Monday, December 17, 2007

Snowball's Chance

What is it with people who sternly wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS? Is this some measure of defiance? Some perceived resistance to Happy Holidays newspeak? Whatever it is, it's pretty fucking annoying. Makes me want to burn down all the trees, feed ornaments into a wood chipper, and stomp on every nativity scene I see.

Christmas used to be a pleasant holiday for me -- not only as a child, but as a father with two young kids. My son still gets excited by the holiday, part of his overall nature, but the teen turned against the spectacle years ago, informing me of its exploitative features. Tough to honestly counter, especially where mass advertising, endless product placement, and cynical marketing are concerned. All I can do is shake my head in agreement, mutter an apology, watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for the 1,786th time, and remember quieter, happier moments under fragrant tree and soft blinking lights.

You'd think that if there were a real reason to be defiant, it would be in reaction to the corporate bulldozing of Christmas. But the MERRY CHRISTMAS stance appears more religiously based and very right wing in sentiment. I haven't seriously followed the whole "War on Christmas" self-pity party, since it seems more of a niche marketing concept than anything else. But this season, in good ol' liberal Ann Arbor, I've run into more and more of the MERRY CHRISTMASers, who speak as if conveying samizdat code, lest the godless overlords hear and force them to celebrate Kwanzaa as penance.

Sometimes I chalk moments like this up to the general madness of contemporary American life, the squeals of those crammed into the national veal crate, fattened for slaughter. But my emotions of late have been so bleak and clouded that I cannot accurately assess this present cultural trend. As with so much else, people seem confused, frightened, and anxious, and will clutch whatever totem gives them comfort, however mystical or fantastic it is. Indeed, the more mystical and fantastic, the better. Hard to disprove what really can't be proven.