December 16th, 2015 1:06am - Posted By: Mark Cohen
Merry War on Christmas
Yesterday, December 7th, 2015 – a date which will live in infamy – the War on Christmas was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the hot air forces of the Republican party.
I admit it. I love the War on Christmas. It is my favorite time of year. I know some folks get depressed during the holidays, but not me. Let me tell you why I treasure this special season.
First, I enjoy the unique way the word “war” is used when we refer to the War on Christmas. The traditional definition of “war” meant the use of military force to defeat another nation. But during the War on Christmas, we can use “war” any way we want. It can mean Starbucks removing a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid from its coffee cups. Or just saying, “Happy Holidays.” In addition, if we can use “war” that way, why not use it other ways? When I finish this column, after my coffee loosens things up a bit, I’m going to declare war on my gastrointestinal tract. If you know what I mean.
The War on Christmas is such a happy time of year. People are so nice to each other. You’ll see someone on the street, smile at them, and say, “I hope you enjoy the holidays” or “Happy Chanukah,” and this makes them feel so good. Then they start getting into the spirit of it and treating others kindly. Pretty soon everyone is being nice to each other, which is somewhat ironic given that it’s a war.
I enjoy decorating for the War on Christmas. I enjoy cutting down pine trees and putting lights on them to remind people of the many pine trees that grow in Nazareth and the wonderful electrical system that city had two thousand years ago. I have a manger scene, of course, that features a blond haired, blue-eyed baby Jesus just like the real one, but sometimes I will do something unique with my manger scene for the War on Christmas. Like position a live platypus right next to the Virgin Mary. Now I know there wasn’t really a live platypus present when Christ was born, but the War on Christmas is supposed to be fun.
One of the best things about the War on Christmas is watching the young children. We buy them presents and wrap them in brightly colored wrapping papers that don’t show a single image of Jesus. Many times the wrapping paper features a snowman or Santa and some reindeer because the War on Christmas is a winter holiday. We put the presents under the tree while the children sleep. The next morning they are so excited and they rush to the tree to start opening presents. They are so happy. My children love the War on Christmas.
Another fantastic thing about the War on Christmas is the way it boosts our economy. The National Retail Federation estimates Americans spend $465 billion during every War on Christmas. People go to the mall, shop for presents, and maybe even enjoy an Orange Julius (because there is no nativity scene on an Orange Julius cup). And the money we spend on presents trickles down to those less fortunate than us and helps create jobs.
Music is another wonderful aspect of the War on Christmas. People get together and go door-to-door singing Christmas carols and spreading good cheer. Kids learn Spanish because all the stores have Jose Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad playing in the background 24/7.
One of our family traditions for the War on Christmas is to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, a film about democratic socialism.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated attack on the War on Christmas by the Republican party, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.
I believe that I interpret the will of the people when I assert that we will not only defend the War on Christmas to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that the War on Christmas is in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.
Posted in: Humor
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December 16th, 2015 1:02am - Posted By: Mark Cohen
Against Political Correctness
“I'm very depressed how in this country you can be told ‘That's offensive’ as though those two words constitute an argument.” - Christopher Hitchens
I am liberal on most issues. Nevertheless, I am fed up with political correctness (PC). One dictionary defines PC as “the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”
The problem with that definition is the word “perceived.” Who is the perceiver? Some may perceive an Internet meme about suicide bombers as insulting to all Muslims while others find it funny because it pokes fun at a particular subset of Muslims.
I offer my own definition of PC. It is a doctrine that elevates sensitivity to others over truth. It is true that some Muslims are suicide bombers. Yet PC tells us we can’t poke fun at that fact or even mention it. If we do, the PC crowd labels us “Islamophobic” or accuses us of promoting “hate speech.” And it is much easier to label someone an “Islamophobe” than do the hard work of intelligently discussing the reality of radical Islamic terrorism.
PC advocates often use language to try to shame others. For instance, they label those opposed to gay marriage “homophobes.” I support gay marriage, but I know people raised in a religious tradition that taught them marriage is between and man and a woman. To be “phobic” means to fear something. My friends that oppose gay marriage do not fear gays; they just grew up with a different definition of marriage. Using labels to avoid addressing the merits on an argument is intellectually lazy.
Examples of how ridiculous PC has become are plentiful. Not long ago students at the University of California in Irvine voted to ban the American flag to create a more “culturally inclusive” environment. They felt the flag might offend some because they see it as a sign of American imperialism. The irony of students using their First Amendment right of free speech, a value our flag symbolizes, to argue for banning the flag is difficult to miss.
PC begins in childhood these days. Now every child that plays a team sport gets a participation trophy. PC advocates don’t want children on the losing team to feel bad because players on the winning team received a trophy. This approach obscures the truth that one team won and the other lost. Watching the winning team receive a trophy should inspire children on the losing team to work harder and try to do better next time.
I am told some schools no longer force students to participate in physical education because, gosh, we wouldn’t want little Johnny to feel bad if he came in last in the mile run. Nevermind the truth that childhood obesity is rampant. Never mind the truth that little Johnny’s heart, lungs, and legs get stronger every time he runs.
While PC is often associated with liberals, conservatives offer their own forms of PC. Conservative school boards across the nation are attempting to force schools to teach a “clean” version of American history that ignores the truth that aspects of our history were fraught with racism, bigotry, brutality, and injustice.
Some people take PC so seriously that they have completely lost their sense of humor. A few months ago some boys at a frat house hung banners in front of their house. One read, “Freshman Daughter Drop Off” and another read, “Go Ahead and Drop Off Mom Too.” This outraged many feminists. They claimed, without any empirical evidence, such behavior promotes a “rape culture” on campus. I have two daughters, but I found the signs funny. The signs poked fun at the obvious truth that a great deal of consensual sex takes place on campus, some of it at frat houses. They poked fun at the image of frat houses popularized in the movie Animal House. (If you intend to write a letter to the editor, please come up with a better argument than, “You wouldn’t understand because you’re not a woman.” I’m not a pilot, but I understand how aircraft fly).
Any doctrine that sacrifices truth and free speech to avoid potentially offending someone is highly suspect. PC advocates are turning us into a nation of humorless wimps.
Finally, there is a difference between PC and good manners. Using the N-word to refer to a black person doesn’t promote truth – it’s just an offensive racial slur without any truth attached to it.
Posted in: Politics
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