Saturday, December 18, 2010

'Happy Holidays' ... there, I said it


I swore to myself that I wasn't going to talk about Christmas on my blog this year. I respect the fact that it means different stuff to different people. And that's OK. What I don't appreciate is the fact that all people don't have such an understanding attitude. Exhibit 1: one of my Facebook "friends":

"Please don't tell me 'Happy Holidays'. There is only on reason that I celebrate right now and it is because of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. 'Merry Christmas' is appropriate:)"

Hey, I celebrate Christmas because I like seeing family and friends, having good food and maybe just a little drink. I enjoy seeing the magic of Christmas in my son's eyes. And 99% of that magic has nothing to do with Christ, even though my son is currently a Christian. But if your enjoyment of Christmas relies on others kissing your sanctimonious ass, then you can kindly kiss my heathen ass.

It's not about being politically correct for me. I don't care if you say 'Merry Christmas' to me. I won't be offended. I've been known to say it myself on occasion. But don't tell me what to say or to think.

I'm beginning to really hate Facebook and if this continues, I will hate 90% of my friends and my family. But, then, maybe they are really not my friends. The people that I know really care about me and that I respect in turn would never post something like that. Maybe my friends list just needs some housecleaning.

Some other atheist takes on Christmas:

Richard Dawkins on Christmas

Christopher Hitchens on Christmas

15 comments:

vjack said...

The other option besides cleaning your friends list would be to respond. I am running into the same thing, and I think that if I get to the point where I'm about to de-friend someone I may try responding first. Probably won't have much of an impact, but who knows? I figure there have to be others who would love to see a response.

wunelle said...

I went through exactly the same thing about a year ago--which prompted one of my several withdrawals from FB. I found that a number of casual "friends" and family folks I could not avoid were posting conservative shit--sometimes bordering on treasonous hate-mongering--that would ruin my day.

I agree with vjack that a response to these things would be appropriate, but I found this "argument with the dining room table" business takes lots of time and involves an immersion in a cesspool of negativity and hate. I came to despise these people and the unclean feeling I had from interacting with them. I finally decided to either pull the plug entirely or to unfriend about half my list and try it again. The jury is still out.

And for those who might claim that I'm just putting my head in the sand about the range of opinions making up the world, I would say two things: 1) There's a big difference between sensible conservatism and batshit crazy; and 2) I'm sure I'm not being properly informed about the world from FB.

I feel your pain, my friend.

wunelle said...

(And FWIW, I don't bother to acknowledge the 'holy-days' at all. If I'm greeted, I say hello back and steer the conversation quickly away from the subject. I find a quick "have a good one" seems to defuse the situation.)

dbackdad said...

vjack -- It's been a conscious decision for me to keep my Facebook account as just a place to keep track of family and friends, share the latest kid pics, etc. I refrain from political and religious posts there. But, obviously, that doesn't keep others from doing with FB as they please ... as is their wont. Mostly this is just me being passive aggressive and whining. There will be a point in my life where there is no demarcation and I admire you and others for making the brave decision to not have that demarcation.

I don't hide that I'm an atheist and will gladly tell anyone that asks, family or not. But, I also don't advertise it other than here and in my Twitter account.

Wunelle said, 'I found this "argument with the dining room table" business takes lots of time and involves an immersion in a cesspool of negativity and hate ...' -- exactly. That's a big part of it with me too.

Wunelle said, "I don't bother to acknowledge the 'holy-days' at all" -- I don't acknowledge them as holy days either. But, like Hitchens and Dawkins have said, saying 'Merry Christmas' does not acknowledge it as a Christian holiday ... Christians just think it does. C'est la vie. Opiate of the masses and all that nonsense.

josh said...

Happy Holidays...

Is what terrorists say, Merry Christmas.

My favorite joke ever, and I'll take any excuse to use it. So thanks for that! But on topic: The problem with facebook is most relationships can't stand up to a constant stream of unfettered access. I may like you, but I don't want to hear every little thing rattling around your skull.

I feel your pain. I know some morons on facebook (and not just politics! Stupid comes in lots of flavors). I personally think (hope) this problem will solve itself. A lot of people on facebook right now are real neophytes at online communication and havn't mastered the social aspects. After a few years of awkward family get togethers people will start to reign it in.

Hopefully.

CyberKitten said...

You know what... that conversation doesn't really happen over here. Christmas is just Christmas.... There are some who try to make it out to be something more and those who, supposedly according to what is laughingly called the 'popular press', want it non-religious or non-specific religion, so (supposedly) to not offend other religions - who are apparently not even offened - but generally its just a time of getting together with family and friends, exchanging gifts and eating/drinking too much.... oh, yes - and bad TV.

Oh... and I still wish people a merry or happy Christmas. It's a pretty harmless thing to say....

dbackdad said...

Josh said, "A lot of people on facebook right now are real neophytes at online communication and havn't mastered the social aspects. After a few years of awkward family get togethers people will start to reign it in." -- I think you pegged it. A lot of those formerly quiet inner thoughts and back room discussions at the Elks' Club are seeing the light of day ... and it ain't pretty.

CK -- It's completely retarded how it has become over here. "Don't take the 'Christ' out of Christmas!" Give me a break.

" ... its just a time of getting together with family and friends, exchanging gifts and eating/drinking too much" -- Truly, that is all that it has ever meant to me. Please, people, just let me enjoy my paganism in peace.

CyberKitten said...

dbackdad said: Please, people, just let me enjoy my paganism in peace.

After all, the Christian Christmas is only a co-opted Winter Solstice celebration..... It's essentially 95% pagan anyway.....

Sadie Lou said...

Gosh Lance, I hope I never bother you like this.

dbackdad said...

Sadie, after all these years, I hope that you know that you couldn't bother me like this. Any disagreements that you and I ever have come from an honest place and desire to find truth. The paths may diverge occasionally but that just adds to the fun ... and the learning.

Sadie Lou said...

I am so thankful for that. I never, ever want to lose my flavor, my saltiness to those who do not share in my beliefs. I don't want to be bland and predictable. I don't want to be "religious" to the point of being an elitist; sanctimonious. Talking to you and looking at the comments on your blog, keeps things real for me; keeps my mind fresh; keeps me on my toes and the wheels turning. I learn a lot from you and your friends.
:) I look forward to lots of discussions in 2011. I have been learning a lot.

Laura said...

I agree completely. I've gotten tired of a few people on my friends list (some friends, some family) who were posting non-stop biblical quotes and I've hidden them from the news feed. I'm sure they do the same to me, and that's fine. But I'll bet that whoever wrote that quote you referenced would be offended if you openly disagreed while at the same time if you posted something similar from your point of view, would have no problems disagreeing with you. One-sided relationships like that are completely unproductive.

dbackdad said...

I know she would be offended. I used to work with her and she was a good friend but there were just areas where you would not go with her. I guess the difference is that she didn't used to go there either. People are sharing stuff online that they wouldn't necessarily share in real life.

Sadie Lou said...

"People are sharing stuff online that they wouldn't necessarily share in real life."

Boy that's the truth. What the heck is up with people that say stuff online that they would never say in *real life*? I think the internet really weeds out the authentic people from the phonies.

Laura said...

I think self censoring happens a lot more real life because you have to deal with the immediate consequences of someone getting in your face because you said something that offended them. I wouldn't call that being phony, I'd call it being socially aware. I think we feel freer online at a distance because the emotional/immediate discord is less apparent and more diffuse. You'd think twice about starting a political discussion with a perfect stranger in line at a coffee shop because of that direct, face to face interaction - and yet you'd post the same comment on a thread to a blog or newspaper article to someone you'd never met. That's not phony.