OK, it’s Christmas Day. The renormed holy day plagiarized by the Christianist Church from Nature worshiping Solstice Keepers and then further plagiarized by Capitalist Oligarchs for their personal greed and profit. So basically a pit of cold nastiness. Similar to Dante’s depiction of Tartarus.
The Nerd channels have been full of rationalization the last week. Very human. When you are confronted with superstition and ignorance and apathy towards what you have demonstrated accurate, a bit of shouting in indignation is in order.
Wasted, of course, but in order.
The point is that this is a Bog thing and the more pronounced the boggery state, the more excessive the Christmas thing. It is always the workers who are paid the least and have the least skills and knowledge who have the most “festive” electrical lamps strung on their houses and shrubbery.
The good news is that the number of Nerds and Geeks who are abandoning the practice is increasing. FD SCP and I have not used seasonal lamps for ten years or so, and the density in our neighborhood has been steadily decreasing. None of which, I suspect, can be seen by the naked eye from Low Earth Orbit. The city of Greater Metropolitan Arab still has its tasteless display of lamps, most in effigy form, in the city park, but that is transferred Capitalist greed and hence ensconced until the influx of portraits of dead Caucasian politicians becomes less than then outflux of taxpayer monies.
And no, I am not going to rail about the inequity of supporting needy Capitalists with the taxes of taxpayers. Politicians, of whatever rank, care not so any verbiage is wasted.
But back to a sampling of articles. First, an article [Link] entitled “Gifts are a traditional part of Christmas – but why do we give presents at all? ” The thesis here, advanced by a Fremch anthropologist, who evidently has been heavily influenced by Claude Levi-Strauss’ work on “the primitive mind” is that we give gifts to control, or, at least, influence, the recipient. This sounds a bit childish, on both side, which it is, since we aboundingly these days try to make our bairns “behave”by invoking a shelf sprite.
I have to admit that the first thought that comes to mind is that Tolkien would shudder at the abuse of dignified elves in this manner, but them perhaps shrug since they are extinct, mostly due to humans. I am unsure of what his reaction would be to the parallel adoption of this nonsense by the Capitalists. Probably aggregate them with Orcs of the worst odor.
The model of gift giving projected by our Frenchman is that of Potlach, the idea of government by gift. It’s a novel idea this century of politicians taking from the poor and giving to the rich, a bit of a comeback of King John and his Shire Reeves (Sheriffs.) Certainly no one in politics today has any attitude towards the poor except to permit them a lingering death.
I have to admit that I gave a few gifts this season. Most of them were to people that I treasure and cherish, as people. If there is an aspect of control there, it is an attempt to cozen them into failing to recognize what a bad person I am. So, as I often advance, an instance of human insecurity.
This brings me to the second article [Link] entitled “An anthropologist explains why we love holiday rituals and traditions.” It’s written by a Connecticut academic and it seems to me that the colding has disrupted his neurons. He cites all manner of reasons for liking holidays from buffering stress to family relations.
All of which is pure EXTRO rubbish. Utter CRAP! He quite ignores that the season is itself a source of stress and family gathering the penultimate form of such stress. This is why the suicide incidence increases in this season, because apathetic relatives and greedy Capitalists are making the environment so toxic that poor INTROs cannot stand its abatement in a few days.
If this is the rot that they teach in anthropology classes at U Connecticut, then I have reason to be proud of the Campus of the Black Warrior’s department, at least back when I was a student and they understood the tension and stress of the season. Oh, how I envied those few who got to stay on campus over the holidays. And how I enjoyed that one Christmas stuck tending the radio observatory in central Illinois.
In a way, Christmas has become a parody of both Solstice and religion. Both use it to advance the idea of increased life, in one instance the lengthening of the day, in the other the birth of a messiah. Never mind that the birth was months apart from the period and that the events of that birth even more months removed. Religion is about misinformation all too often.
But Christmas has become about destruction and death. Destruction of the environment to the enrichment of Capitalists and death through our unhealthy activities and the escalating stress of the period.
Perhaps it is time for us to re-examine our customs and readopt some that have been taken from us, like freedom and dignity. Those are things more to be admired and celebrated. At least, so say I.