Merry War on Christmas! Did you miss it? No? Well, too bad, because after ten years it appears to be as important and obnoxious a part of our solstice revels as SantaCon and “Wonderful Christmastime.”
But though sheer habit and a taste for proven clickbait may be what keeps rightbloggers on the WoC beat, you have to hand it to them: They still find ways to keep it fresh. And by “fresh” we mean ridiculous.
This year’s War on Christmas action has been at least as crazy as that of previous years. In recent days, for example, we’ve had Fox anchor Megyn Kelly’s bizarre assertion of Santa’s (and Jesus’) whiteness and Jon Stewart’s uncivil rejoinder. Then there’s this weird screaming-laughing little girl video which no one can say for sure isn’t a parody.
But these are mostly offhand gestures, idle swats at a persistent cloud of gnats; the Christmas Warriors are as consistent and focused as ever, and as the WoC heads into its second decade may have even gotten better at stirring things up.
TownHall, for instance, got the ball rolling way back in November, with a “War on Christmas Starts Early” story that turned out to be about internet sales tax proposals supported by big-box stores. “That’s right,” announced TownHall’s Dan Holler, “the retail industry is targeting online Christmas shopping.”
Hundreds of non-War-on-Christmas related words later, Holler, apparently realizing he needed a WoC button, decided to throw in Obamacare for a triple wingnut word score: “As Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement (and presidency) continues to crumble before our eyes, proponents of this tax plan are continuing to work quietly behind the scenes. Conservatives must ensure the tax-schemers do not play the role of the Grinch who stole Christmas.” This man will never miss a meal!
Glenn Beck’s The Blaze maintains a regular War on Christmas beat, on which reporters file stories such as “Satanists Join Atheists in Quest to Combat Christian Nativity at Florida Capitol.” Right Wing News keeps the subject top of mind by asking readers to take a War on Christmas survey, with questions like “Do you believe public schools should be allowed to sing Christmas carols if they want?” The responses are unsurprising.
And mainstream conservatives treat the War with growing seriousness. Last summer Texas passed a “Merry Christmas Bill,” which will “allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ and” — for you communists — “‘happy holidays.'” Bill sponsor Texas Values claimed the new law was necessary because some schools had prohibited kids from passing out Jesus stuff to other students. The law also authorizes schools to put up Christmas trees and nativity scenes, and also other religious items, in case you want your children to distribute Wiccan Flash Cards or something.
The Oklahoma House is working on a similar bill now, as are legislators in Louisiana, New Jersey, and Alabama. Baby Jesus is even winning at the federal level — this month, Roll Call reports, the U.S. House Administration Committee ruled that “effective immediately, Members may include incidental holiday greetings in their official constituent communications.” That means Merry Christmas can be all over your Congressman’s next look-what-I-done-for-you newsletter.
With Republicans quickly passing laws for Merry Christmas, you’d think the War would be considered won and done. But rightbloggers can’t give it up — because for them, so long as someone, real or imaginary, is aggressively refusing to accept Jesus as the Reason for the Season, the war isn’t over.
Which is to say, the War will go on as long as there are liberals, because in the rightblogger imagination liberals hate Christmas and plot its demise. Polls as well as common sense suggest that’s not true, but empirical evidence doesn’t mean much compared with the psychological truth that when rightbloggers really like something, like Santa Claus, liberty, or looking at women’s breasts, they must assume that liberals despise it.
A classic case is Sabrepoint, which attributed liberal hatred of Christmas to the influence of “Italian Communist, Antonio Gramsci,” and suggested “one of the best ways to combat the Gramscian war on Christmas is to wish everyone you meet a a Merry Christmas! And if someone is ‘offended’ by this? TOUGH.”
That’s putting the “fuck you” back in Christmas! Sabrepoint wasn’t the only one. The Republican National Congressional Committee offered “Happy Holidays is What Liberals Say” t-shirts and mugs. “Say Merry Christmas and annoy a Liberal,” cheered Red State. (You can get that whole column read to you in a robot voice here.) Rare.us put up a “10 things to get your liberal friend for Christmas,” which included “Soap, because sometimes Democrats are just plain filthy” and “Antibiotics. Because, apparently, casual sex is what sells Obamacare.” Ho ho ho.
Moonbattery ran video of an apparent Muslim fundamentalist preacher denouncing Christmas and drew this logical connection: “Obviously these words must be stricken from the language lest a Muslim be offended, right moonbats? According to the liberal doctrine of relativism, this malevolent kook’s ravings are as morally profound as anything in the Bible.” “Simply beautiful! Fox News’ Brit Hume scored once again with that hilarious Photoshop,” kvelled Twitchy about a picture of a Christmas tree farm that charged more for “holiday trees” than for “Christmas trees.” “It has been retweeted nearly 900 times and counting,” reported Twitchy. “Most liberals hate Christmas for the following reasons,” joshed John W. Lillpop, “The real messiah was born 1961 years after Christ in a mud hut somewhere in a Kenyan village just a few thousand miles outside of Honolulu…”
Beating up liberals makes the brethren festive; witness the parody song at IMAO, “12 Government Approved Days of Inclusive Non-Patriarchal Winter Holidays,” which trades out the familiar gifts for things like “12 ‘Occupy’ Drummers Drumming,” “8 Welfare Recipients-a-Milking,” and our favorite, “4 Benghazi Dead.” Move over, Elmo & Patsy!
Another sure-fire War on Christmas starter is the Anecdote of Oppression, whereby some anti-Christmas outrage involving Jesus-free greetings or cancelled carols gets force-multiplied across the internet.
Thus, a creche getting moved from one part of an Air Force base to another to comply with regulations became “Air Force Kicks Baby Jesus off Base” in the hands of TownHall’s Todd Starnes. Starnes quoted Sarah Palin, currently peddling a book about how liberals hate Christmas: “We see stories like this every day,” Palin said, “and yet leftwing pundits still claim that the so-called ‘War on Christmas’ is a figment of the imagination…” “Apparently if you are ever in trouble and need a quick response from the Pentagon, tell them a plastic Baby Jesus is at the gates,” a flak from the Liberty Institute told Starnes, to which Starnes rejoined, “Maybe that’s what they should’ve done in Benghazi.”
There are also more personal testimonials. “I was a casualty in the War on Christmas,” said Ann Althouse, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin. She’d brought some Whole Foods bags back to the store and “one of the bags — probably reused 3 or 4 times — a handle had torn lose,” she reported. “I said, ‘Foiled in our effort at recycling.’ Then — because I’m always looking for the positive side of things and noticing the red-and-green image of a string of Christmas lights on the new bag — ‘At least the new one is a Christmas bag.'” Pause for effect: “The cashier said: ‘Holiday bag.'”
As her commenters ranted about political correctness, Althouse went amongst them to defend the cashier: “Remember I had just acted like I cared a lot about environmentalism,” she wrote, “so she might have astutely pegged me as overly politically correct and might have believed that she needed to pass a correctness test and that when the customer says ‘Christmas’ the employee responds saying something with ‘holiday.'” Further down Althouse amplified: “I actually am more concerned that Whole Foods might monitor commentary about the company on the web and connect this blog post to the particular cashier… my name is not on that transaction, so it would take some effort to connect it to me. Maybe there is a surveillance film showing the business with the bag with the broken handle…” Who says conservatives aren’t prepared to defend the little guy from rapacious corporations? Maybe if those striking McDonalds workers showed a little more spirit, Althouse would defend them, too.
This is not to speak of rightbloggers’ tautological assumptions that their own complaints prove the War on Christmas exists (“Illustrating the effectiveness of the progressive’s intimidation, anonymously signs are being stealthily posted in public areas, ‘It’s OK to say, Merry Christmas'”), nor of their tales that are total bullshit, such as the one about the Obamas refusing to call the big, decorated fir at the White House a Christmas tree. (“It was false in 2009 and 2011,” Snopes.com wearily informs readers, “and is just as false in 2013.”)
Some rightbloggers explained that their War was a preemptive war. “Today’s home owners associations have been downright commie in their approach to veterans who have proudly displayed the stars and stripes over the last few years,” asserted Craig Andresen at The National Patriot. “…In today’s politically correct, agnostic, liberal, secular society, why WOULDN’T we expect to start hearing orders that Christmas lights and Christmas trees in windows will be banned?” Connect the dots, sheeple! Others portrayed the War on Christmas as a Lost Cause sort of thing: “The Charlie Brown ‘Meaning of Christmas’ Show Would Never be Allowed Today,” said Wizbang’s Warner Todd Huston, because Linus reads from the Bible. “Now imagine how the left would lose its tiny collective mind if a new cartoon came out with this sort of Christian theme was to come on the air!” chortled Huston. Yes, imagine if liberals were around when that cartoon came out, during the Lyndon Johnson Administration; they would have blown a gasket.
When even fellow Christians exhibited signs of tiring with the War — as in a USA Today story called “Not all Christians believe there is a ‘War on Christmas,’” — this too spurred rightbloggers’ Christmas Warrior spirit. Larry Thornberry of The American Spectator sniffed, “Hardly surprising. Not all Christians believe Elvis is dead. The obvious escapes many, pious or heathen.”
“It’s discouraging to see some fellow Christians say – ‘Who cares?’ lamented Tim Wildmon, son of the notorious Donald Wildmon and his successor as President of the American Family Association, after seeing the article. “The ‘logic’ is: If your life is not being threatened or your family is not in physical danger or your church is not being padlocked, then we have no cause to point out the war of Christmas.” But, Wildmon retorted, some people were forcing photographers and bakers work on gay weddings. That’s how Herod started!
Wildmon also brushed off the “false caricature” of the “Christian bully” who wants to force Christmas on people — why, when the AFA produces its “Naughty & Nice list of companies that do or don’t allow Christmas in their stores,” he explained, they’re just trying to help their targets “put Christmas back in their promotions, advertisements, and stores over the last few years… Christians should applaud Gap and others when they refuse to yield to political correctness and recognize that if not for the Christmas gift-buying season, many of them would not be in business,” if you take his meaning [taps palm of hand with baseball bat].
But nothing makes Christmas-warring rightbloggers madder about the War on Christmas, or about anything else, than being laughed at for it.
Sad Hill News ran a dishonor role of commie outlets like Salon and the Huffington Post, “Amerika’s hypocritical fascists (aka ‘the media’),” who were “calling the ‘war on Christmas’ a total farce,” and snarled back, “this – ignorance – is exactly what causes unquestioning low-information voters to put Communists such as Obama ‘in charge’ of the once ‘United’ States. This ignorance is exactly why Texas ‘had’ to pass a law that ‘permitted’ the celebration of Christmas.”
Well, Sad Hill News had news for them: “Texas School Bans Christmas Trees, Colors Red And Green.” How about that, huh? As readers have probably guessed, that story turned out to be bogus, too, as the school district informed the press, but that didn’t stop a number of rightbloggers — including Todd Starnes! — from running with it. (To be fair, Conservative Hideout updated their post with the district’s rebuttal, and came up with possible explanation, too: “Did a atheist group pull a false flag and send the email forbidding Christimas?”)
The brethren were especially pissed about Jon Stewart’s attack on Megyn Kelly over her white Jesus/Santa remarks. “[Kelly’s] main takeaway was that the outragefest over her ‘white Santa’ comment proves that race is still a volatile issue and Fox News is a big target,” explained the civil rights historians at The Right Scoop. neo-neocon promised to “pass by the substantive [sic] issues,” though she seemed to agree that Jesus was white (“yes, Ethiopian Jews aren’t white, but Jesus was not Ethiopian”), then went on to tell readers that Kelly was “not just attractive but absolutely gorgeous, with a figure to match”; asked, “How does Kelly manage to combine hard-driving, rat-a-tat interviewing with a winning and natural ease of manner?”; and asserted that when Kelly “call[s] her guests on their BS,” she “does it better than anyone else on TV, at the same time often often coaxing a reluctant smile from guests when they see they’ve been bested again by the endearing Megyn.” Well, we know what somebody wants for War on Christmas!
“War On Christmas Denial: Daily Show, Salon, Hufffington Post All Piling It On,” cried James Fulford of VDare. To Stewart’s joke that “a small band of 70% of the country fights for the right to openly celebrate the feast day of their lord’s birth,” Fulford fumed, “Of course, that part about 70% of the country is our point, but they’re using it to say there’s no problem.”
But the lieberals lie, insisted Fulford: “In the meantime, around the United States, nativity scenes are being vandalisec, and the baby Jesus is stolen from his crib so often that the Inland Empire Press-Enterprise in Temecula calls it a ‘a well-worn holiday prank.'” And whoever heard of a holiday prank? “I don’t think ‘prank’ or ‘swiped’ are appropriate for sacrilege and theft of objects with both intrinsic and sentimental value,” hmmphed Fulford, “but that’s because I haven’t been brainwashed to think there’s No War On Christmas.'”
That’s a cached link, by the way; if you try to access the VDare article directly at this writing, you are redirected to a page warning, “Despite several days of entreaties, our Christmas Appeal has completely stalled. We haven’t yet received the level of support that we need to keep our virtual doors open… Please give generously — it’s tax-deductible! — and with your help, we can reach our goal and reopen soon with more War On Christmas coverage.”
And there’s the Christmas miracle we’ve been praying for! Happy Merry to all our readers, whatever holiday or group of people you choose to denounce.