Bloody Christmas!

Now, by this time you may have noticed I am not a Christian.

 

OK, now that I've lost the interest of most of the American audience...

Officially I'm a Jedi, having been one of the 30% of people in Brighton and Hove that declared themselves so on the most recent census, however, that was mainly a bit of tomfoolery and a mild gesture of irritation at the concept of the fucking census, about which there may be another rant building.

Anyhoo, as most people in the UK I was raised nominally Christian, by which I mean I went to a theoretically Church of England series of schools, was forced to sing hymns at those schools at least until I worked out you couldn't actually be forced to do this and, of course, we celebrated fucking Christmas every damn year until I was able to squeeze out from under it. My parents, by the way, consist of one atheist and one agnostic leaning solidly to 'not giving a shit'.

Just to fill y'all in, my seasonal festivities are based around the Winter Solstice. The great thing about the Winter Solstice is that every really good thing about Christmas was actually stolen from it, and so if you go back to the Solstice, you get all the good, none of the bad. This year, despite the fact that my flat's not heated, and there's only one 60w bulb to light the whole front room, was a resounding success, with games, music, chatting and merriment from all and sundry.

What's good? Well. I am partial to;
- The giving and receiving of gifts.
- A grand meal or two with family, friends and loved ones.
- A tree celebrating life enduring despite adversity.

What's bad? Well, I loathe;
- Bloody Jesus.
- Carols.
- Santa.
- Cards.

Lets take these in order.

Jesus

I have nothing whatever against christians. That is blantantly untrue, I'm going to have to caveat. I have no problems with people having their own spiritual beliefs. I do have a problem with indoctrinated religion, dogmatic rote morality and irrationality. Jesus almost certainly existed, historical genuine research though suggests he was a Nazarene (which is a whole other thing than 'a person from Nazareth') and was therefore involved in expressing the dissatisfaction of a religious minority against the legitimate government of the time through violence and the instigation of fear. So, a terrorist. Several hundred years after he died by being nailed to some wood, most likely, though there is some evidence that in fact the whole cruxifiction was political bullshit and actually he escaped to Masada where he lived out his years balling whores, a bunch of people trying to get some popularity for their new club wrote a whole pile of crap about him. Some of this was collected into the new testament, and whole bunch of other stuff was discarded and sometimes literally burnt because they didn't fit in to what the Catholics liked, even though most of these documents had at least as much validity as the ones they kept. These works contain a whole bunch of fairly basic sound moral principles which no sane person ought to really argue with, though I, and others, find them to be somewhat simple and vapid soundbytes rather than a sound basis for a moral foundation. other parts of it are completely whacky and downright wrong. This is in danger of derialing, but, in short, if you believe in Jesus, fine, be happy, good luck to you and your other invisible friends, but if you think he was a white figure who literally walked on water, rose from the dead and manifested to heaven, then, frankly, you're an idiot. More specifically on Christmas, I hate, HATE, that a perfectly good festival of life and family got stolen and turned into a celebration of the little shit. I feel my bowels beginning to explode with rage at this act of grotesque evil perpetrated by the bloody Romans. It's not just the magnitude of the crime, the violation of so many cultures, but the fact that for such a long time it's been indoctrinated so deeply that there are few amongst us that even comprehend what was ripped from our societies. Focusing it all on the vomit inducing LBJ just caps it all off.

Carols

Oh, lets all sing carols! Oh, yes. A pet hate. What's the difference between a carol and a hymn? None, really. They're both devotional songs, except carols tend to be a bit more sickening. Even then, I don't hate them per se, what I hate is that look people give you when you explain that you don't sing carols, or hymns, because you do not believe in their deity and feel it is inappropriate to express your love and obedience to it. You might know the look, the one that says, 'but it's Christmas!' immediately followed by 'You're a miserable sod!'. I am NOT a miserable sod, I find few things in life as rewarding as eating well, drinking until you pass out, dancing singing, laughing and joking with friends and loved ones. I am, however, someone who finds the automatic buy-in to this ridiculous schlock offensive. We all have minds, we can all use them, but apparently it's some kind of fucking act of unbridled evil to do so about christmas. There's some kind of exception to the rule. Fucking carols, I fucking hate them.

Santa

Oh for fucks sake can someone please provide some kind of answer as to why this arse crap is so fucking ingrained? Why is there some need for a mythical fat fuck that seems to enveigle its way into the mindsets of even adults? What's so wrong with the idea that we give gifts to each other because we LIKE each other? Why is there some need for some kind of farcical escrow agent? Why am I, at the tender age of thirty four (as of writing) expected to wear a goddamn red hat with white fur edging and put on a pointless Brian Blessed impression just to distribute gifts to people? What kind of society do we live in when these things are required of one at all, but especially as an adult?

Christmas Cards

Quite aside from the schmaltz and almost invariably bilious nature of the cards' illustrations, cards themsleves are loathsome. Why? Well, this goes back to hallmark, and blatant and outright consumerism. Cards ought to be, what they were first created for, in fact, something that you send to people that you would otherwise be seeing at some significant event, but are unable to. So, you send someone a birthday card if you can't be there for their birthday, a wedding card if you're going to miss their wedding and, do I need to explain the Christmas Card? Instead what happened was Hallmark, and other card manufacturers went to great lengths to convey the idea that you send and give cards to people even if you're going to be there to say what you'd say in the card to their faces. Why? Well, because they manufacture and sell cards. The same people then went on to create entirely new events for people to send yet more cards to, such as Valentine's Day. OK, yes, before you shout at me, Valentine's Day did exists before the cards did, but it was Hallmark et al who popularised the day as a big showy day with cards, and balloons and gifts and all manner of crap that they happened to sell, and the mindless sheep masses simply bought into it. it didn't seem to matter that they'd never done it before, Hallmark says that's the way its done and so you do it. Well, fuck Hallmark. I don't do cards. In circumstances where I would be expected to send one (ie if I am unable to attend something I would under other circumstances attend) then I write a little note. I don't like getting cards, I don't give them full stop and I fucking hate that I have to explain this time and time and time again because seemingly the whole fucking world finds the act of snubbing the altar of the greetings card industry mystefying.

Oh, and lastly, I find myself almost on the verge of homicide over one last thing. It's not directly Christmas related other than a perfect example of the problem occurred yesterday (Christmas Day 2009) and the problem is this - why do some people sem incapable of understanding the difference between their own taste, and other people's taste? Are they simply astronomically self-centered?
Lemme give you a real life example of how it should work. My other half is Jane, one of our great friends is Helen. Helen is effusive and arty and adorable, and therefore tends to wear flouncy things. Jane is reserved and dignified. They both had birthdays recently, and Jane bought Helen some very large dangly earrings in purple, just the sort of thing Helen likes. Helen bought Jane a pair of teardrop stud earrings, just the sort of thing Jane likes.

Now let me tell you how things went for me this Christmas.
Some weeks ago Jane gets an email from her mother, Christine, asking for my chest measurements. I immediately go defensive, as this isn't the first time I've run into this problem - clearly Christine wants to purchase me something to wear. Please note that I don't bemoan the gift giving, I appreciate that very much.
I've known Christine for some seven years - in all that time she has never (nor has anyone else really) seen me wear anything that wasn't black, or on occassion, a white smock or fencing shirt. This is because pretty much everything I own is black, apart from a small collection of smocks and fencing shirts in white. I have, shall we say, a style, which I would like to describe as being a post-goth, post-new romantic quasi-industrial apocalyptic chic, but is probably more along the lines of 'I can't really be bothered and so I just wear black, plus, it hides the belly of doom'. The point is, though, that my colour and style range are very obvious to anyone. This fact seems to have escaped the notice of Christine though, for when I unwrap my gift, within it is a brown v-necked t-shirt emblazoned with a vile smokey blue diagonal pattern and, of all things, a shield representing a sporting team of some kind, I cannot say which as I am so repulsed by sport that I have no knowledge of any of this faux heraldic bullshit that seems important to the bottom feeders of the genetic barrel. This appears to be obvious to everyone that has met me, aside from half cut morons in pubs who are incapable of understanding that 'I don't like football.' is both a meaningful sentence, an answer to the question ''o'd you support then, eh?' and a reasonable lifestyle choice.
Again, I don't begrudge the gift giving, I appreciate the giving, honestly, but the only way I can really take this, the seventh year of being given something vile to wear, as some kind of enemy action, an attempt to subvert me, an example of counter-culture, into their Enid Blyton world where everything is jolly good, problems are all solved by a long walk in the freezing cold, everyone loves Christmas and lashings and lashings of ginger beer. To me, this seems rude. I mean, I don't, though now I come to think of it I bloody well should, buy them Cradle of Filth t-shirts, or make up sets consisting solely of black, or ornaments of zombies defiling cattle or indeed any of the tropes of the more aggressive side of the subcultures, and expect them to spool off a long spiel of fake thanks about how jolly good fun they are. Actually this year I got them (with Jane) a book of Gershwin music. 7-0 Counter Culture Vs. Blytonia.