidays throughout the season, we are choosing to use "Happy Holidays" as the primary greeting in our holiday campaign.

This is being disingenuous. First, if holidays during November are a problem then they could simply stop pushing the season. During the Great Depression Thanksgiving was considered the limit on Christmas and the date was changed slightly (from the last Thursday in November to the 4th Thursday) to increase the Christmas season. If retailers respected that limit then there would be conflict with November holidays.

As for December, there are three gift-giving holidays - Christmas, Chanukah's,  and Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a secular holiday which can be celebrated by Christians so there is not conflict there. Many Jews are disturbed that people are suppressing Christmas on their behalf. With Jews only making up 1% of the population (around 3 million in a country of 300 million) it seems silly to suppress the name of majority's holiday in order to be more inclusive.

Besides, who do these guys think they are fooling? When a city puts up a "holiday tree", which holiday do they mean? Is any other holiday commemorated with a lighted pine tree?

In the movie The Santa Claus III, Jack Frost is trying to take over as the symbol of Christmas. Presumably it would eventually be re-named the Winter Holiday. I sometimes feel like this plot is being acted out for real.

Holidays are
 an imprtant part of the general culture that hold countries together. Be attacking aspects of nearly every holiday, the powers that be are attacking American society at large. Europe has gone down this road ahead of us and the results are not pretty.

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