Monday, December 15, 2008

Hitchens: 'Tis the Season to be Incredulous

Fed up at this time of year? Christopher Hitchens voices his distain for Christmas, in Slate today: (article)

As in such dismal banana republics, the dreary, sinister thing is that the official propaganda is inescapable. You go to a train station or an airport, and the image and the music of the Dear Leader are everywhere. You go to a more private place, such as a doctor's office or a store or a restaurant, and the identical tinny, maddening, repetitive ululations are to be heard. So, unless you are fortunate, are the same cheap and mass-produced images and pictures, from snowmen to cribs to reindeer. It becomes more than usually odious to switch on the radio and the television, because certain officially determined "themes" have been programmed into the system. Most objectionable of all, the fanatics force your children to observe the Dear Leader's birthday, and so (this being the especial hallmark of the totalitarian state) you cannot bar your own private door to the hectoring, incessant noise, but must have it literally brought home to you by your offspring.


Imagine that conclusive archaeological and textual evidence emerged to prove that the whole story of the birth, life, and death of Jesus of Nazareth was either a delusion or a fabrication? Suppose the mother had admitted shyly that, in fact, she had fallen pregnant for predictable reasons? Suppose we found the post-Calvary body?

Serious Christians, of the sort I have been debating lately, would have no choice but to consider such news as absolutely calamitous.


  1. "If all the official stories of monotheism, from Moses to Mormonism, were to be utterly and finally discredited, we would be exactly where we are now. All the agonizing questions that we face, from the idea of the good life and our duties to each other to the concept of justice and the enigma of existence itself, would be just as difficult and also just as fascinating. It takes a totalitarian mind-set to claim that only one Bronze Age Palestinian revelation or prophecy or text can be our guide through this labyrinth. If the totalitarians cannot bear to abandon their adoration of their various Dear Leaders, can they not at least arrange to hold their ceremonies in private?"

    Christmas will live long after the life of Jesus is debunked. Hitchens will still have to bear Christmas Carols, Trees, lights, etc. Christmas has very little to do with Jesus Christ anymore. It's all about getting gifts and getting drunk with co-workers and family you barely see. I'm ok with that but only because there's ample amounts of booze.

  2. Yup...It's a routine(rut?) by now. But, an altogether acceptable one because it's fun to have some time off, get together and party it up a bit.

  3. I think it's great for kids but a huge pain for adults. Too much of the fun is forced, especially the dreaded office party... Also, for anybody who has worked in retail, seeing that side of humanity is ugly. I'm no commie, but the over the top commercialization is hard to stomach.

  4. The commercialization is hard to endure but it's another big reason why Christmas will endure. It's too much of a money maker.

  5. Christmas (Yule) was a pagan holiday, long before Christ was born. They have no idea what day Christ was born on. People refused to stop celebrating, so the Christan church decided to name the holiday for Christ`s birthday. In other words it`s all bullshit. So lighten up and enjoy the season.

  6. Scorching point Anon. It's culture. And we all need a little culture. We're human, we like excuses to chill out. And, we all know excuses are bullshit.