Just a Little More Robertson, if I may?

I have bittersweet feelings, as an atheist, about the Thanksgiving season, because it is the gateway to Christmastown. I have things to be thankful about (Obama winning the election, the dying out of Rush Limbaugh’s audience, the tendency of major events to show science is, like, a real thing, not a hobby people in lab coats do for shits’n'grins, Y’know, like how global warming is real, or how contraception means “not conceiving”—those kinds of things.)

Anyway, I do sort of hate Christmas, and yet, I don’t begrudge believers their thing. No, seriously. If they pay homage to the Christ within their fellow humans by providing those near and dear to them with gifts, or sing songs, or make any kind of merry—I am totally down with the merry-making. I and merry-making have been one for the longest. I am a wassailing fool.  I am a gift-wrapping, toe-tapping, high-spending, season-ending, bell-ringing, hotdish-bringing you-know-what of an atheist. I celebrate. I am not stealing or co-opting your joy. I have the spirit, you know?

But there’s this little thing with the all-Xmas radio channels and the in-store Xmas Musak. So many, many of my peeps are retail folks. So many, many of them are living with “Rum, tum, tum tum.” ringing in their ears, and regardless of belief, that regular aural assault on the eardrums of fala-lala-la is not healthy. It’s been used as a form of psyops by no less than Sheriff Arpaio..  As a member of student choirs since I was very young, I was exposed to a kind of SERE training against overt aural Xmas Ear Assault behaviors by the major retail establishments.  But I know full well what they are and how they demoralize retail workers while trying to send Christmas telegraphs to regular folks—all about the same thing: the need for too muchnesss, and the availability of right jolly old elves who serve the Christmas spirit,

Me, I think the Christmas spirit is that thing you have when you aren’t even doing Christmas stuff,  And I believe a Christmas is done best when it’s commercialized least—which is why I stand with Black Friday protestors, and support people espousing Small Business Saturday.

Your milage may vary. But I say just a little less “jingle” might better serve the better Kringles of our human nature.  I am for the Matthew gospel of the season—more than the buy it now button of our culture.  And I think its the outcasts and weirdos who espouse it better than some of the Christmas Warriors..

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/24/12 at 12:05 AM • Permalink

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsBedwettersNuttersRelijunRumproast RelatedSkull Hampers

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I was born and raised an atheist and I love Christmas. Growing up we always had the large but scrawny tree covered in tinsel, colored paper chains and those faux-candle bubble lights. We had a whole ritual about what presents could be opened before my dad’s heavenly pancake breakfast (after 364 days of burned toast from my culinary-challenged mom).

As for the pervasive baby/manger thing, I always took it to be a delightful fable like the Easter bunny and tooth fairy. Something made up to amuse the children.

I’m what Richard Dawkins calls a “cultural Christian”—I was raised with it and admire it, but there is a disconnect I think, with the mindset of “Christmas exceptionalism”.

Fun case in point—I grew up in a neighborhood where Yiddish was spoken.  I worked at a big box store that had four seasons: tax season, Dads’n'Grads, Back to School, and Christmas.  Not “winter”—Christmas.  So right after Thanksgiving, the Christmas music would start.  And we would get pallets of Christmas-themed stuff like wrapping paper and holiday-themed popcorn tins.  So I would make suggestions like “Maybe around the clock Christmas music isn’t really a good plan?” or “Even if we got some Hanukka paper, this kind of doesn’t work…”

So February rolls around and we’re marking this stuff down to “Just take it.”  Corporate doesn’t understand.

*Shrug*. “Happy holidays.” Robertson’s idea that Chrsitmas is being “stolen” is that kind of cluelessness. No one says he can’t decorate his church or his whole house like a Nativity scene complete with live goats and a disco ball star—it’s just that it doesn’t have to be everywhere.

Never too much Uncle Pat, Vixen . . .

Just as my husband is what he calls a “social Jew” (raised Jewish, bar mitzvah and all, could hardly care less about organized religion), I am a social Christian but most definitely NOT a Christian.  I think Gandi said it best regarding Christ v. Christians.  In my POV all religions are addressing similar issues, and usually devolving into tribalistic hate of the other religions because they have the direct line on God’s love, etc.  Meh, I’ll pass. We try not to buy anything other than food this time of year because we don’t want to add to the retail-religo-consumerist frenzy.

We don’t make time for any holidays though, so we don’t discriminate.  Example: when we were first dating we’d cooked a turkey together on what had happened to be Valentine’s Day weekend and I took the carcass back to my house for soup.  On Monday a co-worker asked what he gave his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day and he very proudly told his inquiring co-worker “a turkey carcass!”  When he told me that story, I knew for sure he was the man for me.  Funny; we’ve been together 22 years longer than his old co-worker said we’d be after that turkey carcass event…

As an antidote to the raucous noise of spurious good cheer, you could have recourse to the (near) spoonerism of Scrooge - ‘Hah Bumhug.’

Hey stringonastick, My future husband gave me a foot massager—his mother was horrified but we got married, threw it away, and he’s been massaging my feet manually ever since so it seems like it was a good gift since we are heading for 18 years.

I love Christmas, and I’m a Jew. Its a great holiday, as long as you don’t take it too seriously.  As for the “all religions” point I’ve been reading a lot of Rumi and it pretty much helps you drop the rituals and focus on the idea of the shock of a passionate, one to one connection with the sublime and the divine. Talk about I/thou!


Have you heard atheist Tim Minchin’s Christmas song, White Wine in the Sun?

Comment by Origuy on 11/25/12 at 02:21 PM

What a dork.

@Origuy—I rather like the song.  And what he said—with all the reservations, it’s still a time for family, and that is what should matter anyway.

When someone like Robertson (or O’Reilly, or whatever stodgy Godpounder wants to start a WAR over whether people are having a religiously-mandated good time) says “Atheists want to steal Christmas”—their assumptions kind of take the bits I do believe in and say “Well, without putting Christ in it, you know the time you and your folks got out photo albums and laughed at what cousins look like what older relative now while eating cookies in front of your godless tree?  That was bullshit.”

Whenever I see “Keep Christ in Christmas” on a bumpersticker, I wonder if the person who adopted that message reserved Xmas to Him so they don’t have to think about a religious reformer who ministered to the poor, ran afoul of organized religion, and experienced torture and capital punishment because he violated blaphemy laws all the rest of the year that isn’t Xmas. Because that kind of thinking might get weird.

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