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Oct. 16th, 2013

Grinch Watch 2013: Equal Opportunity Grinchiness

Yesterday was the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. I hope all of my Muslim readers had a great holiday and spent time with their family and friends.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Grinch Brigade is no longer happy with throwing fits about how secular Christmas has become, it seems that now they're targeting other holidays, including Eid. In Montgomery County, in Maryland, about forty-five minutes outside of Washington DC, Muslims in the area have been trying for about a decade now to have the schools closed on Eid so that their kids don't end up missing class for their holiday. Their arguments are sound- Montgomery County school district closes down for Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter. All three of those are Christian holidays. They also close down for the Jewish High Holidays. But they don't close down for Eid.

Personally? As a former student? I would say HELL YEAH to getting the schools closed for Eid. I love holidays! If I could get away with it, I would celebrate ALL THE HOLIDAYS. And seriously, Eid isn't like some random, teeny little cult's holiday. There's about a billion Muslims in the world, and according to the news article, several million Muslims in Montgomery County alone. That's a significant number of kids and teachers who are going to be out of school/work on that day. So shut the school district down. Muslim students and teachers get to have their holiday, and everyone else gets the day off from school. I don't see a reason to argue with that!

However, some people do not see it that way. I hesitate to offer links, because some of the rhetoric is mind-bogglingly offensive. However, you can get sample of it in the comments to the USA Today news article. But you would not believe the vitriol this has inspired in certain parts of the Internet. While I was Googling for the article (that wasn't behind the paywall I read it in first), I accidentally clicked on the Free Republic link. I do not want to give them page hits, so I won't link to it, but I'll give you a few samples of the comments from the site here, underneath the cut. Please do not click on the “read more” if you do not want to see this. I tried to pick some of the less obnoxiously racist ones, but... less obnoxiously racist than the rest of that website doesn't mean much. Please realize that these are in no way my opinion whatsoever and are 100% the words of their writers only.

Mar. 21st, 2013

Grinch Watch 2013: FFS, IT IS MARCH!

While most of the time, this blog focuses on just random things I feel like writing about, I do have some recurring features- some which are written more regularly than others. The fic rec, for example, barring any extenuating circumstances, is posted once a month, while other features, such as the series I write dissecting Michael and Debi Pearl's teachings, is posted whenever I feel up to actually trying to wade through their crap.

But I never thought I would be writing up a Grinch Watch post IN MARCH. Jesus H. Gundam Christ, you can't even let three months pass from the past year's Christmas before you lot start ranting on about how Christmas is under attack from secular forces? I mean, the first Grinch Watch post of 2012 was in NOVEMBER! At least that's somewhat more reasonable of a time frame. I mean, seriously, wait at least until stores start putting their Christmas crap up for decoration. Which... should probably be sometime in July if recent trends have been anything to go by, but that's neither here nor there.

The strange time-frame of this announcement notwithstanding, it gets even crazier. Oh no, my friends, this is no ordinary grumpy Grinch. This is everyone's favorite former vice presidential candidate from Alaska- yes, that's right, Sarah Palin is getting in on the Grinchiness.

While, in fairness to her, the book is scheduled to be published sometime in November of this year, the press release was given several days ago. Ironically, she claims, and this is directly verbatim from the article:

"Amidst the fragility of this politically correct era, it is imperative that we stand up for our beliefs before the element of faith in a glorious and traditional holiday like Christmas is marginalized and ignored," Palin said in a statement released through her publisher. "This will be a fun, festive, thought provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas."

Bit ironic, really- the only Scrooge I see here is Palin, dredging up the old War on Christmas zombie.

Dec. 19th, 2012

Grinch Watch 2012: Fighting Grinches, One Bass-Drop At A Time

For once I have something amusing to report in the Grinch Watch. This guy knows how to party! Taking on haters, one dubstep-lightshow at a time.

However, I do advise readers with light sensitivity or epilepsy to not watch the video- it is very jerky and has many flashing lights.

Dec. 11th, 2012

Grinch Watch 2012: Let Loose the Dogs of... Christmas?!

What's this? Two back-to-back Grinch Watch posts? In the same day? Holy shit! Unfortunately, yes. Dammit people, stop it! You don't own Christmas!

Once again, this manufactured outrage comes from a Fox News source. However, unlike yesterday's example, all they've managed to do is make themselves look like fun-hating asshats.

So, the Obama family has sent out their Christmas cards. If the West Wing is to be believed, anyone who's written to the White House in the past year, as well as friends of the family, other people in the government, and visiting dignitaries, receive Christmas cards from the President. Sending greetings around the holidays isn't a purely Christian thing, either. My Buddhist Japanese professor sent us all new year's cards last year. I have acquaintances of various religions who send greetings around this time of year. It's considered a culturally polite thing to do here in the United States. Anyway, back to the Obama's Christmas card. This year, it features a photograph of Bo, their dog, frolicking in the snow outside of the White House (although I'm not sure where they got the photo, considering it's been fairly warm in Washington DC this year). It's a cute picture, and holiday-appropriate.

Apparently people are upset about it, because it doesn't actually mention Christmas.

WHY? I just don't get it. Lots of people send out Christmas cards that are not overtly religious. Last year, even my religious mother sent out Christmas cards that had pictures of cute snowmen on them. They weren't specifically Christian. She just thought they were cute. This year, her cards actually are specifically religious, as they depict the archangel appearing to the shepherds, and that's fine too. In the past, her cards have been pictures of my brother and me, or pictures of the whole family.

The article ends with a snarky comment along the lines of “Jesus, not a Portuguese Water Dog, is the reason for the season.”

Yes, that might be true in the most technical sense. But who died and made you the King of Christmas? You don't get to determine how someone celebrates the holiday, or how they choose to decorate. I like owls, so I have several Christmas owl-themed decorations. The Obamas choose to decorate with motifs of their pet dog. You are free to decorate with religious imagery if you wish. No one is saying that you can't. It's a free country, you can do what you want for your holiday celebration.

Just stop trying to tell other people how they can and cannot wish their friends season's greetings. It's not an attack on your religion, it's not an attack on you personally. Grow up and let everyone enjoy the season without you scolding them like a Sunday School teacher. It's nobody's business how the Obamas want to celebrate the holiday, and it's certainly not your problem if they want to send out cards with a photo of their pet.

Grinch Watch 2012: Oh FFS, Stop Giving Them Ammo!

So, today's Grinch story comes from Fox News. For my non-American readers, Fox News is a notoriously right-leaning news channel that tends to cater to fundamentalist Christians. Since most people, even other conservatives, tend to consider anything from Fox News a bit suspect I normally wouldn't include sources from them, especially for a more serious post like this one.

So why am I including it in the Grinch Watch? The Grinch Watch has, in various forms, been going on here on this blog since 2010, although this is the first year I've actually given a name to it. I've spent a lot of time debunking the alleged “war on Christmas” that evangelicals think non-Christians are waging. But I'm including it because if this is true, then I have to say that they might- just might- have a fraction of a bit of a point, because if this is true, this secular person thinks the secular person in this story has gone completely overboard.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of those television shows that everyone in the English-speaking world has probably seen at least once. It's a story of the Peanuts cast putting on Christmas pageant and getting a scraggly looking little Christmas tree, while Charlie Brown talks about how commercialized the season has gotten. It's one of those things that is so ingrained in our holiday culture, it's like the Coca-Cola ads with Santa Claus and polar bears. Everyone goes “WTF!?” if it's taken out of the holiday season.

I'd also like to add that there is literally nothing offensive about that cartoon.

Yes, Linus does recite the story of the Nativity, from the book of Luke in the Bible.

But honestly, if you don't believe in it, then why get so butthurt when it's literally a three-minute segment in a television program about the holidays? Do you get upset when you hear someone telling stories from the Greek myths? What about the tales of the Norse gods? Or even the fairy tales most people grew up with? Are you enraged by Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast? What about Egla the Serpent Queen? How in the world did you get through World History in school? When I took it, we learned about Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and yes, even Christianity. How did you manage to graduate if you shit a brick at the merest mention of religion?

This atheistic-leaning agnostic wants to tell you to chill the fuck out and take a few deep breaths. The world is not going to end if schoolchildren see the Charlie Brown Christmas television special.

I'd also like to bring to attention the fact that this article states that attendance was not mandatory- it was a field trip. There were field trips I wasn't allowed to go on growing up- my eighth-grade class trip to New York City? My mother didn't let me go, saying that she was afraid I wouldn't take my medication if I went. There is no law saying that your child has to attend every field trip that the school proposes. Yes, your child might be pretty damn angry with you if you don't let them go on the trip, but if you are that strongly opposed to Christmas specials, then just don't sign the damn form!

I am kind of loath to say this, because I don't like agreeing with the religious lunatics on anything, but damn dude, you're giving the rest of us secularists a bad name. Yes, I am aware that the event was held at a church. So what. Like I said, if you are that opposed to it, just don't sign off on the form and let the other kids go watch their television program in peace. All this guy has managed to do with this is alienate a large number of people and make himself look like the second coming of Ebenezer Scrooge.

EDIT: Several hours after I wrote the draft of this post, I was able to find another source- this time from the local NBC of the area. Here is the secondary source- I couldn't find a way to insert it into the main body of the text without having to rewrite the whole thing, and well, I'm lazy. Sorry about that.

Nov. 16th, 2012

Grinch Watch 2012: Let Loose The Elves of War!

how the “Evil Non-Christians” are out to ruin the holiday season, or to complain about how Christmas sucks and forces everyone into holiday cheer whether they like it or not. So this year, I've decided to make it an official thing- welcome to Grinch Watch 2012!

This year, the Grinches have come out ridiculously early. People, it's not even Thanksgiving yet! What the fuck. Seriously! At least wait until it's, you know, ACTUALLY THE CHRISTMAS SEASON before you start acting like a bunch of assholes! Sheesh.

Anyway, this year's first Grinch attack comes from Santa Monica, California, and for once, BOTH the Christians and the atheists are to blame for it. This atheistic agnostic wants to tell the both of them to sit down, shut the fuck up, and eat some Christmas cookies, goddammit! Or, since, like I said, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, eat some pumpkin pie or something. This article even came from October 11th of this year. Seriously.

Apparently, in Santa Monica, some Christians and some atheists are engaged in a fight about whether or not they can put their displays up on the public property. As I have said multiple times over the years, you can put whatever the hell you want up on your own property. If I want to put a nativity scene on my actual lawn, I can do that. If Eat at Joe's wants to wish their customers Eid Mubarak, they can do that. If the mall wants to tell everyone to have a happy Hanukkah, they can do that. Nobody cares what you do on your own property. What you can't do is put sectarian crap on the public property, because that's a violation of the separation of church and state.

Now, I can already hear the arguments. “But Kaboom! How come the White House has a Christmas tree! Isn't that promoting one religion over another?” To that, I say: “only if you're a complete dumbass.” A Christmas tree, in and of itself, isn't a particularly religious symbol. A lot of people have Christmas trees. I know a lot of people, and I grew up in a very diverse area. I know Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, and even pagan individuals who put up a Christmas tree around this time of year because they like the pretty decorations, and they like to give presents. If you don't like the pretty Christmas lights, I honestly don't know what to tell your crazy ass.

But to be honest, the atheists here aren't really much better. You're going to throw a fit about the damn nativity scene but still fight to put up your “solstice greetings?” Why can't you put those greetings on your own property? Why do they have to be on city-owned property? You lot are a disappointment to secular people everywhere, and you all need to grow up.

The city council in this situation did the right thing by voting to ban ALL displays on the public property. You can put your decorations up on property you own. Congrats, both sides of the debate, you ruined it for everyone with your idiotic infighting. Now the city can't even put up pretty lights and whatnot, thanks to you failing to one, follow the Constitution, and two, behave like the grown-ass adults you're all supposed to be. I am disappoint, and I hope you all get coal in your stockings for fucking up the holidays for everyone else in the town.