My Problem with American Christmas

I don’t hate Christmas. Peace on Earth, good will to all. What’s not to love? Hell, even if it was just about celebrating Jesus’ birthday, I’d be cool with that. I mean, I’m not particularly Christian, but I am a big fan of Jesus. Just read the Sermon on the Mount. That’s the real deal, right there. If we all took its lessons and precepts to heart, the world would be a lot nicer place to live in.

But American Christmas is only nominally about all those things.

Don’t believe me? Read the lyrics to Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

American Christmas is about being rewarded with material wealth in return for obedience to authority, as monitored by a ubiquitous and invisible judge who not only watches you sleep but will ding you for even expressing dissatisfaction.

Do what you’re told, with a smile on your face, and you will get stuff.

Now, I’m no theologian, but that sounds about as far from the Gospels as a thing could be.

And don’t even get me started on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

An Open Letter to Don’t-Be-That-Guy Guy

The other day a woman I know posted about narrowly escaping being snatched off the street by a man who intended her harm. The vast majority of comments were what a decent person would expect, things along the line of “OMG I hope you are okay” and “Did you report it?” and “WTF?!?” You know, the kinds of things you say when someone you know tells you they were almost kidnapped and raped and who the fuck knows what else.

Your contribution?

“Would it have been a hot rape at least? Was the guy good looking, or short, fat, and ugly?”

You excused it as gallows humor. You were “trying to make light of [her] horrible situation.” You “meant absolutely no harm.” You told the original poster — the woman, I’ll remind you, writing about almost being kidnapped, raped, and who knows what else — “You obviously don’t like my crude gallows humor. And for that I apologize” which is about the weaselly-est non-apology I’ve ever read.

Then you blocked her, because despite making a show of how little the dogpile of her actual friends calling your sorry ass out affected you, it was clear that it did. So you took the coward’s way out. Because in addition to being a shit-heel of the lowest order, you aren’t man enough to face the consequences of your shitty action, just like you weren’t man enough to make a real apology.

Just like you weren’t man enough to take what happened to my friend seriously in the first place. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Don’t-Be-That-Guy Guy”