Ed Brayton, at Dispatches From the Culture War, postulates:
Seems like Bill O’Reilly’s idiotic blather about the war on Christmas starts earlier every year. How about a War on Demagoguery?
I replied with a novel. I haven’t posted here in over a week. Plus, I’ve bitched about this before. Still, a copy-paste of my comment from a different blog is better than nothing. My take:
IMHO, the “War on Christmas” starts not with improper holiday greetings or fights about location or content of nativity displays. Oh, no.
The “War on Christmas” started this year in August, when K-Mart had artificial Christmas Trees on display next to the Back-to-School Supplies.
Additional troops were brought in at the mall, where Christmas Decorations gradually moved into spots vacated by sold halloween merchandise.
The Target near my house will already have Christmas music playing already, very softly and only in certain departments. As November progresses, it will gradually expand to fill the store, until Thanksgiving comes and goes, when the din will be inescapable.
The real “War on Christmas” is being waged by people who want to turn it from a one-day religious holiday to a four-month frenzy of buying. The “War on Christmas” is the brainwashing of people to make them believe they must update their themed decorations every year, and buy presents for the sake of buying presents, not because they care for the recipients or because a gift seems like the thing someone really needs or wants.
The real “War on Christmas” is the constant badgering that we must buy this, decorate with that, get something for everyone on the “list”, attend a whole slew of parties AND visit all the relatives, AND make it perfect for the kids, and still feel “goodwill towards men” after doing all that crap. Each time advertisers and retailers heap yet another demand upon us, insisting we must do or buy or give to make this a “perfect holiday season!” more of us revolt.
For some people, the financial demands are too much. Their revolt might be on a smaller scale, involving only themselves and their loved ones. They’ll simplify, cut back the “gift list”, give homemade presents, or even (GASP!) celebrate it as a religious holiday only. Their contributions to the war won’t be noticed quite so much, although they are making some impact.
For others, the demands in general have taken away any pleasure we might have had in the secular celebration, whether or not we participate in the religious one. We’re sick of it. We don’t give a damn whether you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” just wait until frickin’ December to start saying it. We know from experience that the shopping does not make the holiday happy. We know that “the perfect gift” does not make the holiday happy – nor does giving it on a specific day make it any more perfect. We know that after about the 50th time of hearing it in a week, “Joyeux Noel” doesn’t sound so joyful anymore. We’re tired of being assaulted with Christmas for such a huge part of the year, and our backs are up. So we’re scaling back, too. We’re not buying what they’re selling, in goods or ideology. We’re fighting back, and we’re not quiet about it.
And that is the real “War on Christmas”. Corporate America started it. The Public is just defending itself. O’Reilly is appealing to the attackers to stop the war, which shows what a fool he is. It won’t stop until Americans stop feeding the effort – not by insisting that the proper greeting be used, but by insisting that advertisers and TV bloviators can’t tell us what to do and how to do it.