Monday, December 16, 2002

Victor mused last week how much he likes the new Target commercials with Stevie Wonder in them. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I loathe the musical stylings of Stevie Wonder in his comments box, but more importantly, I have a question about his closing comment on them. He approved of the use of "Christmas" instead of "Holidays." (Though in such a PoMo fashion I can't tell how serious he was. The problem with PoMo fashions is, I'm not sure he knows either...)

I have spent the last several years getting irritated at the PC manner of replacing "Christmas" with "Holiday." It’s so stupid, because it’s perfectly obvious to all concerned that the only reason to have a “holiday” is “Christmas,” and I resent deliberate stupidity. (Last June, the Head of my Academy spoke warmly of lighting the “Non-denominational Winter Solstice Tree.” It’s pretty funny that she thinks a pagan ritual dating back at least to the Vikings and probably a lot older is “non-denominational,” especially with a few avowed pagans in attendance. And she’s a Harvard-trained anthropologist!) (And while we’re on the subject, why is it okay for my son to do “Hanukah” pictures at school, but not Christmas ones? Are American Jews so thoroughly secularized that there is no longer any but political significance to celebrating Hanukah? I’d like to introduce a few of my religious Jewish friends to anyone who answers “yes.”)

Anyway, as you can tell, I think Stupid People should pay large fines just for being Stupid. (As opposed to people not born so bright: they are usually very nice, or at least not willful.) But here, I wonder if I haven’t been backing the wrong horse.

12 years ago I wrote a story for my college Conservative paper titled “Merry Secular Holiday,” raising all the usual arguments decrying the crass commercialization of Christmas. (At last report 3 years ago, it was still on the fridge of a friend’s Catholic mother.) Upon reflection (not to mention at least a modest improvement in maturity) I think “Happy Holidays” a vast improvement over “Merry Christmas” in the mouths of people who do not comprehend, and do not care to comprehend, what Christmas actually means. If we are to commercialize “Christmas” out of all recognition, isn’t it better that we start calling it something else? Maybe then we can, by political correctness run amok, of all things, finally separate the orgy of spending and buying, and comparing outlays to receipts, from the day that is supposed to signify the liberation of us from all of that.

Ask yourself which is more offensive: that “the Gap” has told it’s employees to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” or that “the Gap” ever connected what it does to the birth of the Savior in the first place?


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