Wintry Mix

photo of holiday versus christmas pictures
As I may have mentioned, I can be a bit less than fuzzy during the holiday season for a few reasons. A friend of mine was, I kid you not, referred to as a terrorist the other day at work because she told someone “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”

A terrorist.

Anyway, though I lived in the mountains for five years (not like Katniss Everdeen or actual terrorist Eric Rudolph, but it was the same mountains) and delighted in the weather (it is not often that I feel that it is cold enough for me to need to wear long pants outdoors, but there, I could feel cold even when thoroughly bundled up. A bit of a pain at times, but wonderful, and highly preferable to being too warm. You can always bundle up more—even if you are alone or in the right company, you don’t get any less dressed than naked, and being naked and still being too warm is the worst. And where I live now, well, even a light dusting of snow would be a pleasant surprise. It has been in the 70s for a total of like a week this December, and, as I write this, we are only two weeks into the month. Blurg.

Right, so. This time of year, I do have some music that I enjoy listening to. It is not really the traditional music* for this time of year (i.e. Christmas carols—I don’t really hear Spin The Dreidel in grocery stores too often), but it is my playlist, and I enjoy it. So here it is! Because . . . feminism.

Ahem. Here is my playlist. I call it “Wintery Mix,” because forecasters say that and because I am easily amused.

1) Christmas Tree, by Lady Gaga (featuring Space Cowboy)

This one is pretty obvious. I love this song. I love the sound of this song. I love the lyrics to this song. I love the attitude. If you are, for some reason, unfamiliar, the line: “Ho, ho, ho, under the mistletoe” should provide you with a clue. I love slutty music. Also, I assume that by “Christmas tree,” she means her lady-parts, but I have not the faintest idea how she’s seeing it as a tree. But whatever.

2) Cool, by Gwen Stefani

This one is, um, really just because of the song title? I know, it’s abhorrently simple. But …

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Happy Holidays: Christmas Cheer And Bitter Divides

photo of christmas pictures
There is not a War On Christmas.

If there were, I would know. I would be at all of the strategy sessions.

Growing up, I was not bothered by all of the classroom festivities that accompanied the holiday season. I mean, what kindergarten student does not enjoy a break from classroom tedium to clumsily assemble gingerbread houses or to make tacky felt ornaments? I mean, my family set up a tree and lights and had presents—basically Christmas. More accurately described as Santamas, perhaps.

What I did not enjoy, particularly in elementary school (where it was extra abundant), was the default assumption that everyone celebrates Christmas. And feeling left out when other people knew songs that were not taught in music class but that classes were occasionally expected to sing towards the end of December. It was not a feeling of jealousy that, for other students, celebrating Christmas involved more than it did in my household. It was a resentment that I was excluded. That events were planned and that, even as an eight-year-old, I was very aware that the presence of myself and other students at my school who did not actually celebrate Christmas was mostly an afterthought. There was a token Hannukah song for any students who might be Jewish, and that was about it for non-Christians.

As an adult, I have no real desire to ruin anyone’s Christmas. What I want is for, in public spaces, as much inclusion as possible. While one could argue—and I would even agree—that having a decorated evergreen tree has almost become a secular symbol at this point (and, at any rate, at least decorating evergreen trees is not exclusively a Christian practice this time of year), a Nativity display on public property certainly is not. It is an exclusively Christian, religious display and it is not appropriate to display that on public land—certainly not on its own. I …

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‘Doomsday’ Is A Bit Of A Stretch

photo of doomsday pictures
First of all, every time some yahoo says something about the impending “doomsday,” I think about the DC supervillain, Doomsday, and then I think about Superman: Doomsday, the animated film (arguably not for kids) which gets me to cry every time that I see it because after watching Superman get beaten to death by a horrible monster, you then see Lois Lane and Martha Kent crying and I just can’t handle it.

ANYWAY, you guys, the world is not ending this December 21st. And I think that few people would agree with me more than the ancient Mayans. Or contemporary Mayans, really.

It’s not a doomsday prophesy. It’s not really a prophesy (the word “prophecy” is generally misused, but that is an entirely different issue). It’s a calendar marking cyclical events. In the simplest terms, the Mayan “Long Count” calendar is a very lengthy unit of time as expressed in the charting of time. Just like a decade or a century or a millennium. In this case, it was based upon (and I won’t walk you through the math that adds up to it), a period of 5,125 years.

At the end of such a period, there is a transition—to the next set of years. That is all. You celebrate it like you celebrate the dawn of a new millennium. That was the Mayan view of things. It’s an arbitrary date to celebrate the passing of time. I am writing a book. I am reasonably pleased when I finish writing a chapter; I am much more excited when I finish a chapter whose number is a multiple of ten. Why? Mostly because our numbering system is a base-ten system, and so we tend to identify milestones by multiples of ten.

Like any significant date on the calendar, you will always have crazy people who believe that doomsday is here. Not only is this not what the Mayans believed (or believe) about this upcoming Winter Solstice (that’s the 21st, you guys). It is just not a Mayan kind of belief. It is, though not uniquely so, a Judeo-Christian concept. One of the beliefs of early Judaism which set it apart from the beliefs of other northwestern Semitic peoples was that there would be a divinely ordained End Of The World in which the dead would be bodily resurrected—which was why burial in which bodies were intact until burial was important. Christianity has, from the very beginning, held a belief in the very imminent end of the world, one that has evolved with time (and, interestingly, a coded message to fellow Christians became the Book of Revelation which …

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