"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Holidays

My last word on the "war on Christmas."

I have spoken to or recieved cards from at least two people of my parent's generation now, who have mentioned disparagingly the term "Happy Holidays," and insisted that we all must use "Merry Christmas."

As Eliot said, I did not think death had undone so many.

I've been hearing the phrase "Happy Holidays" for 50 years, and in that time, no one thought ill of it. Bing Crosby was singing about them as far back as I can remember. My parent's favorite Christmas album was Crosby's Christmas tunes, which included that song.

Why, now, is the phrase so offensive? Because Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson said so?

Many in the blogospher bemoan the influence of FoxNews on America. I join Harlan Ellison, and bemoan the influence of television. "The Glass Teat," he called it; but I always thought it had affected my generation, the "TV Generation," most profoundly.

Sadly, it is making my parents' generation senile and peurile, long before their time. I love these people, but I'm baffled as to how they can care so much about something so insignificant. In fact, perhaps that's what it is. All of these people are retired, long ago, and society does a very good job of telling them they are useless and no longer necessary. Being concerned about something so artificial, is a sad way of giving them some token sense of purpose, some tiny flame of outrage to warm themselves by.

This is, in the end, a problem for the churches. It is another issue of ecclesiology, in fact. And the irony is, it is tied to the churches, whether they like it or not, because Christmas is a religious holy-day.


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