Sunday, December 24, 2006

A holiday tree deconstructed

Just got back from a Christmas wander through Katoomba; possibly my last. I'm happy to settle for "merry christmas" as a way of greeting the passer-by one ignores all the rest of the year. And I am still quite a traditionist when it comes to Christmas. This year I bought wildly extravagant salads in David Jones Food Hall and a big Christmas ham from Franklin's to balance things. It was roughly the same amount spent on the two strands of the family - the vegetarians, and carnivores - though I'm more your omnivore as I can happily eat vegetarian food meal after meal (but not with a leg of ham in the fridge). My new fridge is smaller but I can squeeze it all in.

Why do I like Christmas (not, repeat, CHRISTmas)? Because I grew up in a Christian household. We wore it more lightly than some but I was naturalised to its customs and did all my unpicking when I left home. I had such a jolly time that I wanted my kids to get the same colour and excitement from Christmas as I did (and I'd call it Xmas except my folks didn't like the term) We've pretty much succeeded but, a couple of years into a divorce, we're only just having separate mum/dad Christmas and I'm pretty much prepared (see above para.) so yay Christmas.


I've been thinking some more about that twinkly poison bush email and trying to reconcile it with my own appreciation of Christmas tradition. The expression 'Muslim bitch' even in smaller footnotes - to the "witty" rant about what a CHRISTmas Tree was - would never have appeared in any of our post-Christmas ruminations. We thought of going and getting the tree (and we lived on a farm named Pine Grove so this was a relatively easy task but one bestowed with a good deal of ceremony)but not of using it in some polarising polemic that actually puts people off their tucker.
I, therefore, consider this email to be very unChristmassy in both its approach and its subject matter.

Another thing I should add (on Christmas Eve, he really does have everything organised!) is that the phrase '[...] bitch' is quite contentless. Try it yourself. Ready? mistletoe bitch, Burl Ives bitch, der Bingle bitch, Israel Balin bitch
I'm writing my list, I'm checking it twice

Now, about that snow, what is your main problem? Do you agree with the US law allowing the use of peyote for religious purposes? You don't own any Bob Marley albums do you? Uh huh, religious purposes. Let's see, what would I rather a religious adherent does: take their belief so seriously that hitting me with a chunk of my own goddamn masonry is preferable to selling rock stars their coke. Am I that fucked up an individual?

When you start categorising people by the faith they subscribe to, the reductionism is without limit. That is, provided you're willing to see through your viewpoint on the world. After all you can't be a Christian who goes to the odd service and attends christenings and weddings, and then say on the other hand that Muslims are all completely committed and crazed. Doesn't equate. You might be a little low on the 'give away all your worldly goods and follow me' commie Christ when it comes to being charitable. Yet you condemn a whole group of people by the actions of their most militant brothers. Are you going to take responsibility for the burning of books, the razing of complex civilisations, the torment and torture of draconian laws and deep divisions and schisms everlasting?

You're not?

Then you must think you are just one part of the warp and weave of Christendom, a small part of teeming millions who believe that an incarnation of Big Feller God came to Earth and lived as a man and died for our sins. The point of Christmas - and of following Christ's example - is to be loving and forgiving. Yet all you can do is turn the water of life into a whine and get your facts wrong.

Next time, just send the card.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yule be sorry

[the following email was forwarded to me at work]


> --
> A Holiday Tree


> This, is a Christmas tree.
> It is not a Hanukkah bush,
> it is not an Allah plant,
> it is not a Holiday hedge.
> It is a Christmas tree.
> Say it... CHRISTmas , CHRISTmas , CHRISTmas
> Yes, CHRISTmas - celebrating the

> Birth of Jesus Christ!!!
> Take a stand and pass this on !!
If anyone knows the email address of that muslim bitch who advises the PM on muslim protocol who got let off being charged on the cocaine smuggling charges on
>account of her "religious beliefs", be sure to send her two copies.

>Ta. And no, I won't be turning down my Christmas lights so as not to offend her or
>any other towel heads who believe they are above the law because they didn't have
a ham and cheese bagel for lunch whilst they are smuggling cocaine, extorting
money out of nightclub owners or mugging lifesavers so that they can claim
Cronulla for themselves.
>You are criminals. You may have the politicians in your pocket, but the rest
of us are not buying your bullshit.

and my reply:

Fair enough but the profound irony in all this is, of course, that the whole idea of the tree is nicked directly from PAGAN beliefs. Early Christian leaders were against this kind of Saturnalian display and one or two rulers outright banned them under punishment of death. Ultimately, like gargoyles on the parapet, the date time of celebration of Christmas and Easter - and numerous saints feast days - the Church, unable to stamp out the people's ancient festivals, co-opted them instead.

Blessed be!

Well he did ask me to take a stand so I did!!
(I think the towelhead reference has something to do with the Three Wise Men ;-( )

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Scrooge you all!

As we're rapidly approaching the season of good will to all men and good wilma to all women, I thought it might be timely to fire a shot across the bow to some of the jerks who really don't deserve my festive cheer:

  • Fiji military: four coups in a decade! what's the excuse this time, you dickless wonders
  • Burmese junta: at least they're consistent in their tyranny. big crummy deal
  • Augusto Pinochet: an object lesson in the perils of US intervention
  • OJ Simpson: surely the worst example of not knowing when to have the good grace to quit
  • George W Bush: for lowering the debate and only agreeing to consult when the shit has well and truly hit the fan
  • John Howard: how being a lying opportunist can get you all the way to the top - and keep you there. depressing, isn't it?
  • Philip Ruddock: a disgrace to his Amnesty badge and a traitor to our democratic traditions
  • al Qaeda and the Taliban: the spirituality of a rabid dog - if they populate Paradise then I'll take my chances elsewhere

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A teen

My son turns 18 today. That makes me offically old, if I wasn't already. We're having a dinner at the local with family friends, a couple of his friends that he's had since we first moved to the Mountains, his mum and sister, and my girlfriend and I.
She's nervous as this is the first occasion on which she has 'joined the family' for an event. It'll be fun, and he says that he can endure it as he'll be thinking of getting his new Wii, which is released tomorrow.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rudd awakening

It was inevitable that repeat loser, Kim Beazley jr., would be challenged for the leadership. Not because he has failed in the past to secure victory for the ALP - many leaders of both persuasions have come from prior defeat to enjoy periods in government - but because he just couldn't turn a trick. And the electorate showed that, while they were disenchanted with a run of bad legislation introduced by a government drunk with power, this was not enough for them to consider Beazley as an alternative leader.

This then, is more about Beazley bombing than his challenger offering his own dynamic agenda. Regardless, whatever allows the Aus public to vote Howard out is alright by me.