?

Log in

On Good Intentions and Privilege - Tim Lieder [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tim Lieder

[ website | Dybbuk Press ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

On Good Intentions and Privilege [Dec. 10th, 2013|04:22 pm]
Tim Lieder
Now for just a moment, let us ponder this lovely FB meme that has been going around like the plague. Who could ever have a problem with a meme telling people to be nice? I mean, isn't that just awful?

Ok. Loading the deck. In the fake "war on Xmas", this is the soft weapon of defense -

And look at how inclusive it is. It's not just a defense of people wishing other people "Merry Xmas", it also takes into account people wishing you a "Happy Hanukkah", a "Seasons Greetings", a "Happy New Year" - because THOSE are also problematic - if you stand on one foot, twisting your arms around and squinting really hard. When RJ Cavender posted it on his wall, he really meant to defend all the Jews running around going "Happy Hanukkah and getting attitude from their goyish friends. Fun fact - Jews getting a lecture for saying "Happy Hanukkah" is absolutely the WORST thing to ever happen to Jews ever in the history of Judaism.

Apparently "Happy Pagan Tree Festival" and "Fuck Jesus" are not on the list of holiday greetings that you should take well. So if someone wishes you a "Fuck Jesus" you are perfectly allowed to punch them in the face.

Ok. Now let's back up so I don't entirely look like a Christ Killing Jew (if the motherfucker ever showed his face, I would totally kill him though. Because that's what you do with zombies). I don't think that people wishing me a Merry Christmas are doing anything that isn't automatic. I don't think that they intend to convert me to their pagan ways. Nor do I think that they are taking 2000 years of pogroms, genocides and enforced oppression into account when they invite me to celebrate the birth of their favorite cult leader of all time. I just think that they are trying to be nice. As an individual, I am not going to embody the stereotype of the Rude Jew That Hated Xmas. Nor do I have much pride in ever getting annoyed with people assuming that I as Xian when I was converting to Judaism.

But I don't see this thing being posted by non-Christians. Christians are posting it because in America, they got the privilege. They bore us with their Xmas specials. They send missionaries to New York City to convert the Jews. They can freak out over a mosque or a Muslim Community Center being built anywhere and they are taken seriously. They can cry about someone not necessarily being Xian who doesn't want to hear Xmas music all the fucking time.

Hell, Xians even bitch about Xmas not being Xian ENOUGH. Seriously, what the fuck does society have to do to please you fucking Xians? Everyone puts on a big party and works overtime to allow you to celebrate a holiday and for months before the holiday, our economy is based on you celebrating it. And then you claim that it's TOO COMMERCIALIZED. Suddenly, all of you guys are Marxists bitching about the excesses of capitalism because someone stuck a Baby Jesus on your beer ad. And then you talk about how Santa Claus is evil and you find all those Christmas Carols written by Jews to be suspect because we decided to write about snow and bells and fantasies about flying reindeer.

But we let you bitch about it. We let you "enjoy" your holiday in the only way you know how - by bitching about how it's commercialized and driving out to see your family so you can get into your annual fight with your sister/cousin/uncle about whatever the fuck you're fighting about. There's also a lot of sweaters being passed around. We even listen to your re-gifted fruit cake jokes without punching you in the face.

Is that good enough for you? NOOOOO - not in the slightest. You also want everyone to be happy when you wish them a Merry Xmas because if something makes you happy, why shouldn't it make everyone else in the world happy as well.

Gosh, Xians. I'm so sorry that it's such a burden to consider the perspective of non-Xians who are not necessarily enamored with your holiday. Or at least your god. If this gets out of hand, you won't be able to hold the door open for women without them slapping you for being a sexist pig (a scenario that has happened exactly never in real life, but quite frequently in the minds of douchey college dudes who are trying to tell you what women are like)

So why should people actually sort of tepidly point out that not everyone is Xian and doesn't want to hear "Merry Christmas"? Why can't people be nice when they call Vox Day out for his racism? Don't you know that when your cousin says that President Obama is a Muslim Communist who is trying to sell guns to Mexican drug lords in order to take away your guns that she means it sincerely?

Gosh. I don't know. Maybe it could possibly be a good idea to consider other people for a change - and realize that your words are not going to be accepted by everyone and chill the fuck out. Maybe instead of lecturing the recipients of "Merry Xmas" on what THEIR attitude should be, you can take stock of YOUR attitude that expects everyone to love you when you remind them that they are the minority in this country and that you have the privilege (at least in this regard).

Or is that too complicated for a meme?
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: fengi
2013-12-10 09:55 pm (UTC)
"Fuck Jesus" should be celebrated to commemorate His first time, when, after prolonged fumbling with the condom, he came after a minute and wondered if was the only one doing it wrong in the history of humanity. Seeing as how this probably happened near his 18th or perhaps 21st birthday, it could Fuck Jesus could overlap with Christmas.

Edited at 2013-12-10 09:56 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: rap541
2013-12-11 12:05 am (UTC)
Unfortunealy I think this is a case of all the Christians getting slapped for what the "War on Christmas" crowd does.

I sometimes feel sorry for them when they complain about schools forbidding Christmas carols. Then I remember who started this, and yes it was them, and it was their attacks on public school sponsored halloween parties that were you know... teaching religion and converting their children.

Happy Yule :)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2013-12-11 12:38 am (UTC)
Happy Pagan Tree Festival

But I think that the issue is more about privilege. Some Christian acknowledge that not everyone celebrates Xmas and adjusts their greetings accordingly. Other Christians get VERY defensive.

It's a minor blip on the privilege radar, but it is amazing how much this echoes in the racism and sexism debates (where the term "check your privilege" becomes a tedious shorthand for valid discussions)

Edited at 2013-12-11 12:40 am (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: rap541
2013-12-11 12:58 am (UTC)
Yeah. I was watching Palin and O'Reilly on O'Reilly's show sort of congradulating themselves on not being offended when someone says "happy holidays" and then proceeding to throw hissys over kids not being allowed to sing Christmas carols and the whole "how awful it is that people actually question the town government spending money on a religious display that 60-80 percent of the town participate in".

On the other hand, when it comes to priveledge and checking it, I just accept that if that phrase gets thrown down, I might as well stop participating. I'm white and while not Christian, certainly "Christian descent" so I am priveledged.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2013-12-11 01:31 am (UTC)
Valid concept. Dumb way of saying it. There's a world of difference between "No, I don't think that you are personally racist or sexist but you have certain advantages that come from a racist and sexist society" and "Check your Privilege" (damnit, I am using the keyboard without the exclamation points) One is a discussion and the other one is a bully pulpit.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2013-12-11 03:12 am (UTC)
I'm honestly curious, are there schools where kids are banned from singing Christmas carols, or is that made up? Because I work in a school where the population is primarily Hindu and Muslim, and there's still a Christmas assembly with carols and a tree.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: rap541
2013-12-11 03:19 am (UTC)
Not exactly. There are some schools that are choosing to not have religious Christmas songs at the "winter concert" rather than deal with the issue. Silent Night is a no, but RuDolf is cool. Kids aren't banned from singing carols, the schools are just choosing to not choose Christmas carols for songs in the official concerts.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2013-12-11 05:07 pm (UTC)
On behalf of all the Jews (particularly Irving Berlin) I would like to say You're Welcome for coming up with all those non-Christian Xmas Carols.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: rap541
2013-12-11 11:45 pm (UTC)
Hee hee hee don't thank me, I am a tone deaf wonder. Trust me when I say it is possible for "Jingle Bells" to make someone cringe.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bemused_leftist
2013-12-12 05:32 pm (UTC)
I'm white and while not Christian, certainly "Christian descent" so I am priveledged.

Hm? Priveledged meaning 'allowed to not take offense'?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bemused_leftist
2013-12-12 05:13 pm (UTC)
Then I remember who started this, and yes it was them, and it was their attacks on public school sponsored halloween parties that were you know... teaching religion and converting their children.

Are you sure of the sequence there? It was in the early 1960s that O'Hair et al stopped prayer and Bible reading in public schools. Do you have a source for successful anti-Halloween stuff before that?

Edited at 2013-12-12 05:15 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2013-12-12 09:21 pm (UTC)
I never saw Halloween themed stuff in my school, but the religious crap was always front and center. i was a Christian then so it didn't matter, but it's still irksome.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2013-12-11 01:19 am (UTC)
Hah, I love this rant. It is a rant of Great Righteousness. I've seen that meme going around too, and kind of wanted to comment, but can't quite bring myself to give enough of a fuck. Yet.

But really, are there Jews that went around last week wishing random non-Jews Happy Hanukkah? Because I have never once done that. I do get offended when people wish me Happy Hanukkah at Christmas—like, it's not Jew Christmas people, you can Google that shit—especially from official channels. I don't feel oppressed or anything when people wish me a Merry Christmas, but the expectation that it's everyone's holiday and that I should embrace it on a cultural/religious/capitalist level is irritating as all fuck.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2013-12-11 01:38 am (UTC)
Blame fengi for mailing me and asking me to go off on it. Apparently, he thought that it was bothersome but didn't want to come off as a jerk for slamming on something that basically seemed good intentioned. So I got called up. THis is not the first time the "I don't want to appear like an asshole so could you do it for me?" request has come my way.

And I do love that the picture includes 5-6 alternatives to "Merry Xmas" as if anyone ever has a problem with them. At this point, I think I will walk around wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah. It's much more Dada than the simple college smartass phrase of "Happy Pagan Tree Festival".

And I am so fascinated by the subtle differences that come from this meme which is basically something I agree with in practice (Am I going to go around telling people to fuck off for wishing me a Merry Xmas?) but when I'm basically being ordered to not be annoyed with the constant Xmas pushing by a Xian who is feeling very insecure about the presence of non-Xians, I get grumpy.

Of course, it's the bitching about the commercialization of Xmas that really gets on my nerves. Suddenly Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly are Marxists.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kittymink
2013-12-11 03:29 pm (UTC)
I say "you too!"

It's funny and the Christmas wishes may end up backfiring on the well-wisher if they are some other non-Christian, like a Muslim or Hindu. Mean, perhaps but funny.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2013-12-11 05:09 pm (UTC)
It is amazing how little I mind being wished a Merry Christmas, but being ordered to be cool with it gets on my nerves.

I'm an American individualist. Can't help it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bemused_leftist
2013-12-12 05:37 pm (UTC)
I saw the "someone says ... you say" image on the blog of a militant atheist. How might he tweak the wording so that you might not take it as a command?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: uvula_fr_b4
2013-12-16 01:41 am (UTC)
Oh, it's so much worse than this.

Happened to hear, on the Wed., 11 Dec. edition of CBC Radio One's This Is That, an interview with Sharon Coyle of the Canadian Association Alliance, who objects to the phrase "Happy Holidays" not because it's not Christmas-specific, but because she doesn't think that anyone should wish anyone a happy anything. "If you're working, you can't have a happy holiday" and "Don't impose your wishes on anyone" are some of her typical (paraphrased) remarks. (The quote from This Is That's blog entry under the previous link is even more outlandish: "First off, to assume someone is actually happy is obscenely offensive. Secondly, to speculate that a person is on holiday is equivalent to slapping them in the face.")

Her solution? Use either "It's December!" or "It's winter!" instead. (She actually prefers "It's winter!," since she also thinks that it's rude to assume that everyone you encounter uses the same calendar.)

You can listen to the segment (5:20) here. If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was an SNL or a This Hour Has 22 Minutes skit.



Edited at 2013-12-16 01:42 am (UTC)
(Reply) (Thread)