Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas makes baby Jesus cry...

The seasonal spending orgiastics of my fellow consumerist cogs is particularly offensive to me this year, what with the wake of all this chest-thumping in defense of Christmas done recently by the whiners on the right.
Throughout December, O'Reilly has positioned himself as the lone ranger, willing to step up and defend the baby Jesus. "Nobody sticks up for Christmas except me. Did Peter Jennings stick up for Christmas last night? I don't believe he did. How about Brian Williams, did he? Did Rather stick up for Christmas? No."
You know, Al Franken was right. Bill O'Reilly is a serious fruitcake (haha, for Christmas, get it?). You have to wonder if he really sees himself as the lone warrior standing to protect the helpless baby Jesus. This is a teeny-tiny baby step away from that "Gay Jewish filmmakers are ruining the world" guy that was so easily mocked on the Daily Show last week.

I have to say that it's almost refreshing, now that the election is over, that the ultra conservative right is dropping this whole "we love Jews and liberals are anti-Semitic, not us," thing.
At one point, O'Reilly told the caller, "Come on, if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then." (Media Matters for America, a liberal media monitoring organization, quickly posted transcripts from the radio show.) "It was offensive and over the top," says Steven Freeman, associate director of the civil liberties division at the Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish civil rights organization.
Jesus Christ (haha again). Imagine if he had said "If you're offended in this primarily white nation, then you gotta go to Africa then," to some black person? Maybe this is the next step in the new "First they came for the ______ but I did not speak out because I was not a ______," type situations. The day can't be far away when someone tells Mr. O'Reilly that "If you're so offended, then go back to Ireland!"

The truly funny thing is that Christmas was, only very recently, a religious and wholesome holiday. It's a feast day, for Christ's sake (literally, haha), having more in common with Mardi Gras than the more family-oriented (and secular) Thanksgiving. Not only does it have ancient, pagan roots...
The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
...But until quite recently it was celebrated in a fairly debaucherous manner.
On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today's Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the "lord of misrule" and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorize them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined "debt" to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.
So I think it's Bill O'Reilly robbing Christmas of it's true meaning. I'm going to his house and demanding his best food and drink, lest I terrorize him with mischief.

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