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WAR AGAINST CHRISTMAS 2012: The Eight Stages Of Christophobia
The War Against Christmas is one of my favorite topics. Reporting on it has got me, at least as of this writing, one of my few mentions in Wikipedia (right up there with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly—wow!). More important, daring to discuss what VDARE.com sometimes calls the "Khristmaskampf" —after the Kulturkampf, Bismarck's drive to eliminate Catholic influence in the German Empire—gets the American Left really M-A-D.
And probably for the same reason: both the resistance to the Khristmaskampf, and also Palin’s wasted but extraordinary moment of popular fame, are in some sense symptomatic of the historic American nation’s inchoate struggle against its progressive dispossession.
I watch Google news alerts on the War Against/On Christmas all year. Very few days go by without some Main Stream Media fool fulminating furiously that
- the War on Christmas doesn’t exist!!! (we call this War On Christmas Denial); and
- anyway, it’s necessary because of the need for “inclusion”
These are obviously the current, absurdly contradictory, talking points issued by whatever took the place of Journolist, the notorious secret ListServ group for Leftist MSM journalists.
This MSM fury is particularly notable because it’s rarely triggered by anything specific: there is now strikingly little actual MSM reporting of the Khristmaskampf atrocities, and what little there is remains local. (Which is a reversion to the pre-2000 phase of the War—see below).
This repression, of course, is the pattern perfected by MSM news managers for handling black crime. Perhaps significantly, the one MSM outlet that regularly breaks the embargo and reports on black crime—the London-based Daily Mail—has also been one of the best MSM sources of stories from the Christmas battlefront.
But this year, alas, the Daily Mail seems to have fallen silent: all we have found recently was Parents declare war on Christmas by branding caroling at school a form of bullying (by Leslie Larson, December 18 2012), a prototypical story from Montana of what seems to be just one Christophobic parent demanding that the majority adjust to the minority.
As far as I can see, apart from the special (and much exaggerated) case of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, there have been absolutely no national MSM defenses of Christmas this year. (In contrast to 2004—again, see below).
But, although they can no longer count on publicity, there are now several organizations defending Christmas. VDARE lists them here in our collegial way (let’s see if they link back!):
- Liberty Institute takes up religious liberty causes, including defense of Christmas rights, for example here.
- The Thomas More Society a group of Catholic lawyers who sponsor crèches as well the defense of Christmas
- The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights frequently defends Christmas
- The Rutherford Institute, defends religious liberty in schools. Its The Twelve Rules of Christmas—which perhaps should be called “ The Twelve Rulings of Christmas”—delineates the rights that schoolchildren actually have under various court rulings in cases that should never have had to be brought in the first place.
- The Foundation for Individual Rights In Education (FIRE), whose Robert Sibley wrote recently that
I’m not a big believer in the “war on Christmas” rhetoric…But every so often in my work…I see an example of seasonal political correctness so ridiculous that it makes me want to put my head down on my desk. Such is the case at Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) in North Carolina, where a Christmas tree sale fundraiser for a student group was unilaterally changed to a ‘holiday tree’ sale by campus administrators….
WPCC has therefore revealed itself to be another adherent of what I have called the “magic words” or “Lord Voldemort” school of censorship. In the massively popular Harry Potter books , most characters will not say the name of the main villain, “Lord Voldemort,” instead calling him “He-who-must-not-be-named.” Their worry is that if they say Voldemort’s name, they will magically attract his attention, with dire consequences.
College to student group: No selling Christmas trees, only ‘holiday’ trees, Daily Caller, November 28, 2012
(Links added by VDARE.com. WPCC was forced to retreat by a lawsuit threatened by the Alliance Defending Freedom. Note that, although this is a genuine Khristmaskampf atrocity and it happened this year, there was absolutely no national MSM pickup).
- The American Family Association has been campaigning against retailers trying to cash in on Christmas without either calling it that, or even allowing their employee to mention it. See its Naughty or Nice Christmas List 2012
God bless them, every one. (Any group that wants to be added to this list, let us know.)
In retrospect, it's now clear that the backlash against the War On Christmas was a precursor of 2009's Town Hall insurrections and 2010's Tea Parties, and before that intense public reaction that stopped the Bush Administration's Amnesty drives in 2006 and 2007. A more recent example: this summer’s Chick-fil-A eat-in.
All were spontaneous, grass-roots, leaderless-resistance movements that took the entire American elite, liberal and "conservative", entirely by surprise. (Ludicrously though the latter scrambled to catch up—and ignominiously though it failed to capitalize on these movements in the 2012 Presidential Election).
The root cause in all cases is the same: an American elite which is increasingly divergent, culturally and even ethnically, from the rest of the country.
This divergence has been long interesting to us here at VDARE.com. But, since the 2012 election, it seems to have finally made it into Main Stream debate. Usually it takes the form telling the GOP that it is “too white” (i.e. looks like 70% of the country), and even into public consciousness—hence the flaring interest in secession.
After the Democratic and Republican conventions last summer—during which the Democrats loudly booed a motion to insert a reference to God into their platform—I wrote that that the Republicans and Democrats in effect represent, of course imperfectly, two separate nations: America and Anti-America.
Similarly, after the 2012 presidential election, the blogger Larry Auster wrote ingeniously of America 2.0, which he argued had just displaced the Founders’ White Christian America 1.0; and of the need to salvage the historic American Nation to form what he calls America 3.0.
Simply put, the War On Christmas is a symptom of the struggle between these two Americas—as is anti-America’s periodic attempts to repress political debate as “hate speech” and, of course, its hysterical opposition to any suggestion of cutting the immigration which is steadily strengthening its hand.
Wikpedia currently dates my involvement in the Khristmaskampf to the “early 2000s.” But in fact I got John O’Sullivan, then Editor of National Review, to start a War Against Christmas Competition in 1995. (We called it “War Against Christmas”, but “War On Christmas” has obviously won out in popular usage, so I’ve adapted, with characteristic grace).
The last NR competition ran in 1997, at which time William F. Buckley for his own discreditable reasons had already fired O’Sullivan, but not yet leaked the disinformation that O’Sullivan was “resigning to write a book.” The War Against Christmas Competition was promptly dropped, along with the cause of immigration reform—not coincidentally. In 2000, NR itself actually published a “Holiday Edition.”
But VDARE.COM was launched on Christmas Eve 1999, and one of our first postings was Clinton HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo’s elimination of the word “Christmas” from HUD’s “Celebration of Holiday Traditions” party. In 2000, we re-started the War Against Christmas competition.
By an amazing coincidence, 2000 now seems to have been NR’s Nativity nadir. In 2001, Christmas reappeared at NR—if only, a VDARE.COM reader mordantly suggested, because Christians were now needed to fight a (real) war. In 2003, to our great amusement, NR’s Jay Nordlinger actually started a War Against Competition in his column. (This was the—rather weak—result). In 2004, however, he announced “I'm not going to go on any, or many, can't-say-‘Christmas’ tirades this year. That is my gift to you!” Just what we needed! And NRO’s Kathryn Ann Lopez similarly signaled surrender in 2006.
We haven’t found any original NR mention of the Khristmaskampf this year.
While I've been watching it, the Khristmaskampf has gone through eight distinct phases
1. Guerilla War 1990s-2000. During this period, there were almost no MSM stories about the War On Christmas and readers mostly supplied us with items that they'd seen with their own eyes—for example, Craig Nelsen's 2000 pic of the "Holiday Greeting Board" outside the Queens NY Main Post Office, from which one "greeting" was conspicuously missing. (Hint: it wasn't "Feliz Navidad".)
2. Gathering resistance, 2001-2003. As Americans became aware of what was being done to them, outbreaks of resistance to the Christophobic onslaught began to occur, which in turn was followed by MSM reporting. At the time—let the record show—this was a remarkable development, very heartening to us Christmas cranks.
The counterarguments have been mixed. Some, like Frank Rich in a December 19 New York Times column (attacking both Mel Gibson and those defending Christmas) argued that this is much ado about nothing, since Christmas is the same as ever….
Others, such as Cathy Young of Reason and Jonah Goldberg of National Review, urged everyone to 'lighten up', which, although seeming at first glance to be a 'plague on both your houses' argument, actually trivializes Christmas as something no one should be concerned about. They don't write many columns urging people to 'lighten up' about things they actually care about."
Finally some, such as Julian Sanchez at Reason, take a different tack at trivializing Christmas, by saying our concerns represent an absurd attempt by a still-overwhelming majority to claim 'persecution.' But, obviously, just because no one is being fed to the lions doesn't meant that what's going on isn't worthy of noticing.
My conclusion about the War Against Christmas in 2004:
There is finally a widespread awareness that it exists. But as with the immigration debate, I believe, it will next emerge that the War Against Christmas is not merely an accident. Its backers really want it.
Next year, they will get nasty.
4. War On Christmas Denial 2005-2007
But I was too early, as usual. They didn't get nasty immediately, they just got mendacious—indicative, really. What happened next was an extraordinary barrage of War On Christmas Denial. Our friend Ryan Kennedy wrote us in 2006:
It's amazing how the national debate is so uniform. Even up here in Anchorage, AK we have liberal pundits uniformly insisting there is no war against X-mas. There must be some secret meeting they all attend.
Yeah. See Journolist.
As VDARE.com’s Patrick Cleburne put it in his report of this phenomenon, If there's no War on Christmas, how come they deployed an Army?
My prediction finally came true after President Obama’s election, when the Left in a triumphalist mode (as now). The new line: resisting the War On Christmas was evidence of You Know What. The evidence: it was invented by…moi!
This smear was pioneered by Max Blumenthal in the Daily Beast: our detailed refutation is here. Repeated endlessly in the Leftist echo-chamber (see here and here and here), these accusations are no doubt the only reason that my small role in the Chrisistance is recognized. But mud does stick—as the late Judge Bork could testify.
The curious thing about this smear is that it is not merely a lie but the exact mirror image of the truth: It is the War on Christmas, not its opposition, that is rooted in totalitarianism—in the Communists’ very similar campaign in the Soviet Union, where dressing a Christmas tree could mean deportation and death.
Perhaps because the American elite was shaken by mounting evidence of a backlash against Obama, 2009 saw a sudden outbreak of Main Stream Media proclamations that the War On Christmas was now "over"—or at least that there was a truce or ceasefire. The key example, amplified through the MainStream Media echo chamber: Peace on Earth in Our Time: The "war on Christmas" is basically over, by Christopher Beam, Slate, Dec. 17, 2009.
You still this theme being toyed with. An example from this year: The War on Christmas Is Over | Christmas won, by David Sessions, DailyBeast, December 10, 2012.
Don’t rile up the peasants!
But the memo obviously hasn't reached the combatants—or, probably more accurately, both sides just want to fight.
In 2010, the stories I found perhaps most poignant is Christian group protests Boca holiday display, WSVN December 15, 2010. A group of Christians were spontaneously protesting the Boca Raton's inexplicable decision to refuse the donation of a crèche to display next to the public library.
As far as I can see, they got absolutely no national media attention. Except from VDARE.com.
But from the other side, in 2011 the national media did feature an exceptionally aggressive Christophobic statement: Observations From 20 Years of Iowa Life, an essay by Iowa State University journalism professor Stephen G. Bloom (The Atlantic, December 9, 2011). Among other things claimed:
When my family and I first moved to Iowa, our first Easter morning I read the second-largest newspaper in the state (the Cedar Rapids Gazette) with this headline splashed across Page One: HE HAS RISEN. The headline broke all the rules I was trying to teach my young journalism students: the event was neither breaking nor could it be corroborated by two independent sources. The editors obviously thought that everyone knew who He was, and cared.
This "headline" turned out to be a figment of Bloom’s paranoia and this passage had to be rewritten in the online version. But, despite this discrediting and a host of other factual errors, it’s still there, boasting about his annual lecture
…in which I urge my students not to bid strangers "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Easter," "Have you gotten all your Christmas shopping done?" or "Are you going to the Easter egg hunt?" Such well-wishes are not appropriate for everyone, I tell my charges gently. A cheery "Happy holidays!" will suffice. Small potatoes, I know, but did everyone have to proclaim their Christianity so loud and clear?
Bloom [email him] also remarked that
Crime isn't way rampant in these rural towns, but it's edging upwards, particularly in towns adjacent to slaughterhouses.
Needless to say, it never occurred to Bloom to ask why.
Tom Piatak and others believe there is evidence that Christmas is winning back lost ground. As The Daily Beast’s David Sessions noted in this year’s War-On-Christmas-Is-Over reportorial cited above:
According to the American Family Association, 80 percent of the retailers the group profiled for its inaugural “naughty and nice” list in 2005 used religion-neutral terminology like “holidays” in their advertising and store signs. Now an overwhelming majority have reverted back to using the word “Christmas.” Randy Sharp, a spokesman for the AFA, says that “there has been a correction.”
Maybe. But the plain fact is that the Christophobes are in possession of the field. As the Los Angeles Times conceded in a 2006 Christmas Eve editorial:
Perusing 125 years of Christmas editorials in the Los Angeles Times is a dizzying experience…journalistic sensibilities have shifted so radically…Up until the 1960s, many of these annual paeans read as if they were written by Christian pastors, and wouldn’t sound out of place if read aloud during a Sunday church sermon.
Significantly, the editorial added:
Few things could signal the about-face more sharply than an editorial from 1989 that urges people to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” so as not to cause offense to non-Christians.
It’s been that recent.
(One 2012 media meme: “Happy Holidays” is “inclusive”. Even radio shock jock Don Imus, apparently still desperate for rehabilitation after his career-threatening “nappy-headed hos” gaffe, has endorsed this absurdity. But of course “Happy Holidays” is not “inclusive”: it’s exclusive—of Christianity. It’s institutionalized Christophobia: assuming that the word “Christmas” is unfit for public consumption. Conversely, saying “Merry Christmas” is, in fact, inclusive. It is said without reservation. “UnMerry Christmas” might be a different matter.)
I, however, am more suspicious. I suspect that the cultural Marxists are going to try to go in for the kill.
To understand what I think is about to happen, you have to grasp the power of “shunning” for the America political elite. For example, in a column lauding gay marriage, Michael Kinsley wrote:
Today's near-universal and minimally respectable attitude—the rock-bottom, non-negotiable price of admission to polite society and the political debate—is an acceptance of gay people and of open, unapologetic homosexuality as part of American life that would have shocked, if not offended, great liberals of a few decades ago such as Hubert Humphrey.
Civil Rights Lightning, by Michael Kinsley. Sunday, December 12, 2004
(Emphasis added). Of course, this means Kinsley thinks traditional Christians, a.k.a. the people who founded America, are excluded from “polite society and the political debate.” (As, no doubt, are supporters of patriotic immigration reform).
My prediction: resistance to the War Against Christmas (Chrisistence?) may be about to be declared untouchable. You can already see, in the extraordinarily vitriolic comment threads in support of the innumerable instances of MSM ritual War Against Christmas Denial, that the issue is being imposed as a litmus test for the vast hordes of observant liberals.
I’m particularly alerted by 2012’s much-ballyhooed Jon Stewart Daily Show attack on Bill O’Reilly—which in fact is mostly an irrelevant but uninhibited expression of Jewish alienation and Christophobia. I note that the anti-Fox Leftist media enforcer NewsHounds has just resurfaced its allegation that Bill O’Reilly’s War On Christmas coverage is anti-Semitic, again citing (for some paranoid reason) VDARE.com. And I see that the same website reports, with ludicrous portentousness, Bill O'Reilly Once Reprimanded By ADL Over War On Christmas (December 12, 2012).
Of course, it’s not hard to find Jews who are contemptuous of the War Against Christmas. (See The Jewish Grinch who stole Christmas, by Burt Prelutsky, WND, December 19, 2012). But in the words of the late Joe Sobran: “An anti-Semite used to be a guy who hated Jews; now he's a guy whom Jews hate.” (Sobran’s, July 2006).
This is not headed in a good direction.
Finally, some housekeeping: the most recent winners of our War Against Christmas competitions.
- 2010 Winner: Mike B., one of our regular emailers.
Mike B. sent in a particularly useful series of war stories, including the news that Federal Reserve bank examiners were forcing an Oklahoma bank to take down Christmas decorations, citing a regulation barring a “discriminatory preference or policy of exclusion”. (And they say there’s no War on Christmas?). Mike also pointed out a useful way to monitor Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holiday articles.
- 2011 winner: Richard K. Munro, a teacher in the Kern High School District in Bakersfield CA
Richard cheered us up with good news (for a change!). And in an email to me a few days ago, he confirmed that the news is still good:
Yes, the Kern High School District—we are not far from the famous Mojave Cross—still proudly and open celebrates CHRISTMAS BREAK and EASTER BREAK.
The interesting thing about it was that, a few years ago, the district quietly changed to “Winter” and “Spring” break. The School Board queried the change. They could find no record of anyone discussing it or making the decision. It was presumed a lower-level person did it (on oral advice of the legal department???? No one will fess up). But the School Board voted by a overwhelming majority to restore it. They said that, after all, Christmas is a Federal holiday. We also have posters in every classroom that say in “God We Trust” and “E Pluribus Unum.”
Again, I wish all VDARE.com's friends a merry and blessed Christmas—and a Happy New Year, which we need.
We will give an inscribed copy of Steve Sailer's historic book AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE" and a 2012 VDARE.COM anthology (more details coming!) to whoever reports the most outrageous attempt to abolish Christmas in 2012. Email entries to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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