Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Is Inescapable And Totalitarian

Christopher Hitchens makes Christmas sound an awful lot like communism. If Bill O’Reilly knew the truth about Christmas, would he switch sides in the war on Christmas?

Christopher Hitchens explains it, so that I don’t have to.

From 'Tis the Season To Be Incredulous by Christopher Hitchens:

The core objection, which I restate every December at about this time, is that for almost a whole month, the United States—a country constitutionally based on a separation between church and state—turns itself into the cultural and commercial equivalent of a one-party state.

As in such dismal banana republics, the dreary, sinister thing is that the official propaganda is inescapable. You go to a train station or an airport, and the image and the music of the Dear Leader are everywhere. You go to a more private place, such as a doctor's office or a store or a restaurant, and the identical tinny, maddening, repetitive ululations are to be heard. So, unless you are fortunate, are the same cheap and mass-produced images and pictures, from snowmen to cribs to reindeer. It becomes more than usually odious to switch on the radio and the television, because certain officially determined "themes" have been programmed into the system. Most objectionable of all, the fanatics force your children to observe the Dear Leader's birthday, and so (this being the especial hallmark of the totalitarian state) you cannot bar your own private door to the hectoring, incessant noise, but must have it literally brought home to you by your offspring. Time that is supposed to be devoted to education is devoted instead to the celebration of mythical events.
It takes a totalitarian mind-set to claim that only one Bronze Age Palestinian revelation or prophecy or text can be our guide through this labyrinth. If the totalitarians cannot bear to abandon their adoration of their various Dear Leaders, can they not at least arrange to hold their ceremonies in private? Either that or give up the tax-exempt status that must remind them so painfully of the things of this material world.
It disturbs me that the worst aspects of Christmas are spreading. Witness what has happened to Halloween. Lights and decorations, and much consumer spending on worthless junk. And much of it is plastic. Talk about wasting a precious commodity such as energy. Talk about filling our landfills with more discarded huge blowup plastic pumpkins and snowmen. How much lead gets added to landfills because of Christmas? Is this why Jesus was born?

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