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Announcing VDARE.COM's War Against Christmas 2003 Competition!
Peter Brimelow writes: VDARE.COM officially began with an email barrage to friends on Christmas Eve, 1999. One of our first postings was a leaked memo from Clinton HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo about his department's "Holiday Party" plans—including "Kwaanza, Native American celebration of the Winter Solstice, Channuka, Ramadan, The 3 Kings"… but no mention of you-know-what. We ran our first War Against Christmas contest, inviting readers to report the most egregious attempt to suppress Christmas, in 2000.
In retrospect, 2000 was a nadir. In that year, National Review, where at my urging John O'Sullivan had actually been running a proto-War Against Christmas competition, celebrated his firing as editor by touting a "Holiday Books" section on its cover. Christmas was thereafter purged almost as thoroughly as the issue of immigration reform. But by 2001, as a reader carefully documented for us, Christmas was making a small comeback at NR.
Our reader was cynical enough to suggest this must be because Christians and patriots were suddenly needed for some war somewhere. But we'll take it.
Let's see what NR does this year!
Of course, thanks to Lew Rockwell's estimable blog—YES, YES, VDARE.COM SHOULD HAVE ONE TOO— we already know what the Christmas-free "conservatives" at the Bush White House are doing this year. But they will be the last to get the word.
By now, through the miracle of the internet, VDARE.COM has posted a considerable archive on the War Against Christmas. (Click here for 2002, here for 2001, here for 2000.) It all helps in crystallizing the consciousness of a culture, and of a country. Just last night, for example, a Russian-speaking reader pointed out that our photograph of the multilingual but Christmas-free Queens Post Office "Holiday Greetings Board" actually did contain a reference to Christmas, cunningly disguised in the Cyrillic alphabet.
That picture went up in 2000. But it is still being studied. And its symbolism continues to sink in.
Two points need to be born in mind when contemplating this Christmas Kulturkampf.
- It's OFFENSIVE. Tom Fleming, the ferocious editor of Chronicles Magazine, put it best it in his powerful article "Taking the Kwannukah Out Of Christmas" (December 22, 2000), when he denounced "the insulting and Christophobic 'Happy Holiday.'" That's the point. "Happy Holidays" is Christophobic. It insinuates that the religion that founded America is unfit to be mentioned - even allusively, even though Christianity pervades the English language.
- It's unstable. The celebration of Christmas has evolved over the years. It was suppressed in Cromwell's England, but returned. Our archive indicates gathering resistance. Christmas will return again.
Christianity is the religion, not just of the Nativity, but of the Resurrection.
Please send entries, with "Christmas Competition" in the message line, to email@example.com. Because of the spam epidemic, we will post names but not email addresses unless you say OK. A gushingly-inscribed copy of Alien Nation for the best entry in our competition for the most outrageous attack on Christmas this year. (Or The Worm In The Apple or champagne if you prefer it!)
And a very Merry and Blessed Christmas to all our readers.
P.S. Don't forget, if sending Christmas gifts via Amazon this year, begin by going in through any book link on VDARE.COM, for example here - thus directing a commission to us, at no expense to you! And thanks to the many readers who have been doing this.
Share Jeff Bezos' wealth!
Christmas is less than a month away. Which means, in today's America, not tidings of comfort and joy, but of new assaults on Christmas, unimaginable only a short time ago.
Disney has chosen to observe the season by releasing (through its Miramax subsidiary) Bad Santa, an alleged comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton. This movie isn't another Miracle on 34th Street, which featured Edmund Gwenn in the definitive portrayal of St. Nicholas. Thornton's Santa, like Gwenn's, works for department stores, but he robs them. He also is a drunk, has sex with a waitress he's just met, is heard by other characters having anal sex in the department store, and repeatedly uses profanity in front of children.
To make matters worse, Disney is, according to the Chicago Tribune's John Kass, promoting this charming film with advertisements on TV featuring "a veiled reference to oral sex and an unmistakable reference to feminine hygiene." These ads are being run at times when it would be reasonable to expect children to watch them—such as during Sunday afternoon football games.
As Kass archly observes, "About the only thing that Santa is forbidden to do these days is mention the real reason that gifts are given in late December." [Disney owes fans apology for `Bad Santa' ad, John Kass, Chicago Tribune November 21, 2003]
The obvious purpose of Bad Santa is to mock and demean Christmas. The film's boosters say as much. As the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights points out, George Thomas [firstname.lastname@example.org] of the Akron Beacon Journal described Bad Santa as "an anti-holiday [sic] film" that "could be the much needed antidote to that good-will-to-man feeling that permeates the season."
The fact that Disney has chosen to observe Christmas by insulting it is telling. Certainly, the company would never have made a movie demeaning Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, if for no other reason than fear of the resultant bad publicity. Nor could this movie have been made in Hollywood's Golden Age, when Hollywood observed Christmas by making such delightful films as It's a Wonderful Life, The Bells of St. Mary's (the film playing in Bedford Falls as George Bailey runs down its snowy streets on Christmas Eve), The Bishop's Wife, as well as Miracle on 34th Street. The journey from "Miracle on 34th Street" to "Bad Santa" is downhill all the way.
Part of the explanation of this downward trajectory, I believe, is that the men running Hollywood in the 1940s were of a different, and better, character than those running it today.
But another part of the explanation is more prosaic. In the 1940s, Hollywood worried about the reaction of Christians to its product. A boycott by the Legion of Decency would have been financially ruinous. Today, by contrast, the pressure groups Hollywood fears are all on the multicultural left.
It is a sad reality—and a reality not at all in keeping with the Christmas spirit—that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. This is the lesson that has been learned by those who have been waging the War against Christmas these last few decades. Over that time, we have seen crèches disappear, beautiful carols vanish from school concerts, and the very word "Christmas" largely disappear from public discourse—to the point that many of us no longer dare wish each other "Merry Christmas" and we now hear of "holiday trees," "holiday cards," "holiday parties," "holiday songs," and even, in one particularly egregious recent advertisement, a "child's first holiday."
This dramatic transformation was not spontaneous. As Mrs. Kerri Jones wrote to me last year, this transformation was the result of "incessant, relentless and unyielding complaining" by "a tiny minority of people who take offense at Christmas." Ms. Jones came to this conclusion because "when I express my preference for 'Christmas' over 'Happy Holidays' I am invariably told that others 'complain' because they feel 'offended.'"
Kerri Jones is exactly right. And the only antidote is to continue to express our preference for "Christmas" over "Happy Holidays," whenever we can.
We must realize that even though appeals for "inclusion" are calculated to appeal to our better nature, they may be motivated by less noble sentiments.
As VDARE.COM reported last year, filmmaker Jonathan Kessleman was motivated to make his movie The Hebrew Hammer because "I asked myself, 'What as a Jew really pisses me off?' It hit me when I was walking around a mall in December: I hate Christmastime."
Mr. Kessleman scarcely speaks for non-Christians, most of whom, in my experience, do not resent Christmas and actually enjoy some aspects of its celebration.
This sentiment was well expressed by Philadelphia Inquirer editor Jane Eisner's thoughtful and generous essay of last December in which she explained why, as a Jew, she was bothered by the suppression of Christmas and "[t]he conflation of Christmas, Hanukkah, and now Kwanzaa . . . into one big, fat, indistinguishable holiday."
But Kessleman's sentiments are assuredly those of many in that small minority of Americans—comprised of all faiths and of none—who have litigated and complained to prevent such horrors as children learning how to sing Silent Night.
In order to take Christmas back, we need to let movie studios, retailers, school boards, and politicians know that those of us who love Christmas vastly outnumber the malcontents, and that we don't appreciate what's been happening to our holiday.
We need, in essence, a new Legion of Decency. Numbers are surely on our side. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation reported that the holiday more than 92% of consumers plan to celebrate is Christmas.
This effort need not be entirely negative—even though some polite, forceful complaining will be necessary. We can start wishing others "Merry Christmas" again. We can only buy cards that mention Christmas, and let both the retailer and the card maker know why we're doing that. On our Christmas cards that actually mention Christmas we can make a point of only using the Post Office's Christmas stamp, and we can inform the Post Office why we prefer that stamp to the generic "Season's Greetings" alternative. (Indeed, only a popular outcry saved the Christmas stamp from the PC chopping block in the mid-1990s.) We can patronize retailers who actually mention the holiday that is the source of their good fortune, and tell them why we prefer to shop there.
We can also share essays on the War against Christmas with our friends and relatives: people are much more likely to act when they realize they are not alone, and others have expressed sentiments they share but have been reluctant to voice.
Over time, the message that most people prefer Christmas to "holiday" will be heard. Indeed, the Associated Press reports that there has recently been a resurgence of Christmas music on the radio, as radio stations discover that being the only station in town playing Christmas music in December does wonders for their ratings.
What the malcontents who have waged War against Christmas want is to replace the Christmas we have known and loved with the festival it is on the way to becoming: an undistinguished, uninspiring celebration, devoid of religious or cultural significance or indeed of beauty, with nothing left but multiculturalist pap and tawdry commercialism.
There is no reason for them to get their wish.
Tom Piatak writes from Cleveland, Ohio.