12.26.2005

strange and stranger

I always say: to be a Jew and an atheist at Christmastime is to know the meaning of "I was a stranger in a strange land". (I do always say it: I wrote the exact same thing last year. I am so boring!)

Even as a child, the sight of the Christmas tree at the White House bothered me, and I never understood why Christmas is a national holiday in a country that isn't supposed to have a state religion. Still don't.

So this bullshit that has the religious right in its latest snit - the notion that Christmas somehow needs "saving", this bizarre campaign to portray the vast Christian majority as persecuted - is beyond the scope of my imagination. All I can do is shake my head in disbelief.

Last year I wondered if I would feel just as alienated during Christmastime in Canada. Readers conjectured that I probably would, as the Christian tradition is predominant. The Christmas onslaught does seem more low-key here, but I'm shielded from large parts of the culture, working by myself at home, kind of living in my own world. Or maybe Christmas really is more low-key here; it is, after all, a more low-key culture.

Last year at Christmas, I was feeling sad about leaving New York. (Two posts: here and here.)

Yesterday, on a whim, we had dim sum - assuming that on Christmas Day, Chinese Canadians are very likely to be enjoying little bits of deliciousness from carts rolling by their tables. We were right. The dim sum palace recommended by Matt was hopping - crowded and noisy, as dim sum is supposed to be, and absolutely packed.

The most visible difference between Christmas Dim Sum in Mississauga and in New York was that, here, we were one of the very few non-Asians in the busy restaurant. In New York City, at least half of the people crowding into Chinese restaurants on Christmas are (presumably) Jewish, or at least white. Here, the diners were 99% Chinese. That was fun, and the food was great.

On the "who took the Christ out of Christmas" nonsense, here's an excellent post from Nick at Life Without Borders, by way of DU, by way of someone's reply to a chain email. One thing you can count on from the Fox News crowd: they never have their facts straight.

Why do these people feel so threatened by change? Isn't being the overwhelming majority good enough for them?

Don't answer that. Enjoy Boxing Day!

9 comments:

David Cho said...

"Here, the diners were 99% Chinese. That was fun, and the food was great."

That is how you measure the authenticity of Asian food! I am slobbering just reading this.

I agree with most of your points. Will probably blog about it once the dust settles.

L-girl said...

That is how you measure the authenticity of Asian food!

Well, yes and no. I always like to eat Asian food where Asians are eating, but in a real multicultural city like Toronto or New York, there are always lots of faces in the good Asian restaurants.

Out here in the suburbs - on Christmas - different story. :)

Crabbi said...

Why do these people feel so threatened by change?

I think the answer is in your question. They're threatened; they're afraid. Come on people, no one is attacking Christmas. Christmas is everywhere. And fundies/weirdos, wishing people "Happy Holidays" is not P.C., nor is it watering down the message. It's simply considerate and inclusive. Sheesh! Anyway, the religious right just has to get their Santa-patterned knickers in a twist over something. Who was it that said "the outrage of the franchised"? Brilliant.

You know who these uber-Christians remind me of? Obnoxious couples who are way too into PDAs, making kissy noises, humping each other's legs and making others uncomfortable. Seems to me if people are secure in their relationship, be it with a partner or with a deity, they don't need to prove anything. My two cents anyway...

Happy Boxing Day!

James said...

Why do these people feel so threatened by change? Isn't being the overwhelming majority good enough for them?

The existance of happy, contented people who are not Christians is a direct challenge to their belief their god and their religion is the only worthwhile thing in the world.

"How dare you live a fulfilling life without subjecting yourself to the same mental servitude that I have?"

Andrea said...

I did almost the same post as 'without borders', I was getting so annoyed with the CHRISTmas tree emails.

I still beleive in the power, love and joy of christmas and hope that that is never taken away.

Crabbi said...

PS Happy Solstice, too. I meant to say I enjoyed the Life without Borders post. You know another reason Jesus' birthday can't be 12/25? Because that would make him a Capricorn, and that's just not possible. If he's not an Aquarius, he's a water sign.

L-girl said...

Seems to me if people are secure in their relationship, be it with a partner or with a deity, they don't need to prove anything.

Hey, great analogy! I never thought of that.

The existance of happy, contented people who are not Christians is a direct challenge to their belief their god and their religion is the only worthwhile thing in the world.

Yes, I suppose. I've always thought religion is so personal and private, I never understood this drive. Life is not one-size-fits-all. Why would spirituality be?

Ah, well.

Crabbi said...

I agree -- spirituality (however one defines it) is a personal matter and highly subjective, which is why proseletyzing is so pointless. Not to mention annoying and insulting.

This is totally off-topic, but do you know what happened to BW Ventril? I've been meaning to ask you about him...

L-girl said...

This is totally off-topic, but do you know what happened to BW Ventril? I've been meaning to ask you about him...

He discontinued his blog and went invite-only on Live Journal. I think (although I'm not really sure) he's out of the public blogosphere loop.

If you want to read his journal, open an LJ account (if you don't already have one). Email me, I'll give you his name, and you can ask to be on his friends list.

I miss his blog and his comments! I'm registered at LJ but I never really go.