Friday, December 09, 2005

The War on Christmas

In all of the media obsession with this supposed "debate," I figured I oughta post something on the "War on Christmas" as described in some circles in our country. I'm not 100% on one side or the other, I think both have valid points, but there's also some faux argumentation going on.

First of all, I think it's pretty obvious that the conservative argument of retail companies "banning Christmas" from their stores is horse hockey. Have you been to the mall lately? Most choose to use "Happy Holidays" (a phrase that's been around for a long time) so that they can capitalize on every holiday going on right now (there are, last time I counted, no less than five). The number of people that are actually offended by "Merry Christmas" is tiny indeed, and besides that, Christmas has been largely secular for some time now (take the American preference for secular "Santa Claus" type imagery over Nativity/Incarnation images, for instance, which has been the rule ever since I can remember).

I'm also more than a little suspicious of attempts to lay the blame for the war at the feet of "liberals" or "political correctness." Those arguments tend to be little more than the stock knee-jerk "blame the left" approach to everything imaginable, no matter how preposterous, and I doubt that such instances in the Christmas debate are any different. Bill O'Reilly has made this his favorite cudgel, and has gone f*&king bonkers in his ranting and screaming. Yet he can't make any coherent case for his insinuations about "leftist" anti-Christmas machinations.

At the same time, something about the way we've been celebrating the holiday, or something about our religious sensibilities, perhaps, has led to the perception that there is a growing stigma against saying "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I do think it's possible. If such a thing really is happening, then I think people have a perfectly legitimate complaint. There's no stigma against any other holiday, so why should there be for Christmas?

All in all, I suspect that this whole thing might just a lot of hot air, with the O'Reilly's out there blowing a gasket about something that doesn't really exist.

No comments: