by mr dan
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So you survived Christmas. If not, I celebrate your ability to enjoy this blog from beyond the grave. You might want to creep on over to the nearest university science department and announce your amazing discovery.
But for those of you with pulses, Christmas came once again like it always does. Like it always will. Nothing can stop it. Not even Bill O’Really and the American Family Association’s imagined “War on Christmas.”
In the past the Ice Cold War has focused mainly advertisers not saying “Merry Christmas,” and Christians insisting that they have a first amendment right to walk into any department store from Halloween to New Year’s and see a gargantuan sign telling them that they were born into the right religion. This year much of the attention was focused on American Atheists’ controversial billboard claiming that the story of Jesus’ birth is a myth.
But some kept their eyes on the prize: never tiring in their struggle to make America’s one true church — the shopping mall — a place for Christians only.
The American Family Association, one of those despicable “Jews and Queers control the media” organizations, puts out a Naughty and Nice list every year, keeping good Christians up to date on which stores it’s okay to shop at, and which ones they have to cross themselves as they walk past. If you can think of a company, AFA has probably organized a boycott against it, either because the company themselves is scandalously non-Christian, or because they’ve run an advertisement during a television program the with a gay character or something.
Basically, you get on the naughty list by not saying “Christmas” enough. This year, the Nice list — which includes Target, Walmart, Sears and Rite Aid — is more than three times longer than the Naughty list — featuring Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker and Victoria’s Secret. The AFA regards this ratio as a victory, but truthfully there is mixed information about whether their boycotts actually work.
A few things pop out at me when I look at these lists. For one thing, who the hell does their Christmas shopping at Rite Aid? And what about Victoria’s Secret? According to the AFA, good proper virtuous Christians aren’t permitted to browse the aisles at America’s most popular lingerie shop because they don’t honor Jesus by constantly mentioning that it’s his birthday. I mean, what Christian was planning to buy a pair of tiger-print Bare Ultimate Hiphugger panties from the Body by Victoria collection for his wife? Or his mistress….or himself — okay, bad example.
Clothing retailer Gap was back on the naughty list this year after being tagged last year as not Christmas-friendly. Let’s take a look at one of last year’s television spots, part of the campaign known as “Go Ho Ho.” Like most Gap ads, this one features dancers dressed in tacky clothes performing some rather impressive moves. And it features a cheer, which by definition makes it a little annoying. But if you listen to what they’re saying, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Two, four, six, eight
‘Tis the time to liberate.
Go Christmas, go Hanukkah
Go Kwanzaa, go Solstice
Go classic tree, go plastic tree
Go plant a tree, go without a tree
You eighty-six the rules
You do what just feels right
And to all a cheery night.
Yes, the AFA boycotted the company for being inclusive. Gap later released an Old Navy ad featuring those awful mannequins that used both “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas,” and so they were taken off the list, but made it on again this year.
To tell you the truth, I rather like the “Go Ho Ho” ad. It recognizes the fact that many people are celebrating one holiday or another this time of year, one that often includes gift exchange, and also the freedom we all have to do whatever we want. Not like other retailers who insist that the only way to be a good person is to stuff so many presents under the tree that it actually lifts it off the ground, and when you open them the tree falls on your aunt Mildred. And how many women fall prey to the jewelers’ ads saying that if your boyfriend doesn’t propose to you this Christmas then he doesn’t really love you?
Advertisers are almost as devious as religions, and they use almost the same tactics. Don’t fall for their manipulation that promises you love and group acceptance in exchange for your money and you passing on their trendy artificial-feel-good messages to others. Just think for yourself.
My sincere wish for you and yours during the Christmakwanzukkah season is the same that is for you and yours every day of the year. I hope you did exactly what you wanted to do. I hope you didn’t hurt anyone, or go out of your way to offend people, or focus on how much better you are than people who believe different things. I hope you met your responsibilities and found the time to enjoy yourself too. I hope that, if you wanted to, you got to see your family and friends, and they all got along. I hope there was good food, but I hope you didn’t eat too much, and I especially hope you didn’t drink too much, and if you did, for the love of godzilla I hope you didn’t drive anywhere. I hope you were happy and safe and that you continue to be. I wish this for you on December 25th, and on March 3rd, and August 19th and Septober 39th.
Happy Dowhateveryouwannukkah. I wish I’d come up with that.
mr dan is vice president of CVA. The views expressed in this post are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Connecticut Valley Atheists or its individual members.