Tag Archives: christmas
Looks like it's War on Christmas time again:
It's so predictable.
1. Find vaguely out-of-the-ordinary anecdote from nonrepresentative city or state
'Peoria, Illinois took down their nativity scene because it was blocking traffic! Atheistocrats!
2. Inflate anecdote to paradigm stature.
'This just shows how hard it is to be a Christian in this country today!'
3. Find random basement-dweller to represent 'the left' and shout him down
'Jesus was a philosopher. He has nothing to do with our Christmas. You, sir, are a philosophy philistine!'
I want to teach a via-satellite seminar to a representative of every demographic group in America called Criticism is Not Oppression, or possibly Quit Your Bellyaching, You Pussies.
Just because you have to tolerate people who criticize and mock you does not mean you're being oppressed. When Bill O'Reilly goes on his show and pants about how atheists are immoral, latte-drinking cat-lovers, I'm not being oppressed. Similarly, when atheists put up 'Reason's Greetings' billboards, or protest outside a church, or megaphone that Christmas is retarded (which, come on, even the Christians have to admit at this point), you can't act all victimey, like 'It's not even safe to erect giant trees in public spaces without them having signs next to them. Signs!'
If you don't like being criticized, criticize back. No one is telling Christians that they can't celebrate Christmas however they want, or shutting down temples to prevent Jews from Hannuking, or chaining atheists to a hearth and feeding them gravy with a fois gras duck-tube.
In other words, everyone shut the fuck up. Your beliefs, I know you're fond of them, will get criticized in one way or another, publicly and privately, loudly and softly, by scholars and derelicts. Everyone just shut the fuck up. Until you are physically barred from practicing your religion, or your legal rights to do so are threatened, just accept this as an inconvenient part of modern adulthood, like drycleaning. And leave Washington the fuck alone.
Say what you want about the low poverty rate and robust social justice, the real reason I'm still here is that I don't have to survive 300 Starbucks-tinny renditions of 'Jingle the Fuck-Nosed Wonderland' every December. The stores and cafes here have realized that fully-functioning humans generally don't want to hear the same three songs on a loop for 31 grinding Shopping Days in a row, and just play the same gloomy Euro-bivalence as the rest of the year. In the states, I used to spend my Decembers thinking that trough-fed capitalism and Hallmark-tatorship were eroding our morals and making us miserable zombies. But now I realize that, no, it was actually just that fucking music.
So imagine my surprise this morning when I found this.
Is this the beginning of middle age, when you start liking things because they're nice, and they make you smell pumpkin pie coming from your earbuds? Is this a gateway to Thomas Kinkade, Richard Gere and Jesus Christ My Personal Savior? I feel like I have to find some yuletide cocaine or something now.
This morning I got up early and headed down to the beach. It's the middle of summer here, but New Zealand gets all of its air directly from Antarctica, so it has 30-degree weather with 8-degree wind. This more or less means that you pack your parka and your sunscreen whenever you leave the house.
The beach was whitecappy paradise, and I hung out at a cafe, slowly choked the life out of The Dissertation That Wouldn't Die, and watched kayakers get gust-raped.
Tomorrow I'm off to my favorite new Alps for a surreal summer crispmas. I don't know what proper kiwis do to pageant-up this unholy celebration of a Jewish deity's sketchy birth, but we'll probably end up eating barbecued ham or something.
So I'm finally back from two tropical weeks in Panama. I won't run down the whole itinerary, but here's a distillation of the coolest bits, in descending uncomfortability:
Finding a Shitzu-sized scorpion outside of our hotel room
Looking down at my leg on our second day and finding a giant yellow spider calmly grazing on my thigh-hair
The three-hour boat ride across a particularly swelly bit of the Pacific, with a frightened 14-year-old helming the Evinrude
Having 'Gringos!' shouted at us routinely
Staying at one of Noriega's old training grounds an hour up a river in the rainforest
Hiking from one mountain town to the other in the densest, weirdest forest I've ever seen
Climbing a(nother) mountain and seeing the Atlantic on one side and the Pacific on the other
Visiting remote hot springs and spending the afternoon soaking (and avoiding bullet-ants)
Meeting not one but three potheaded, alienatingly German hostel owners
Climbing a tower on a hill above the canal, drinking Panamanian beer, and watching the boats go past
Having a family of howler monkeys surround us and hang out for almost an hour
All bullet points aside, it was a great trip. Though I'm really looking forward to heading back to Denmark on Thursday, this 'Christmas pause' has been great. I wish I could have spent more of it actually relaxing, but oh well. My flight back gives me a weekend to kill in London. If bad journalism, cemetery dental work and pedestrian-aimed scud-taxis don't get me ready for Europe again, nothing will.
I am pleased to announce that the first phase of Operation Avoid Danish Winter is complete. I returned last night from 10 days on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Non-photographic highlights:
Biking 38 miles down a mountain.
Snorkeling with all kinds of beautiful fish, colorful rocks and assorted tourist detritus. Got stung by urchin while attempting to pet it.
Overhearing scraps of conversations between the myriad discontent American families at the hotel. The filet of the bunch, heard from the balcony at 11 pm on Christmas Eve: "I know you're my brother, but why do you have to be such a FAGGOT?!" This was followed by loud blubbering.
Jumping off a waterfall into natural pools in the middle of a rainforest.
Boogie-boarding every morning.
Staying in a hotel with cable. Me and my brother missed most of the Christmas dinner conversation because we were in the middle of a speculate-fest about 'Top Chef'.
The reliably 80-degree temperatures
Here's some pics:
Next up: Panama for the next two weeks. Expect anecdotes about snakebites…