Delusions of Christmas Wars

Commentary, Random, Society

The WAR ON CHRISTMAS has begun again. And frankly, I’m tired of it. The only time I’ve ever heard of anyone “attacking” Christmas is when right-wing pundits and social media shares wax paranoid about the possibility of some horrific Orwellian dystopian future in which everyone is banned from mentioning or even thinking about Christmas.

Public Service Announcement: the use of the word “holiday” instead of “Christmas” is not an attack on Christmas, or your right to celebrate it openly. I’m going to explore this from the angle of this Facebook post a friend shared:

What happens if the palm tree is covered in twinkling lights and ornaments?

What happens if the palm tree is covered in twinkling lights and ornaments? What about if I’m on holidays somewhere that has pine trees? Isn’t a palm tree actually more Christian than a decorated pine tree? I’m more confused now than when I started…

Decorated trees are actually quite secular. They originate in pagan mythologies, have nothing to do with Christ or Christianity (pretty sure they never mentioned decorating a tree in the New Testament), are enjoyed by people of many faiths, and therefor technically aren’t really “Christmas” trees. We just often call them Christmas trees because we do the tree thing at the same time as the Christmas thing. But many other faiths do the tree thing in conjunction with their mid-winter holidays as well. Most faiths have some kind of holiday around this time, because you’re celebrating being “half-way out of the dark”, as they so rightly said on Doctor Who. And who doesn’t love bringing a bit more light and beauty into their lives during a time of year when the outside world is dark and barren? I’ve known people of all sorts of backgrounds, from Jewish to Hindu to Atheist, from naturally born citizen to immigrant, who put up trees at this time of year. It’s a way of feeling connected to the broader community you live in despite other differences, which is a wonderful thing.

If you’re a Christian celebrating a Christian-y Christmas that also includes a tree, calling it a Christmas tree for convenience makes a lot of sense, even if it is a secular tradition. You put up a tree when you celebrate Christmas. It’s a Christmas tree. Fair enough. But if you’re non-Christian and doing the tree thing (which is totally allowed because decorated trees are not a Christian tradition) then having another name for it can be useful. If you don’t feel connected to the idea of Christ or Christianity, but you DO feel connected to the tradition of decorating a tree and celebrating with your loved ones, being forced to invoke the idea of Christ in this non-Christian tradition can feel a bit… off.

Part of it is that it’s annoying to be told you’re celebrating a holiday you’re not actually celebrating. People are like “THIS IS A CHRISTMAS TREE!” and you’re like “but… it’s not? There’s nothing Christian about this tree or about my own traditions at this time of year. I don’t have Jesus or angels or anything on it, I don’t go to Church, I don’t spend any time at all thinking about the life, times, and death of Jesus. Why does MY tree have to be a Christmas tree just because YOU are celebrating Christmas right now?”

Another part is that I feel like it’s really disrespectful of me to be invoking the idea of Christ when I don’t actually believe in it*. The idea of Christ is of monumental importance to many people, and when I throw it around willy-nilly in spite of having no personal connection to it, what does that communicate to people who take the idea of Christ really seriously? Who have a major emotional, social, and spiritual connection to the idea?

Luckily, language is flexible and context is important. Unless you’re in some kind of scientific field conducting experiments, things don’t have single, set, precise names assigned to them. You can call yours a Christmas tree and others can call theirs a holiday tree without all communication breaking down and society falling to pieces. And it makes a lot of sense for secular people and groups, such as atheists, governments, corporations, whatever, to use more general and all-encompassing terms. It’s not actually offensive to say “holiday” instead of “Christmas”. The world doesn’t revolve around you, and just because you’re celebrating Christmas doesn’t mean everyone else has to as well.

*Having said all this, I still often refer to them as Christmas trees out of habit – it’s how I was raised. It makes me a bit of a hypocrite, but we’re all imperfect works in progress and I’m trying really hard to improve myself in this area.These things take time and practice, you know.

Advertisements

An awkward interview with Good Day Sacramento

Books, Random, Rants, Society, Uncategorized
The newest John Green movie adaptation is out, and the cast and author are just finishing up the promotional press circuit.
Today, Green wrote a passionate article about the commodification of persons in the promotional cycle of the film industry, and what it’s like to be on the side of the interviewed, and it was in response to an interview with Cara Delevingne on a morning talk show in which they asked her if she had read the book. Curious, I looked up the interview, and I disagree with Green’s assessment that things went downhill after that fateful question. I’m pretty sure things started at the farthest bottom of the hill and sat there until Delevingne gave up trying to drag it up to a more acceptable standard of interviewing, at which point the whole interview fell apart as a result of losing her complicity and effort to hold it together.
They were incredibly rude and patronizing to her, from the very first second. As a way of venting my discomfort at having witnessed this situation in which a fellow human being was treated with unearned disrespect and unnecessary spite, here’s my summary/interpretation of the interview:
Interviewer 1: “We have here: Carla. I know I just called you not your name but I’m going to gloss over it because your feelings and identity don’t matter to me. Hey there Cara, how are you? No don’t answer, I don’t actually care or want to hear about it. The book is taught in a lot of high schools, and you’re pretty much a child so you might have read it for that reason, but you’re just /sarcasm oh so busy being a famous little princess lololol /end sarcasm, no really though did you get a chance to read the book the movie you starred in was based on?”
(Cara diffuses situation with witty joke)
Interviewer 2: “lololol your joke was not appreciated because you know my cohost was just trying to point out that you’re taking part in what we consider to be a freakishly high frequency of projects. Isn’t it hard to keep your little air head focused? Do you work continuously because your life is otherwise empty and unmotivating? What’s your Meyers Briggs type? What do you think?”
(Cara registers confusion at the random, context-lacking line of questioning, attempts to explain what it’s like to have a real job, gives up and attempts to explain what it’s like to actually like your job, gives up and trails off)
Interviewer 2: “So it’s not hard? Alright, if you say so.”
Interviewer 1: “Are you even capable of identifying with this character you portrayed across a feature length film?”
(Cara makes another sarcastic joke, in an almost defeated, knee-jerk manner at this point, as if thinking – for the love of sanity, are we really only a minute into the interview? How much more of this do I have to take?- and then answers the question they should have asked about her relationship with the character, giving an interesting insight into the dynamic between actor and character and its effect on the end product)
Interviewer 2: “HURhur oh RLY?”
Interviewer 3: “Hey I love this movie because the characters talk like people instead of like teenagers (who are not people, as everyone knows). LOL I was such an idiot in high school so I know everyone else was, it’s like these characters aren’t even REAL, it’s like the writers don’t even know how to write a teenage character and the actors don’t even know how to play a teenage character, because these teenage characters are so similar to actual people. LOVE IT. Now, keeping in mind that I just gave your movie and its target demographic a really back-handed complement, can you tell us why you aren’t excited to be talking to us? You were excited talking to other people. Is the wittle baby tired? Are you PMSing or something? What’s your problem?”
(Throughout all of this, Cara appears to become offended at the backhanded complement, realizes that being offended isn’t worth her time or energy, stops being offended and tries to take the next question seriously, becomes reoffended when they finish asking the question, pulls herself together, spits out a stock answer to keep things moving, and attempts to take the high road and be empathetic to the interviewers, explaining that maybe she just seems lower energy because it’s the morning)
Interviewer 1: “Yeah. You seem irritated. Perhaps it’s just us. Look, we’re giving you a clear opening to stroke our egos here. We’re handing you this one for free. Don’t mess it up.”
(Cara can’t take their BS anymore, calls them out)
Interviewer 1: “Well, if you don’t want to talk to us, we don’t want want to talk to you. How ’bout that? I guess it’s just past the small child’s nap time.”
(Cara attempts to respond and they cut her mic, but continue to film her as she looks on with a look of cold, calculated hatred in her eyes – after a few seconds the video feed cuts from her end)
Interviewers: “WOAH WHAT A MOODY LADY TEENAGER GEEZ. I know it’s hard soul sucking work going to all these interviews but STILL. You made money for doing a job, so you OWE US all the ego stroking we want! We are entitled to that ego stroking! We are entitled to your time and energy! We are entitled to whatever we want from you, regardless of whether or not you had any way of knowing we wanted it, regardless of whether or not we deserve it. This isn’t a business transaction based in tradition, mutual benefit, and mutual understanding/respect, it’s where you’re supposed to show us the attention we’re owed! Bitch can’t even take a joke. We were treated SO BADLY but I guess we just have to shake it off, like the poor TV talk show host martyrs that we are. So moving on to our next story about cholesterol…”
Of course, I hardly quoted them directly at all, but instead replaced direct quotes with my interpretations of what they meant by what they were saying. Whether those meanings were intentional or not, doesn’t matter. That’s how it all came across, Delevingne handled it incredibly graciously.
This opens up a lot of thoughts I’ve been thinking lately about the way we handle celebrity interviews and how it represents the failure of traditional mass media to understand the context in which it exists, but this is already pretty long so I think I’ll just leave it as a rant and save those thoughts for their own post, should I ever get around to writing it.

Anxiety and Perception

Random

Anxiety disorders screw with your perception of the world, so a lot of ordinary things can cease to make any sense at all, and regular tasks can become impossibly intimidating. Here’s a comparison of normal tasks vs the perception a person with anxiety disorder has about those tasks.

This is meant to show the severe and non-sensical nature of an anxiety disorder, and how it can be paralyzing to the point of interfering with everyday activities. Exact details of thought/behaviour patterns and severity will vary by person, by day.

Asking for someone’s phone number

What a regular person does:

What a person with anxiety disorder thinks they’re doing:

Texting a friend

Regular:

“They haven’t gotten back to me yet. Must be busy.”

Anxiety:

“They didn’t get back to me immediately. THIS PROVES THAT THEY HATE ME. WHAT DID I DO WRONG? Should I text them again? I probably shouldn’t text them again. I’m going to text them again.”

Crossing the Street

Regular:

Anxiety:

Making a plan for the evening

Regular:

Anxiety:

Making plans for your life

Regular:

Anxiety:

Looking for keys

Regular:

Anxiety:

Having a boyfriend (or girlfriend)

Regular:

“They should have gotten back to me by now, I know they’re just playing Halo. Oh well.”

Anxiety:

http://tinyurl.com/mlsb8ee

Meeting a friend

Regular:

“They’re 30 minutes late. Traffic must be really bad!”

Anxiety:

“They’re 10 minutes late. Traffic must be bad. Unless… oh no. What if they’re dead? How would I even know if they died en route? I wouldn’t! They could have been hit by a car or attacked or something. OH NO THEY’RE DEFINITELY DEAD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? Maybe I just got the wrong time. Did I get the right time? I’m pretty sure I got the right time. Yep, just checked. Got the right time. Maybe it’s the wrong day! Maybe I’m supposed to meet them tomorrow. Need to check again. It says today. Unless today isn’t actually Tuesday. What if it’s actually Monday and I’m supposed to meet them tomorrow? WHAT IF IT’S WEDNESDAY AND I MISSED THE MEETING ENTIRELY?! What day is it? My phone says Tuesday, but how can I be sure? Maybe we never even made plans and I just made it up in my head. Maybe we aren’t even friends, and I just think we are. What if they don’t even exist? WHAT IF I DON’T EXIST?! — Oh hey, you’re here! Traffic was bad? Thought so. That really sucks, man. Glad you made it, though!”

Starchild5 – Winning

Random

I recently discovered a website: http://www.happierabroad.com, thanks to a friend who was kind enough to post it on FB. Before you click through to it, understand that it is basically a place for shitty men to get together and talk about how sluts can’t be raped and all women are evil, so if that’s going to ruin your day, maybe just don’t.

Horrible though the people in forums section of this site may be, there is one diamond in the rough, and that diamond’s user name is Starchild5. Just so you have a more complete understanding of this user’s personality, that user name is coupled with this avatar:

I wish I could read all of his posts without having to register or sift through the rest of the bile, because they are truly golden. Rather than explain this magical individual to you, I’ll just let him speak for himself. His views may seem unreal to you, but I’m fairly convinced he really believes this stuff, and I love him for it. If I ever find more of his stuff, I’ll do a follow-up post.

The spelling and grammar is all him. The gifs are my addition.

“Feminism can’t survive in front of Prostitution. The only cure for Feminism is Hookers.”

“Not even money can save you from Feminism, Its spreading everywhere.”

“The people who created the concept of feminism as we know are not women themselves. It has to be a twisted incredible evil smart, know it all thingy…..”

“The more deeper you go into feminism the more powerful it seems to be – It has this tentacles that would consume every defensive mechanism a man has.”

“Men and women were in one body, we were androgynous and were divided by other Aliens races to lower the power we had. The male sex organ itself is Alien to men, that’s why it is damm hard for men to control their sexual desires.”

“Sexual Organ has a mind of its own. Preston Nicols has investigated this further and he says… The shape of our D**k acts as an antenna to HyperSpace… The feeling of or***m is really opening up the antenna and connecting it with Hyperspace where the Sperms are programmed by the controlling forces of this universe.”

“If one takes the sperms from the scrotum, its a proven scientific fact that… if Sperms that don’t pass through the feeling of or***m, they are not fertile and cannot make babies. Our Sperms Must pass through or***m in order for it to be active. The feeling of or***m is really out of this world.”

 

New Blog

Random

Not that anyone is reading this, but I’m actually moving all my content from a previous blog to this one. Hopefully I can back-date it or something so it doesn’t get too messy… I’ve never liked my other blog much, and recently landed on this pretty awesome Instagram name (suchnothing), so I’ve decided to move all of my more creative accounts, like the blog and YouTube, over to the same name. Maybe this one will stick.

Here’s to hoping it works out.

New rant on the latest Dove commercial coming soon.

With Essence of Hipster

Random

A friend of mine went to Toronto and brought me back these.

photo

The first time I tasted one, I said, “It tastes like a hipster’s house would smell.”  A hipster’s house, car, favourite hangout, whatever.  It tastes like hipster.  Not that it’s a bad thing.  They are actually quite tasty.  The squares, I mean.  I’ve never tasted a hipster.  Usually I find that things made of marshmallow are way too sweet for me, but these are quite nice.  The basil cuts the sweetness quite a bit, so they don’t look nearly as sickly sweet as their colour suggests.

Because of my initial verdict as to their flavour, I’ve since begun referring to them as ‘hipster squares.’  Marshmallow squares made with essence of hipster.

Of course, the thing that gives them their distinctive flavour is the basil.

I’ve discovered the essence of the hipster.  The essence of the hipster is basil.

This claim can be backed up with evidence:

1. I like basil.  Therefore, I must like hipsters.  Statistically, this appears to be true in most cases.

photo-1

2. Basil is the essence of hipsters.  Therefore, hipsters should like basil.  Statistically, this also appears to be true (based off of personal anecdotal evidence).

I rest my case.