PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts

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    1. […] I started thinking about some political issues concerning Christmas (namely the whole “war on Christmas” thesis) and composed a lengthy post on the subject, which can be read here: Some Thoughts on the “War on Christmas”. […]

      Pingback by Political Mavens » A Little Politics with Christmas… — Tuesday, December 25, 2024 @ 11:04 pm

    2. I liked your poliblog on Some Thoughts on the War on Christmas. Considering the Biblical account written by Luke, it’s difficult for me to justify celebrating Christmas with Christmas trees, yule logs, Santa Claus, “three” Magi, Jingle Bells, etc., etc. So…I don’t. Haven’t for years and I love not doing it, all except for the tendency to cop a superior attitude about the nots. Such as, not spending funds I don’t have for tinsely gifts. Not adding great mounds of wasted wrapping paper, gift packaging containers, disposable items, trees used for maybe two weeks and gobs of other stuff to our over-burdened waste dumps.
      Not promoting or fostering some very un-Christ like attitudes from the kids about what-I-am-getting-for-Christmas.

      I would however, like to say what I think that the war is about. It isn’t really revoling around saying “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays” as much as a growing and not unfounded fear that anything and everything “Christian” is being marginalized. It is possible that in the not to far distant future, being of the Judeo-Christain belief, could be cause for mental lock-up or ever how godless society history repeats itself.

      In an effort to help stave off this calamity, I said,”Merry Christmas’ a lot this Holiday Season.

      Comment by Johanna Roberts — Wednesday, December 26, 2024 @ 2:37 am

    3. A couple of comments:

      Footnote 1: Since the time of Christmas was taken from Roman traditions soon afgter the conversion of the empire to Christianity (and since the entire empire was north of the equator), I’d guess that they were celebrating the winter solstice, not summer.

      Outrage is the coin of the realm these days. If I’m outraged I have a moral advantage over you in policy debate. This is probably not historic, but I trace it back to the Pollack jokes of the 70’s. Seemingly overnight something that was a part of the culture became something not done by cultured people. Similar things have happened to jokes about other groups and other things that may be associated (school mascot depictions, nooses have gone from an interesting knot to the equivalent of possessing heroin, etc.)

      This is just groups wanting their day to show more fealty to the cause than others. Analyzing phenomenon without including motivations is a losing cause.

      Comment by Buckland — Wednesday, December 26, 2024 @ 1:40 pm

    4. “basically universal observance.”

      There are indeed times when I feel like I live in a different universe. As someone raised Christian, by a devout Lutheran mother, but who never “bought” the central narrative one must accept to be a Christian–and who converted to Judaism as an adult–I am still not sure how to navigate this whole greeting thing.

      At a rational level, I like the “Merry Christmas” greeting. I know that the person giving it is unlikely to know I am a Jew, and is really just wishing me a season of joy and peace. I am all for that.

      But at a visceral level, I really dislike the assumption that I must celebrate Christmas, just like the the “universe” does. And, so while I would not call my reaction one of offense, it most certainly is one of discomfort.

      But I do not like “Happy Holidays.” Too bland. And “have a good holiday” is even worse. (Uh, any one in particular?) In any event, I have already had my holiday of the winter. It ended more than two weeks ago (straddling the new moon closest to the winter solstice, just like it always does).

      I had a colleague in England recently e-mail me and wish me a good Festive Season. I rather like that, and may take it up.

      On the nativity scenes in public places: Banish them, I say. I do take offense to that. And I was not mollified this year when the Oceanside city council decided to put up a Chanukiah (menorah for Chanukah) in front of city hall. In fact, for me, that compounded the offense. It seemed to be tokenism, and conveys the misleading impression that Chanukah is somehow the Jewish answer to Christmas. Of course, it is nothing of the sort. When city hall puts up a Sukkah next autumn, I will feel somewhat more mollified.

      On the prevalence of the greeting, I have noticed in these last two years that few (this year, none) of my students wished me a Merry Christmas while handing in the final exam, as has been the case by some in the past. But that may not be an indication of shifting cultural practice here in California. I may signify nothing more than that they know, from Fruits & Votes or other indications, that I am a Jew.

      In any event, that was a very thoughtful post, Steven. Thank you for it. And may you, your family, and all PoliBllog readers enjoy the rest of your Festive Season!

      Comment by MSS — Wednesday, December 26, 2024 @ 2:00 pm

    5. It makes me think of the complaints I’ve heard recently about the war on Santa Claus. I’m sure that most people don’t even realize that our current notion of Santa (as a human-sized old man dressed in red) comes from a Coca-cola advertising campaign. If one pays close attention to the “Visit from St. Nick” poem, you will notice that while Santa is fat with a white beard, he is an elf not a man and his suit is “tarnished with ashes and soot”, but no mention is made of its color. And Old World Santas are thin and dressed like bishops.

      Comment by Jan — Thursday, December 27, 2024 @ 12:02 am

    6. I take that back, maybe it does say he was dressed in red, but he was definitely an elf.

      Comment by Jan — Thursday, December 27, 2024 @ 12:03 am

    7. “War on Santa Claus”? Egads–I have missed that one.

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Thursday, December 27, 2024 @ 12:14 pm

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