Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas - The Culture War


Well, it’s that time again, with angry types on the Right complaining that there isn’t enough Christ in Christmas, and angry types on the Left arguing that we should be having Christmas at all. So far, that’s the usual routine. I really think there are people who feel obliged to bicker just to do so, to go through the motions of not only having an opinion, but fighting for it to somehow prove their devotion. At least, that’s the only way I can explain the bitter hostility to things like Santa Claus and Christmas Trees.

Yes, that’s right. Here in Houston there was actually a group protesting displays which included the jolly old elf and brightly decorated trees. I took a few religion courses back in school, and there is nothing in Christian doctrine of any major denomination, which connects the myth of Santa Claus to the faith, nor emphasizes the use of indoor foilage as a sign of piety. But there you are; the fat guy and the gaudy tree have been connected to that whole Christanity thing in the public mind, and so that perception is driving a counter-offensive against it. It seems extraordinarily silly, but then to me, so does proving your love by blowing the limit on your credit card.

Part of it can be blamed on the ‘Narnia’ movies. Liberals, who understand the meaning of symbolism and metaphor, are alarmed at the apparent indoctrination of children to such things as love for others, devotion to truth and good, or a sense of personal responsibility. They apparently prefer to have children made to appreciate class warfare, reverse race and sexism, the campaigns of victimization, or the evils of dominant cultures. Anyway, I think it really hit home this year, when ‘Harry Potter’ introduced not only the sixth book in the series, but also the fourth movie. While extremists on the Right were offended by what they saw as glamorization (pun intended) of Witchcraft, extremists on the Left were appalled to discover that the protagonists in the ‘Harry Potter’ series were exhibiting behavior that could reasonably be described as, gasp, Christian. The horror!

So here we are, with a campaign to abolish Santa Claus. Of course, it’s been in the works for a while; the original Saint Nick smoked a pipe. Can’t have that now. I figure in ten years or so, we’ll start seeing a Santa Claus who is on the latest diet, and would never think of intruding on a family without their knowledge and permission. That is, a non-magic, non-ofensive, totally banal Santa Clause. From ‘HO HO HO’ to ‘hum hum hum’.

As for me, while my faith hardly requires it, it’s a fat, happy, smoking Santa Claus for my decor, and a tree wrapped in foil and lights. It’s not about fighting anything you understand, but my daughter likes such things, and that makes it important for me to encourage her joy.


Ebon said...

Perhaps this is a generational thing but I can't remember a pipe-smoking Santa.

DJ Drummond said...

Go back to the 1950s or earlier, and his pipe is everywhere.