Tag Archives | Christmas
First, a little bit of context for those of you not in a part of the British Commonwealth: on Christmas Day at 3 PM GMT the BBC broadcasts the Queen’s annual Christmas message. The UK’s underdog broadcast television network, Channel 4, has its own alternative message and this year its programmers chose Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA whistleblower, to deliver it. Channel 4 has been hard at work taking down the message from YouTube as fast as it can, so this version is via CNN with some commentary.
A celebration dear to the hearts of the Disinformation team at this time of year is Saturnalia, one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters ostensibly switched places, with expectantly humorous results. Saturnalia was introduced around 217 BC to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17th, its popularity saw it grow until it became a week-long extravaganza, ending on the 23rd.
Our favorite exposition of Saturnalia has long been the Electric Sheep comic strip, no longer easily available on the web, but we dug in the crates and are pleased to bring it to you. We did find it here and in a video created from the original website posted to Funny or Die:
Here at disinformation HQ we’ve long been fans of Saturnalia and Winter Solstice celebrations, and there’s a strong pro-Krampus faction to boot. There are some holiday traditions we haven’t adopted yet, however, like eating KFC for Christmas. A fine roundup from iol:
JAPAN: Chicken and cake:
Christmas is a time for joy, celebration… and KFC?
The Colonel’s chicken is a festive season must-have in Japan. It’s a tradition that began 40 years ago and, true to Japanese culture, has been passed down. More than 240 000 barrels of chicken will be sold, about four to five times the regular monthly sales.
And what would follow a takeaway Christmas lunch better than fruit cake? Covered in whipped cream, chocolate and strawberries, these highly coveted cakes have to be ordered months in advance. And any not sold after December 25 are unwanted. Unmarried women older than 25 were once called “Christmas cakes”, although this is out of favour.
I am normally against displays of religion on public property, but I would be curious to see this come to fruition. The Florida Times-Union reports:
The state Department of Management Services on Wednesday denied an attempt by “Satanists” to put up a display in the Florida Capitol, which currently showcases the Florida Prayer Network’s Christian Nativity scene, a Festivus pole made of beer cans, posters from atheists, and a crudely-made Flying Spaghetti Monster.
“The department’s position is that your proposed display is grossly offensive during the holiday season,” DMS Administrative Assistant Sherrie K. Routt emailed a group calling itself the Satanic Temple. The proposed display that bannered the phrase “Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple” atop a diorama of an angel falling into hell.
Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the temple, said in an email the group was “surprised and dismayed” by the rejection. However, before possibly challenging the decision, the temple is seeking clarification from DMS.
Have you noticed you can’t go far this Christmas season without seeing the krampus, a devil-like consort to Saint Nicholas? All of the sudden, the devilish fellow seems to be everywhere.
But it is far less likely that you have encountered another Christmas-time mythic character, that of Frau Perchta. She makes the Krampus seem amiable to boot.
Perchta asks,”have you been weaving your flax little girl? Have you been good? Are you eating the awful gruel and fish that are to be consumed on my holiday?” If the answer is no, the poor children are disemboweled, and their insides are stuffed with straw and stones. So, you know. Don’t mess up. By comparison to the two of them, Saint Nicholas’ ‘present’ of coal seems benign.
We may wonder what the sense is in these dark figures, during a time that we mistakenly assume should be lighthearted and merry.… Read the rest
If you go on over to Fox Nation, you can bet your stocking there is. If you watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, it’s a seasonal running gag. But what of the people who actively celebrate the Christmas
holiday? You’d be surprised to find just how militant Christians aren’t about the celebration
of the Winter Solstice.
VIA USA Today
Nothing in evangelical Christian author Rachel Held Evans’ five years of blogging has gone as viral as her simple little flowchart to determine if one is being persecuted during the Christmas season.
“Did someone threaten your life, safety, civil liberties or right to worship?” it asks. No. “Did someone wish you happy holidays?” Yes.
“You are not being persecuted,” it says.
At last count, the post had attracted more than 700 comments, the vast majority in agreement with her.
Call it the backlash against the “war on Christmas” camp — a number of evangelicals distancing themselves from those concerned that the department store greeter said “happy holidays,” that the Nativity scene is gone from the local courthouse, that classrooms are hosting “winter parties.”
“God became flesh and lived among us, and if that’s not enough for people, I think they’ve missed the point,” said Evans, who lives in Dayton, Tenn., and wrote last year’s best-selling book, “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”
Still, the idea that there’s a national war on Christmas is going strong.
George Monbiot blames the “global bullshit industry” for the commercial nature of Christmas. I’m not sure this is exactly breaking news, but it’s still fun to read Monbiot’s never-failing progressive take on the holiday season, at The Guardian of course:
Guilt is good. It’s the feature that distinguishes the rest of the population from psychopaths. It’s the sensation you are able to feel when you possess a capacity for empathy. But guilt inhibits consumption. So a global industry has developed to smother it with a 13-tog duvet of celebrities and cartoon characters and elevator music. It seeks to persuade us not to see and not to feel. It seems to work.
The 2012 Greendex survey found that people in poorer countries feel, on average, much guiltier about their impacts on the natural world than people in rich countries. The places in which people feel least guilt are, in this order, Germany, the United States, Australia and Britain, while the people of India, China, Mexico and Brazil have the greatest concerns.
After seeing Night of the Living Dead, Tobe Hooper was inspired to make a horror movie of his own with the goal of giving fans as much scare for the buck as he could. Standing in front of a chainsaw display in a department store, surrounded by a rude throng of Christmas shoppers, Hooper had an idea that became a legend.
For my money, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the queen-mother of all horror films. The hulking brutality of Leatherface combined with the grimy realism of the low budget production values makes the movie feel more like a documentary than a horror film — the results are as chillingly real today as they were at its 1974 debut.
This segment from the horror film doc Masters of Horror puts Hooper and his cast in the spotlight, remembering the grueling labor of love that became one of the most enduring horror films ever made.… Read the rest