Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Opening a new defensive front from the Left against the Left, Garrison Keillor entered the War on Christmas with a column bashing Ralph Waldo Emerson, following your own path, Unitarians, and Jewish songwriters penning Christmas songs:

...Emerson tossed off little bons mots that have been leading people astray ever since. "To be great is to be misunderstood," for example. This tiny gem of self-pity has given license to a million arrogant and unlovable people to imagine that their unpopularity somehow was proof of their greatness...

...Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that's their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write "Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we'll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah"? No, we didn't.

Christmas is a Christian holiday -- if you're not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don't mess with the Messiah.

Christmas does not need any improvements. It is a common ordinary experience that resists brilliant innovation.

While Garrison Keillor is upset about Unitarians messing with "Silent Night," it should be noted that "Jingle Bells" was written for a Unitarian congregation in the 1800s. As for Christmas resisting innovation, the whole holiday seems to be lifted from other traditions. Here Stephen Fry speaks up for the sun worshippers, pagans, Celts, Teutonic tribes, the god Mithras, and Saturnalia.

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