the Disillusioned kid: December 2008
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Xmas (War is Over) 2008

Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq (Dec 24)

Amritsar, India (Dec 24)

Zimbabwe Embassy, London (Dec 20)

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Episode V: The Seasonal Message Strikes Back

It's that time again. Happy shoppers are congregating in the cathedrals of consumerism, turkeys are contemplating going into hiding and Ron Wood's on tour once more. The annual celebration of Cliff Richard's birthday is a holiday replete with traditions old and new, but none more important than the Disillusioned kid seasonal message. Now in it's fifth year (no I hadn't either) this is almost the only reason this blog exists, given its inactivity over so much of the previous year. Fortunately its also a tour de force of shiny prose, witty reflections and cutting insight. (Note: prose, reflection and insight are not guaranteed.)

This is usually my opportunity to reflect on the so-called "War on Christmas" which the oxygen wasters of the right get so excited about. This year, the latest front in this war has opened up not far from me in Nottingham. Greenwood Junior School in Sneinton has got into all sorts of trouble for postponing a Christmas performance. According to the Torygraph:
Greenwood Junior School sent out a letter to parents saying the three-day festival of Eid al-Adha, which takes place between December 8 and 11, meant that Muslim children would be off school. That meant planning for the traditional nativity play were shelved because the school felt it would be too difficult to run both celebrations side by side.

The move has left parents furious. Janette Lynch, whose seven-year-old son Keanu attends the school, in Sneinton, Nottingham, said: "The head has a whole year to plan for Eid and so she should be able to plan for both religious festivals. I have never heard of this at a school. It is the first year my son has been there and a lot of the mums like me were really looking forward to seeing the children in the nativity."
Predictably, this hasn't gone down well with the fascist onanists of the BNP who quickly moved in to try and make political capital from the controversy. They grumbled, "such outrages will inevitably progress from the exception to the norm, if Britain fails to embrace the BNP and continues its present headlong plunge into the abyss."

Of course, reality is rather more complicated than the knuckle draggers can understand. An Associated Press report suggests that it isn't a nativity at all, but rather a pantomime (Cinderella, in fact) and that it hasn't been cancelled, only postponed to late January.

This pattern will be familiar to students of the War on Christmas: a manufactured controversy fuelling manufactured outrage which can then be capitalised on by the political right. In America where the Christian right is a major political movement this is all a much bigger deal. Here it's rather easier to be dismissive. The recently leaked BNP membership list indicates that the BNP are not a major political force in the Nottingham city area and with several of their prominent members in the area having left the party over the last year or so (including those most likely responsible for the leak) this can't have done them many favours.

In any case, as I've argued in previous years, the fundamental premise of the War on Christmas is wrong. Christmas is only superficially a Christian festival. The timing and most of the traditions are taken wholesale from paganism and any number of religious festivals take place at this time of year. Personally as a godless atheist hedonist I intend to enjoy as many of them as possible with little or no regard for their theocratic justifications. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we abolish religion and smash the state!

Happy Christmas, Chrismukkah, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, Duckmass, Hannukah, Hogmany, Holidays, HumanLight, Koruchun, Kwanza, New Year, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Winterval, Yalda and/or Yule!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

The War on Christmas

The Greeks really know how to celebrate Christmas.

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