"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
December 19, 2007

Happy Wednesday!

Around this time of year guilt-ridden, post-colonial, superficially-multicultural countries engage in an annual ritual. No, I’m not talking about Advent, or rampant consumerism, or the over-consumption of chocolate and turkey. I’m talking about the angst-ridden public debate over the role of Christmas in modern societies. Should we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Do trees […]

Around this time of year guilt-ridden, post-colonial, superficially-multicultural countries engage in an annual ritual. No, I’m not talking about Advent, or rampant consumerism, or the over-consumption of chocolate and turkey.

I’m talking about the angst-ridden public debate over the role of Christmas in modern societies. Should we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Do trees and other decorations offend (or potentially offend) “minorities.” Should we be collectively singing songs that “privilege” one religion over another.

It’s a sad and sorry spectacle!

If living in India taught me anything about what a modern cosmopolitan society could look like it is this – everyone gets a turn in the public square. Rather that privately agonising about what other religious might feel, in India religion is the public debate conditio sine qua non. It’s really that simple – in a diverse culture respect must be universal.

Of all the essays, rants and arguments I’ve heard this season, Brad’s piece “Don’t Tell Me It’s Wednesday” stands out. I encourage you to to take the time to read it.

If nothing else, the way we approach this whole “Christmas War” thing speaks not just to our sense of tradition or our personal religion but to something much bigger and in this age much more important – who we view our relationships with those around us. Especially, our relationships with those that are different to us and those we disagree with.

And, in the end, doesn’t that bring us right back to the whole point of Christmas?

[tags] Christmas [/tags]

Responses
Toni 15 years ago

I’m pretty convinced that the whole suppression of Christian expression stems from a completely different set of reasons than a desire to not offend those of different faiths.

That’s worrying – I sound like a conservative right winger. Guess even they can be right some of the time.

I shall have a look at the article later.

Fernando Gros 15 years ago

Perhaps. However, the “not offend” paradigm is the way it often presents itself. At least that’s my experience. Of course, the deep irony is how frequently people assume an offense may happen without actually going and asking people if it really is offensive.

Paul 15 years ago

Please accept without obligation, explicit or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practice of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions.

Please also accept, under aforesaid waiver of obligation on your part, our best wishes for a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of this calendar year of the Common Era, but with due respect for the calendars of all cultures or sects, and for the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or dietary preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you acknowledge that:

This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal at the wishor’s discretion.

This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged.

This greeting implies no warranty on the part of the wishors to fulfil these wishes, nor any ability of the wishors to do so, merely a beneficent hope on the part of the wishors that they in fact occur.

This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishors.

This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first.

The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor.

Any references in this greeting to “the Lord”, “Father Christmas”, “Our Saviour”, or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged.

Happy christmas!

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