Sunday, December 12, 2010

A New Leaf

I'm not a fan of Christmas. From the eggnog lattes that begin showing up in the middle of October through the lies and distortions (and silliness) needed to keep the annual "War on Christmas" alive and well to the constant land, sea and air advertising blitzkrieg, the season gets on my nerves. (This is becoming another "Things I Hate" piece, isn't it? I should just add that as a category.)

But I work at not getting too down on the way people go about their holiday celebrations. And yes, sometimes, I need to do a much better job of it. I went back and re-read one of my old posts on the subject, and was dismayed at the level of snark and condescension that I brought to it. It's not like I'm the Best Person in the World, either. But the worst thing about it, was that I had become so caught up in being Less Consumerist Than They that I quickly forgot about what should have been the central thesis if the post - that our Christmas season had gotten so out of hand that a man had been trampled to death and two others had been shot. Instead, I feel that I came off as using what happened to them as a platform for mocking the responses that Wal-Mart and Toys 'R' Us had made.

I am reminded of all of this due to having found this in the wilds of the Internet:
The "Limit one trampled customer per store," is what did it for me. Christian (or any other religious sort) sanctimony is nothing new. Westboro Baptist Church has virtually made it into a business. (Say what you will about them - and I suppose most of it would be negative - but they have managed to turn a constant stream of spite into a national spotlight.) I get the whole "Can't you see how broken and empty your life is?" pitch, even though I can't understand why anyone would expect to gain converts from it. Seth Godin nailed it when he pointed out that putting people in a position where their choices are: a) think less of you or b) think less of themselves is rarely a winning strategy. But the trampling reference seemed to take it a step beyond that - to use people's deaths as a platform for mocking those "less Christian" than themselves. (Sometimes, it takes encountering a jackass to show you that you've been a jackass.)

It's easy to build a high horse out of condescension and scorn, without regard to very real people that we wind up using in the process. Perhaps this is why there is so much negativity in the world. It's been just about four years since I started this weblog - and I think for much of that time, I've been working through my own anxieties, troubles and worries in a forum that's not supposed to be about me. (Of course, since I'm the author, Nobody in Particular is ALL about me. Who else would it be about?)

My last New Year's Resolution ended badly. (It was to become more politically involved - I should have known better from the outset.) But I think that I should spend more of my time focusing on the positive things that go on around me - or at least set aside the constant complaining. Let's see how long I last.

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