Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On Saying "Merry Christmas!"

I've come across a few recent bits of writing from people who think we should do away with "Merry Christmas."  Even though I'm an atheist, I love Christmas, and I really hope I don't offend people with the following because it is Christmas and all!

The rules around what's allowed during Christmas at my public school seem to change from year to year.  This year, there were carols and a tree without any debate, but some years we can only celebrate Christmas and put up a tree in the foyer if we have something there also commemorating Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Ramadan, the latter two not always falling at the same time as Christmas.  It's unfortunate a Festivus pole was never a requirement.  That none of these have anything to do with Christmas beyond a semblance of timing (some years closer than others) isn't necessarily a problem, except we typically don't celebrate anything else from any other culture at any other time.  It's a grab bag of festivities that we use to permit a Christian celebration in a pubic school.

But this is an argument that suggests either we celebrate everything or nothing demanding a show of equality through equal time given.  My counterargument is that this celebration is a part of the dominant culture and, more importantly, that it's a tradition worth fostering.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On Driving Into a Wall

Have you seen Inside Job? It’s a great film about the ins and outs of the mortgage crisis all in layman’s terms so even I could get my head around it all. The interesting thing about it to me is the film footage and books and articles that show the number of people who predicted the collapse long before it happened juxtaposed with the main players looking baffled that it all went down as predicted. In the film, Christine Lagarde said it was like there was a tsunami coming and everyone was trying to decide which swim trunks to wear.

That’s what people do. We are either outrageously short-sighted or unwilling to face real problems head-on.  And it's a dangerous way to be.

What I wonder is, did those top guns know it was all going to fall apart and have - even just in a small place in the backs of their clever little heads - an exit strategy? Or did they completely repress the thought that it might all come to an end? How authentic was their surprise and dismay? Because they all seem to be doing okay right now. None of the mucky-mucks are in jail or tragically destitute. Curious.