Thursday, December 20, 2012
I don't want to be all Scrooge-like, but find "Happy Holidays" kind of annoying. That's true of "Season's Greetings," too. I believe that people say these things sincerely, but they're euphemisms, designed not to "offend" people who don't believe in the religion whose origin is celebrated at Christmas. I say "Bah, humbug!" to that.
This rant was inspired by a note from a friend in another city. He and I met a few years ago; we exchange emails and send each other links to things of mutual interest, mostly political. The other day he sent me this link . It's a video of a flash mob at some mall surprising the shoppers with Christmas carols. It's nice, well-done as far as my tin ear can appreciate, and all the listeners seem happy with it. I wrote and thanked him, as happy events are in pretty short supply lately. He wrote back that he almost hadn't sent it, since knowing I'm Jewish he was afraid that it might offend me. It didn't, of course, nor did the idea that he was thoughtful about my possible sensitivity. I told him not to worry, that others expressing their beliefs doesn't offend me.
On reflection, though, I find that's not exactly true. The beliefs that aren't offensive are those of people who sincerely hold theirs and respect other peoples' rights to do the same. Sometimes those people offer to share their beliefs but, if you decline, they wish you well and go on their way. They may be devout members of some denomination or other, confirmed atheists, or anything in between, but they have in common a decent respect for other people and their rights. The beliefs that offend me are those of the self-righteous and the bigot; I'd list a few but you can supply your own as easily. Besides, I'd like to be as cheerful as possible right now.
In that vein, what makes me smile is people sincerely wishing me and each other a "Merry Christmas." Why on Earth would anyone take offense at a wish for their happiness? Why would someone not want to be merry and have others be likewise? The only explanation I can find for such politically correct Grinchiness (at least now that the Puritans have mercifully disappeared) has nothing to do with either religion or its denial. It's about power, petty one-upmanship, making people uncomfortable and unhappy just to show you can.
I say screw that. It's nasty. Let's not let them bother us.
So to all of you reading this, a very hearty and outspoken "Merry Christmas!" from your friendly neighborhood Hebrew, agnostic, secular Provocateur.
And just in case....God bless us, every one!