[10 February 2005]
Christmas Under Attack!
This last holiday season, conservative Christian groups and right-wing pundits proclaimed that Christmas, that holiest of times, was under attack from the evil force of secularization. The signs were everywhere, they said: banners in stores that said “Happy Holidays”, liberal groups protesting against Christmas scenes, and, of course, gays wanting to marry. It seemed that poor Baby Jesus was backed into a corner, with no one to save him, so Bill O’Reilly, Jerry Falwell, and many others like them came out guns blazing in support of “Our” Lord.
What these blowhards conveniently ignored (besides the fact that their complaints were mostly fabricated), and what Brian Gage has insightfully pointed out in this twisted little holiday story, is that Christmas was killed long ago, and that it wasn’t the “Commies”, the “Homos”, or the “Lefties” that did it; it was that beautiful capitalist system that we here in God-fearing America so love.
It was, a few years ago, briefly fashionable to boycott products marketed by Kathy Lee Gifford and Nike because of the horrendous sweatshop conditions in which they kept their foreign employees. Some concessions were made, and the hoopla has largely died away as the globalization juggernaut continues on. Some people, however, refuse to accept this, and a revolution is brewing. And where is the fuse that will light this powder keg? The North Pole. For years, the elves have worked as virtual slaves for the greedy corporate moguls of Mr. & Mrs. Claus, but they’ve decided that this Christmas is the time to finally strike back for freedom, overthrowing those who have kept them down for so long.
But it is not Santa Corp. alone that will pay the price for their misdeeds. As Gage knows, there can be no successful corporation without customers. So, the elves plan to bring their righteous destruction down our very chimneys, and likely, up our very asses. Everyone who spent their money at the mall, everyone who asked Santa for material goods instead of peace and freedom for all, everyone who spent more money on gift certificates to Best Buy than on food for the hungry, they all will face the wrath of little Leninist elves. Why? Because we, the consumers of capitalist society, are complicit in and just as responsible for all the oppression that our culture exports.
It seems ironic that the birth of a man who fed the hungry, clothed the poor, cast moneychangers out of the temple, and emphasized spiritual rewards rather than material ones would be celebrated with by mass marketing, consumer exploitation, and corporate greed. It seems ironic, too, that those who “defend” Christmas are those who most support this capitalist feeding frenzy. It is this irony, of course, which fuels Gage’s little illustrated manifesto. Perhaps a bit expensive at $17.95 for only 40 pages, Burn, Christmas! Burn!! is an effective and humorous bit of political propaganda, and the illustrations, painted in thick, Christmas-y colors by Jeff Peterson, keep the mood both light and edgy, not unlike the mood conveyed by some of the twisted stories of Roald Dahl. The greatest irony of all, of course, is that this is the perfect gift for all the Marxists and revolutionaries on your Christmas list.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/burn-christmas-burn/