Friday, December 28, 2007

A little off topic, but....

Normally, you'll probably notice that I stick pretty stringently to the subject of defending the Albanian people against the scurrilous lies being perpetrated out there by the "Haters", and exposing the hypocrisy of the selfsame "Haters" as well. Heck, I've even been sent articles about Serbian atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia and have opted not to print them, not because I don't think they're any good, or that they're not true, but simply because I choose to stick to the above mentioned parameters, instead of wandering off far afield. However, this time I'm making an exception, to show just how guided by emotion (to say nothing of personal hypocrisy) and not by reason most of the "Haters" are in ALL things, not just those pertaining to the Albanian people.

In a couple of recent blog entries, our ol' buddy La Julia rants over Wal-Mart allegedly "dissing" (her exact term) Jesus. How did they do this? By allowing some sacrilegious book or movie to be carried in their stores? By carrying some Death Metal group's album that has Anti-Jesus lyrics or something like that? Noppers! She had her undies in a bunch because-TA DA!-what turned out to be ONE Wal-Mart store (not the whole chain, as she originally assumed) started taking down their Christmas decorations a couple of days before Christmas, and putting up Valentine's Day ones.

Now unlike La Julia, I'm not a big Wal-Mart person. I don't like the crowds (then again, I'm not usually crazy about crowds anyway), and I also don't like the way the company has IMO betrayed founder Sam Walton's original vision, including his dedication to featuring products made in the USA (remember those old 80's ad campaigns?), not outsourced to companies in foreign countries. But I do find myself going there from time to time, including at Christmas time. Being a fairly observant guy when it comes to my surroundings, I have to say that I have noticed what have come to be considered "Christmas" decorations (things like holly, Santa Claus, wreaths, tinsel, colored lights, reindeer-pictures of them, not the real thing-etc.), not because they have anything to do with Jesus and his birth per se, but because they have been "adopted" into the celebration over the centuries by way of several different twists and turns in the culture. They have nothing to do with Jesus (unless you count Santa, and then only by way of his origins), to say nothing of his birth But I can't honestly say I've ever seen any Creches, pictures of the Baby Jesus (or of Mary and Joseph, for that matter), Wise Men, Shepherds, Stars over silhouettes of Bethlehem, or other decorations regarding Christmas as a specifically Christian holiday in a Wal-Mart, or at least not in the Wal-Mart I go to.

So at this point I have to ask, "why the rage"? The decorations taken down may have been "seasonal", but I strongly doubt they had anything to do with the birth of The Christ. So how's that "dissing" Jesus? Where's the "reason" in this? Seems to be more spleen than sagacity to our favorite little Albanophobe's protestations. Well, according to La Julia, what it's really about is "commercialisation". Sayeth she:

"One thing I can’t stand about the commercialization of Christmas is that everyone just uses God for their own seasonal enjoyment or business."

Well, if that's the case, then I'd think she'd actually be happy if Wal-Mart, or our whole culture/society, for that matter, did not put up "Christmas" decorations in commercial establishments, or promote the hell out of "Christmas Sales", or even have such a thing as a "Black Friday" (shows how much people in retail must love their jobs, if they refer to the day they get the most business by that moniker)! But evidently she is oblivious to the contradiction of bitching about the taking down of decorations that are all a part of the commercialisation of something she feels should be held as sacrosanct, and not commercialised at all. She then goes on to say:

"Doesn’t the Bible say something about how when you start placing the dollar above God and meaning, you get in trouble?”
Um, that would be found in Matthew 6:24, Julia: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon". But anyway, welcome to the "real world" of American style Capitalism, Julie baby. In case you haven't noticed, America has been commericalising the heck out of Christmas for well over a century now. See, that's the thing about Capitalism-it may be the best system in the world (and I speak as someone who is very definitely pro-free-enterprise and pro-free-market), but it's also a product of human minds, and hence subject to the imperfections of those minds (and hearts). You want merchants and people in general to respect Christmas? So do I and many others. But you can't have it both ways-either putting up decorations in commercial establishments is respectful of a religion or it's holiday(s) (or at least can be if done right), or it is not. (IMO it can be, if it is tasteful and respectful-but few store Christmas decoration schemes are.) Simple as that. You can't say first:

“One thing I can’t stand about the commercialization of Christmas is that everyone just uses God for their own seasonal enjoyment or business."
and then go on to later say:
"But really, Wal-Mart — to not even keep the decorations up long enough for the man’s birthday, the occasion you just made a huge profit off of, is reprehensible."

As a certain Robot from a certain 60's Sci-Fi show would say "That does not compute!" But then the topper comes here....

“I never even read the Bible, but I know that’s in there. This is just using religion, and it’s disrespectful.”
Interesting. Someone who supports devout religiosity in others (so long as the religion in question is Christianity or Judaism), and complains about the co-option by their beloved socio-economic system of religious holidays admits they never crack a bible. Someone who is unabashedly "pro-capitalist", yet complains about one of the things that is at the very core of the free-enterprise system (or at least in those countries that have their roots in English colonisation). But then again, this is someone who, for example, is also pro-life, calls women who use birth control "whores", yet admits herself that she doesn't particularly like kids, or evidently intend on having any, either. To use another quote from the Bible: "Physician, heal thyself!"

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