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Thursday, December 23, 2004

P.O.S. on Earth 

Until now we have managed to avoid weighing in on the Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays flap, but earlier tonight as we were wrapping copies of Maus and Maus II for our Christer nephew-in-law we found ourselves wondering, as we sometimes do, what would Bill O'Reilly think? -- and we realized that we knew what Bill O'Reilly would think, which meant that we were actually thinking like Bill O'Reilly, and unless we took quick action we would never be able to order the falafel again. Our first impulse was to pour a bottle of lye down our ear canal, as we sometimes do, just to bleach out the inside of our skull; but since the store was closed we decided to read some Charles Pierce instead, and we are pleased to report that his latest letter to Altercation had an even more salubrious effect on our spirits than we usually get from the lye:
Just when you thought there was no bottom to the barrel, the usual suspects decide to use Christmas as another means by which to set Americans against each other. Conflict serves political goals, and it makes great cable television, and those are the only reasons why this whole "Christmas Under Siege" campaign erupted.

The political goal is to distract us from the fact that C-Plus Augustus and his party are embarking on a legislative agenda that would make Jacob Marley look like Dorothy Day, and the latter purposes serve only the likes of Bill O'Reilly, who's coming increasingly detached from his internal loofah, and Pat Buchanan, who has not lived a day in public life where he didn't appeal to the country's basest instincts.

So we get a blizzard of dishonest anecdote and absurd posturing in the service of a lunatic masquerade that encourages one group of Americans not to trust another group of Americans, and assures them that they are simultaneously superior in their morality and utterly in peril.

And why? For power and for ratings, nothing more. The people pushing this notion know it's crazy. All they have to do is lok around them, for pity's sake. Yet they will coin this season for their own cheap advantage.

Remember Marley's warning: "Or would you know...the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago...It is a ponderous chain."

Here's a tip for you, Bill, and Pat, and Joe, and Jerry, and the Reverend Pat. You could tie up the Queen Mary with what you're making for yourselves here. Go to sleep, walk with the Ghosts, buy the Cratchits a turkey. And, for the love of god and in the spirit of the season, don't put that thing in the punchbowl.
Because we're (at least temporarily) suffused with good will toward men, we feel we should share with you the all-purpose, omni-denominational holiday greeting we recently received from Zemblan patriot C.F. Feel free to recycle it, as appropriate, throughout 2005:



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