Culture Warriors category archive
Tony Norman wonders why, amongst all the fuss about the phony “war on Christmas,” no one seems to care about the war on Thanksgiving.
That’s why I’m astounded that many of the loudest voices against the watering down of Christmas have given some of America’s biggest retail outlets a pass for making their underpaid, non-unionized employees work on Thanksgiving, the biggest family-oriented day of the year.
If you’re looking for ways to engage your Tea Party-loving brother-in-law in an argument that actually means something, ask him what he thinks of the fact that several relatives and quite a few friends aren’t having dinner with their families because they have to work Thanksgiving shifts at Kmart, Target, Sears and Wal-Mart.
The last place you will find me on Thanksgiving is at a big box store, or any store, for that matter.
We are going to have a quiet dinner and take a nap, while being thankful we are not fighting crazed shoppers bent on acquiring this year’s must-have, next year’s must-donate.
Perhaps the lack of uproar reveals what Americans truly revere.
Juliana Breines wonders why we blame victims and concludes that it’s selfish self-protection. A nugget.
Victim blaming is not just about avoiding culpability–it’s also about avoiding vulnerability. The more innocent a victim, the more threatening they are. Victims threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. When bad things happen to good people, it implies that no one is safe, that no matter how good we are, we too could be vulnerable. The idea that misfortune can be random, striking anyone at any time, is a terrifying thought, and yet we are faced every day with evidence that it may be true.
Read the rest.
Not Birch Beer, birch tea. Robyn Blumner:
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the John Birch Society, author Claire Conner of Dunedin can tell you. The radical right-wing group that was briefly a player in national conservative politics in the 1960s is back, under a different name: tea party.
The Koch brothers’ daddy was a Bircher.
They continue the tradition, but with more skillful P. R.
As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of Al Sharpton, but sometimes he’s right.
The generations raised to accept racism as normal and right, as, indeed, the will of Republican Jesus, are indeed shrinking, but they are not going out without a fight. If you doubt me, read today’s paper.
No doubt this is how Republican Jesus would have supported the troops.
It is clear that the primary Republican Family Values are spite and meanness for the fun of spite and mean.
Vindictory is theirs.
Strong in them is the capacity for stupid.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across the Facebook group “Chicken Pox Parties — New York Metro Area.” It has 143 members, all of whom, I’m guessing, are parents who have chosen not to vaccinate their kids against chickenpox and instead hope to build their kids’ immunity the old-fashioned way, by directly exposing them to the germs of a pox-infected child. They are not alone: Facebook has 14 other chickenpox party groups organized by geographical region, and if you can’t get to one in person, you can always ask to be sent a lollipop with an infected child’s spit on it.
Tom Long tries to figure it out.
According to the completely twisted standards of the Motion Picture Association of America’s rating system, you can murder 20 people in a movie and still get a PG-13 rating (which means anyone 13 and older can see the film) yet if you utter four harsh expletives, a movie draws an R rating (you have to be 17 or older to see the film, or be accompanied by an adult).
Sure that makes sense. It’s a bit like saying it’s better to punch someone than to curse at them. Neither is particularly admirable, but words won’t break a nose.
Movie ratings are even odder about the sexy bits (I nearly said “screwier,” but decided that that would be impolitic).
Since folks seem to fear that their little darlings will slavishly imitate whatever they see on the silvery screen, just the way that they did when they were young ‘uns, the message seems to be that it’s more acceptable to off people than to love them.
When someone speaks to you about the “Lost Cause,” ask him or her, “What exactly was the cause that was lost?”
Slave Master with Slaves
(Study for The American Historical Epic), circa 1924-27.
Crayon with pencil and ink on paper
Citation on request.
If there’s a war on Christmas, it looks to me like Christmas has won.
Yes, I know it has become part of some people’s cherished Christmas tradition to assume a Taliban-like intolerance to those who dare to use the word holidays in the hope of being inclusive to others who are not Christian.
But it seems to me the anger so inspired is hardly conducive to recruiting more Christians. Who would want to join a religion that goes out of its way to be obnoxious to outsiders, in stark defiance of its own beliefs? Goodwill among men? Bah, humbug.
Do read the rest, if only for the delightful bit in which he discusses Sarah Palin’s latest contribution to reducing the overall intelligence of the polity.
I got a dollar says we’ll be hearing more about this:
The highway marker is scheduled to be unveiled today (that was Friday–ed.) on the grounds of the historic New Bern Academy, where the unit had a farewell ceremony in July 1863, said Mike Hill of the N.C. Office of Archives and History. Less than a year later, the unit was renamed the 35th U.S. Colored Troops, according to a news release from the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, which oversees the highway marker program with the state Transportation Department.
Early Christmas shopping? Paul Collins explains that the backstory is not what you might think. A nugget:
Early shopping might have faded into history like other Gilded Age excesses were it not for the arrival of an utterly counterintuitive player into our story: progressive titan Florence Kelley. Better known today as a co-founder of the NAACP — and for teaming up with Upton Sinclair and Jack London to start the Intercollegiate Socialist Society — Kelley also has a special place under the historian’s Christmas tree. Her widely distributed 1903 essay, “The Travesty of Christmas,” was not, as you might expect from a socialist suffragette, an attack on early shopping — it was in support of it.
The December rush on stores, Kelley explained, brought “a bitter inversion of the order of holiday cheer” for overwhelmed clerks and delivery boys. Early shopping was part of Kelley’s crusades for child labor laws and an eight-hour workday, because the last few weeks before Christmas were exactly when overtime and seasonal child labor were most abused.