Let’s Put Claus Back Into Christmas:
A modest proposal
Remember Christmas when you were a child?
The Season was a time to come together as family and friends...and even make Peace with your enemies for at least a few days. Christmas was all about bringing people together. Religious differences were just like social class or politics or even gender...every town was like Mayberry and had their Floyd the Barber and as long as he fulfilled his sexual needs in Charlotte and didn’t mix with the local boys then he was just as much a part of the community just like the two old maiden aunts who lived together on a farm outside of town and made the best apple pie and hard cider who weren’t aunts at all and had been together since they were riveters on the same assembly line back in Dubya Dubya 2.
People had their religious services to attend, the old rites of lighting candles at midnight to welcome the sun back from darkness of the void. The old mythology of Joseph and Mary and Jesus and the Shepherds and Wise Men and the animals...of the Star heralding the birth of the new King had a comforting, connecting effect between people. Church, religion was a part of Christmas back then, for sure. But it was the part you put up with, certainly not the reason for the season. You sat in an overheated building in a suit with a buttoned up collar and a clip-on tie you hadn’t worn since last Easter squirming and fidgeting and just a ball of anxiety and impatience waiting to get out and go home and play with your new toys or just to get out of that damned suit and back into your jeans and flannel winter shirt with the lumberjack plaid.
Christmas back then was a secular holiday.
Then came the Let’s Put Christ Back Into Christmas campaign and nothing has been the same between Christmas and me. Each year was more painful and less meaningful than the last. How could the holiday mean anything to me as an atheist? The LPCBIC crowd was just a social reflection of my own inner turmoil. I knew the truth, it’s still out there, just harder to find. I didn’t miss the religious nature of the season. But I couldn’t find my way back to my 10th Christmas in Chesapeake, West Virginia when my brother and I got homemade capes and masks with a store-bought, flat brimmed hat dangling fringe and a plastic sword. That was the year Zorro was all the rage. Then there was the Davy Crockett year with our coonskin hats and are imitation flintlocks. The presents were always cheap and most often not what we really wanted and our parents couldn’t afford.
But that didn’t matter. As a child, I wasn’t aware of the family coming together up Snodgrass Holler in Boone County, West Virginia with all the aunts and uncles and cousins and nephews and nieces and parents and grandparents that only a Hillbilly family can boast...up the holler we had more nuts on our family tree than branches...that this coming together as a family and as a community was anything unusual or a memory to be cherished.
I’ve made some posts about political activity for atheists. I said we need to get back to the ‘other stuff’ that went on during the Sixties if we want to fight back. Dirty tricks. Protests designed to draw media attention. Guerilla Theater.
My proposal falls under the heading of Guerilla Theater.
In the Sixties I had a poster of the nativity with Joseph and Mary and the Wise Men and Shepherds and animals all looking down into the manger and in the manger Jesus was wearing a Santa Claus outfit.
My proposal is the use of this and other images to get the same point across on Christmas cards with the message inside reading:
Let’s Put Claus Back Into Christmas
Nothing more than that. No long, dull essays explaining where Christmas comes from and why Christians are full of shit. Sure, the little publisher stamp and Net address will be on the card only in small print 0n the back without so much as a ‘for more information contact’ highlighting it.
I’m not talking about just a card available for atheists to send each other for a laugh. I’m talking about a large mailing...the bigger the better...of these cards to politicians, national leaders, entertainers, ministers and to as many Christians as there is budget for.
We know there’s a huge audience out there for Fundie bashing comedy. Granted, we have not yet found the comedian to pick up the torch George Carlin dropped when he died, but I’m working on a standup routine for atheists...I would be interested in writing such material for a person young enough to handle the heat and old enough to believe in Lenny Bruce.
We also know anyone whose favorite Christmas movie is either A Christmas Story or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation...I'm more a fan of the latter...understands where we are coming from.
We know that humor is a weapon, not just an entertainment. We know that people will allow a good joke past their inner censors faster than a blunt trauma injury with a copy of Dawkin’s latest.
Most importantly, we know the enemy. We know how sensitive they are. We know how they will react. And it is from their reaction, their over-reaction, that the publicity will come.
Publicity that will let this country know we are out here and we are angry and we aren’t going to take it any more.
So, in order to pull this off for the Christmas of 2011, we need artists and writers who can make up the cards.
We need people tracking down the home addresses of the targeted audience.
And, like any good theater, we need an Angel.
Think about it, discuss the idea with others on this list and all other lists.
Like the admen in the Fifties used to say, "Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes."