My loathing of Christmas is well known to long-time readers of The Pain, and I was a little worried that I might have used up all my best ideas on this theme. But driving around running errands on Saturday I heard a segment on “On the Media” about the fundamentalist Christians’ latest persecution fantasy: “the war on Christmas.” I smiled to myself. The War on Christmas. I knew my cartoon was all but finished.
Christians, who comprise 83% of Americans and have dominated Western culture and discourse for the last two thousand years, seem to have a pathological need to imagine themselves an embattled minority. I suppose this ought not to be surprising since they worship a guy whose most fetishistically celebrated achievement was getting beaten, flogged, and executed; Christianity is a martyr complex. So now that there is some belated and grudging official acknowledgement that there are people of other faiths (and even Godless atheists) in this country as well, fundamentalist Christians are rallying believers to defend the baby Jesus against the infidels’ “war on Christmas.” It’s just like white mediocrities crying “reverse racism” whenever affirmative action promotes black mediocrities above them, or Republican leaders bleating “class warfare” whenever anyone dares to complain about another enormous tax cut for their billionaire campaign donors. It’s not like Christians invented Christmas, anyway. There’s been a big festival holiday around the winter solstice for as long as there’s been human civilization, often having to do with the death and rebirth of a demigod: the Egyptian entombment of Osiris, the Greek Lenæa (depicted here), the Roman Saturnalia, etc. Christians just appropriated it for their own purposes, even though what fragmentary evidence there is suggests that Jesus was probably born in the fall. Five hundred years from now I’m sure someone will be lamenting the war on Kwanza.
So obviously this cartoon is a mockery of right-wing Christians’ whiny martyrish paranoia, but it is also an enthusiastic embrace of their caricatured demonization of us secular humanists, and, yes, an unironic advocacy of an all-out War on Christmas. Christmas is a holiday that exists solely for the benefit of children and retailers. Everybody else fucking hates it. It’s a holiday that literally drives people to suicide every year. I don’t have any kids, I can’t stand shopping, and yet Christmas is still inflicted on me for an entire month out of each year anyway. You’d think that now that I’m a grownup, we could give this Christmas bullshit a rest already. It’s like still being forced to go to gym class or take piano lessons. If it can’t be abolished altogether, we could at least contain it--maybe restrict it to a quadrennial nuisance like those other interminable noisy bores nobody cares about anymore, the Olympics and elections. Down with Christmas! Death to the baby Jesus!