Thursday, October 14, 2004


Well, this is it. This is the big one. This is the one I've been saving. The ultimate petty annoyance that towers over the rest. I wanted to wait until the middle of October to bring it up, since we are now officially on the cusp of The Holiday Season.

We are literally a week, maybe two away from our first santa commercial of the year, followed closely by the unveiling of this year's new batch of crappy soft jazz Christmas music which will be piped over mall PA systems nationwide. Starbucks imitators all over the country will soon be bringing out their deep, aromatic holiday blends - and last years leftover Christmas stock is being dusted off in backrooms as we speak, prepped for October clearance.

Hell, I just got my "December" issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly today. Today, just to remind you, is OCTOBER 14th.

But this is all kindling, a preparty, mere foreplay compared to Q4's biggest petty annoyance of them all: the refusal of media, businesses and advertising to say the word Christmas.

No one will say the word Christmas. Even as they exploit Christmas, even as they depend of Christmas for their very livelihood, they simply cannot utter the word. First, the euphemism of choice was "Season's Greetings", then "Happy Holidays". Now, the word Holiday (frequently capitalized) is used as a direct substitute for the word Christmas.

Saying "Happy Holidays" I suppose is marginally acceptable if you're addressing a large audience and you want to cover all bases. But saying it out of fear of offending someone with the word Christmas - that makes me mad. Saying it while simultaneously cashing in on Christmas-specific marketing and Christmas-specific custom - that makes me mad.

Friends, Christmas is the real deal. It's a kickass holiday. And I say that as a proud atheist / former Jew. Christmas rocks. And no offense to my many Jewish relatives and friends, but Hanukah is a blatant ripoff. It's history's original Digimon. Do you know why Hanukah falls on different days in December every year? It's because the original Jews, way back when, weren't using the superior Christian calendar. They were still on a lunar calendar. Do you know what kind of mathematical handstands and cartwheels they had to do to ensure that Hanukah always fell in close proximity to Christmas? It's obvious, just by looking at how Hanukah is scheduled, that its entire purpose is to counter the successful conversion tool that was Christmas. Hanukah is one big fakeapalooza. The miracle of the lights. Please. Quick, people, we need a good miracle! Is there anything good in Leviticus? How about Numbers?

And let's not get started on Kwanzaa. Really, let's not.

So Christmas is the real thing. (barring some evidence that some Christmas rituals are based on even older forms of Pagan tree worship) And everyone in our media and in the world of commerce is too chicken shit to even say the word. It puts food on their plate, it creates their end of year bonus, and they're too scared to say it.

Back when I was a believing Jew, I had NO PROBLEM with Christmas. You could shout it from the rooftops, you could put nativity scenes in post offices, I would not have cared at all. I understood perfectly well in those days that I lived in a predominantly Christian culture, and I had no desire to interfere in anyone else's faith. Watching Christians celebrate Christmas was, if nothing else, one way to learn about another religion, another culture. Do you think I would ever set up shop in India and start complaining about public displays of the Hindu faith? That would be absurd.

The worst, I think, was that Petsmart commercial from last year. It featured a dog dancing gaily around a Christmas tree on Christmas morning, with presents strewn everywhere, and a beaming mom and dad looking down at the dog's happiness.

"Look how excited he is honey!" says mom. "It's his first holiday!"

You CHICKEN SHITS! I will never, ever buy anything from petsmart for as long as I live. How about the coke commercial with Santa drinking from a tall bottle of coke (where can you get those by the way? The glass bottles of coke? I've only ever seen Santa drinking from them. Can ordinary people get them too?) Anyway, Santa takes a cool, refreshing sip (you know how hot it gets at the North Pole) and says "Happy Holidays."

Happy Holidays? From Santa? Isn't he supposed to be Christian? Endowed by God with supernatural powers? And if that's true, doesn't he have firsthand knowledge that Hannukah and Kwanzaa are a bunch of bullshit? Why would he make concessions to them? God forbid Santa should offend anyone who doesn't believe in Santa's existence.

Again, let me state my credentials here. I am not a Christian, never was one. I most surely do not believe in God. I think all religions are terribly, terribly wrong. And yet when people are too scared to even say the word Christmas, when the very word becomes a taboo, it makes me want to kick some ass. Of course, if some people really would be offended by hearing the word Christmas in a commercial, I would want to kick their asses too. In fact, they'd go first. But in my opinion the bigger crime is to pander to that deluded hypersensitivity.

Say Christmas!!!

Now, I'm going to be keeping a careful watch this Holiday Season. I'm going to keep my ears open. Those businesses with enough balls to actually say Christmas will get my business, no matter how awkward it may be for me personally. If it's a local commercial for a timber company, then I guess I'll buy some cordwood. If it's a commercial for a festive bottle of Cold Duck, then I'll drink some Cold Duck.

And any business that uses "Holiday Season" when they mean Christmas gets a year boycott from me. And any commercial that uses "Holiday" in the singular, as a direct substitute for the word Christmas (a la Petsmart) gets a lifetime boycott. Anybody want to join me?

No comments: