Thursday, November 22, 2012

The next quixotic quest: halting "Christmas creep"

First, a blessed Thanksgiving to all ... or, at least, to all who still bother to celebrate it.  In another five to ten years, if the stupidity doesn't halt its increase, Thanksgiving may be completely forgotten, wiped away by "Black Thursday".

This is no longer a series of holidays.  It's one large commercial season.  Merry Hallothanksakwanzmas Time!  It's all part of Satan's plot from Hell.

Although I stubbornly (perhaps foolishly) maintain that humans do in fact have free will, "Black Friday" was already a serious enough challenge to that premiss.  Watching "Christmas creep" slowly munch its way through the calendar, defecating annoying TV ads that convert the carols you like the least into clamorous jingles (I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against Target for what they've done to Handel's "Hallelujah"), has its own creepy fascination ... it's like watching a live-action rendition of Christmas in the Valley of the Dolls.  Watching people line up like lemmings awaiting their turn to jump off the cliff at insanely early hours of the morning on Black Friday for 50% off an item that was marked up 30% three weeks before — well, it's unsettling at the least.  Pavlov's dogs were penny-ante poker compared to this mess.

"A real Merry Christmas and a real Saint Nicholas."
Today, you're supposed to be with family and friends, not at the mall shopping for their Christmas or Hanukkah gifts.  If you're scheduled to work at some big-box store today to enable this outrage, I encourage you to call in sick.  I ask the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to put Thanksgiving on the calendar as a Holy Day of Obligation, ranking it with Proper Feasts in precedence, especially as it's so close to the penitential season of Advent.  It's bad enough we stood by helplessly as our capitalist masters transmogrified the Feast of the Nativity into a bunch of cheapjack artificial sentimentality about snow and mistletoe and a cartoonish character who bears little resemblance to the real St. Nicholas of Myra ... do we need to keep feeding this secularized, materialistic monster more and more of our calendar?

If you sit on the board of some retail chain, and you're at home ready to stuff yourself silly on turkey and mashed potatoes while your employees are sacrifing their family time to make your business money — shame on you.  If you're a major shareholder, and you argue that the company owes you the sacrifice of staying open today to generate a smidge more profit for your dividends — bulls**t.  There is simply no valid excuse for pre-empting one holiday to commercially service another.

Let's face it, folks: the movement to "Bring Christ Back Into Christmas" won't succeed so long as this massive experiment in consumer conditioning is allowed to proceed.  We need more people, both Christian and non-Christian, to stand up and proclaim very, very loudly, "No more!  The madness stops here!"  We need people to very pointedly not go shopping for anything on Thanksgiving, and to tell our industrial Conditioners why they're not salivating when the bell is rung.

If you need to ask why, consider this prophetic passage from C. S. Lewis:

At the moment, then, of Man's victory over Nature, we find the whole human race subjected to some individual men, and those individuals subjected to that in themselves which is purely "natural"—to their irrational impulses.  Nature, untrammelled by values, rules the Conditioners and, through them, all humanity.  Man's conquest of Nature turns out, in the moment of its consummation, to be Nature's conquest of Man.  Every victory we seemed to win has led us, step by step, to this conclusion.  All Nature's apparent reverses have been but tactical withdrawals.  We thought we were beating her back when she was luring us on.  What looked to us like hands held up in surrender was really the opening of arms to enfold us for ever.  If the fully planned and conditioned world ... comes into existence, Nature will be troubled no more by the restive species that rose in revolt against her so many millions of years ago, will be vexed no longer by its chatter of truth and mercy and beauty and happiness.  Ferum victorem cepit [from Horace: "She (Nature) overcomes her conqueror"]: and if the eugenics are efficient enough there will be no second revolt, but all snug beneath the Conditioners, and the Conditioners beneath her, till the moon falls or the sun grows cold.