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Old 12-10-2005, 09:51 PM   #166
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Old 12-10-2005, 10:54 PM   #167
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I wishI couold say this was a joke, but I can't. I work at a Seara, and this past week, white signs with big black letters saying "Merry Christmas" went up on all the entrances and exits, and next to store guides at the escalators and elevators. In addition to the point being made by the general manager of the store at thr weekly staff meeting on Fri, each dept's manager called special mettings with thier depts apbut this. We are ORDERED to greet EVERY customer with "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." It was very strongly stressed that we do this, especially at the registers where cashiers greeet customers (tyhnak God I;m not a cashier.) And they'd be watching. When I tried to bring up the fact that I couldn't say "MC" to an obvisouly Indian -looking couple where the woman wore a sari, or a Middle EASTERN couple where the woman wore a bourka and chattered in Arabic (and Albany is pretty ehtnically diverse, I deal with all sorts all the time), he told me that we didn;t have to say Happy Holidays anymore just b;c it was PC. (I wanted to shoot back, that it was some religious right group flexing its political muscle, and who gave these groups power over al other groups to influcnece al we talk, and Sears gave in like awet rag, but I didnt.)

Needless to say, I have the option of not greeting every customer. At least with the Party LIne. So I don't.

Theocracy watch? It's already here. And I'm a Christian, saying that!
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:33 AM   #168
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Since it seems so many people are ready (even eager) to leap at the throat of anyone who doesn't give a "proper" greeting in this season of peace and love, unless I know the person, I'm not going to wish anyone a Happy or Merry anything this year. I'm hoping my smile will suffice to communicate my good will.
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Old 12-11-2005, 06:58 AM   #169
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Has anyone here actually had the experience of outraged minorities leaping at their throat for saying "Merry Christmas"? Where are the stories about Focus on the Fringe-y berating shopping malls for having Santa in residence, or threatening to withdraw their kids from school because there is a Christmas tree in the cafeteria? I think coemgen put it most directly:
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Honestly, if I were Jewish and I got something from the President of my country that just said Christmas, I'd feel left out. This shouldn't be an issue...
And that is exactly how this Jew would feel, "left out." Not persecuted, not traumatized, not seething with rage...just "left out." Is "left out" such a sinister, self-righteous, subversive emotion? Are schoolteachers and Presidents who wish not to have anyone feel "left out," and seek to accomplish that by having an inclusive classroom party or mass-mailing card, thereby guilty of being spineless cowards, kowtowing to a bossy and subversive minority hell-bent on scorning everyone else's beliefs?

This year as every year, I will get dozens of Christmas cards and "Merry Christmas" wishes from people who don't know I'm Jewish, and this year as every year, I will sincerely respond, "Thanks, you too!" to all of them. I certainly will not, nor have I ever, responded by indignantly tearing up the cards or snapping back "Fuck you, I'm Jewish!" to the well-wishers. BUT yes--truth be told--I do indeed prefer it, and do indeed feel more included and acknowledged, when the message offered is instead "Happy Holidays!", indicating that that person wishes me a joyous holiday season no matter which holiday I celebrate. And this is what I do myself--I tell people "Merry Christmas" if I know they celebrate Christmas, and if I don't know, then I'll say "Happy Holidays."

It's just common courtesy to not make assumptions, and just common good neighborliness to not want anyone to feel left out. This has absolutely zilch to do with "being PC"--my motivation is the desire to be considerate, not fear of giving offense. If you wish to insist on your right to be inconsiderate, fine--but trying to frame that as some noble stand in defense of free speech and the hallowed honor of tradition is absurd.

I do agree that wanting no one to feel left out at the holidays--just like any other good intention--can sometimes be misapplied in situations where it has no benefit. For example, I don't feel any more included if my workplace officially calls its tree a "holiday tree," because it's not like anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas puts up one. But truly pointless gestures like this are few and far between, and even then, not reasonable cause for shrill outrage. So go ahead, call that display menorah a "holiday candleholder" if you like--I'm not offended at all, 'cause I know it's only a symbolic nod to the true object of celebration, which I can find AT HOME where it belongs.
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Originally posted by Teta040
We are ORDERED to greet EVERY customer with "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays"...I wanted to shoot back, that it was some religious right group flexing its political muscle, and who gave these groups power over al other groups to influcnece al we talk, and Sears gave in like awet rag, but I didnt.
As a business they do, unfortunately, have the right to dictate what greeting their employees use. Extremely stupid from a customer service standpoint, however--and a deliciously ironic illustration of my point that refusal to "give in" to simple considerateness does not make one a champion in the epic battle for "free speech" against the imaginary "PC holiday" gremlins.
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:58 AM   #170
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To answer Yolland, I have witnessed first hand someone taking a clerk to task for saying Happy Holidays instead of the "proper" (to the customer's way of thinking) Merry Christmas. So if you think I expected to be corrected for saying Merry Christmas, you are wrong. While I find some of the extent of making the holidays perfectly bland selfishly annoying, I am more distubed by this push to raise Christmas above the other holidays. Everyone has always taken my greetings of Merry Christmas in the spirit in which it was given. As my world broadened, I alternated between Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Happy Chanukah very comfortably.

I don't find this argument to be about free speech. I just find it to be another continuation of the cultural war in which I've become a conscientious objector.

I'd never criticize anyone for how they chose to greet me.
I do not care how anyone greets me. I'm delighted they are wishing me well and are including me in their holiday whether I celebrated it or not. It never mattered to me. I practice no religion, I am increasingly apolitical. I have no dog in this hunt. I do celebrate Christmas. And I take pleasure in the ways anyone celebrates.

We have a rightwing radio station here with a rightwing local call show. I've heard SEVERAL callers specifically say they will take anyone who says Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas to task. (I guess to protect the sanctity of their holiday) You can hear the eagerness in their voices, just waiting for that first defenseless clerk to say Happy Holidays so they can defend their religion. I feel so sorry for the those vulnerable clerks. It's righteous bullying. I also feel sorry for those people who feel constrained by whatever not to say Merry Christmas even though they would do so with the best of intentions.

I will address you as you choose to be addressed if you let me know what that is and you are polite to me in doing so. Believe it or not, I want to please the person I am greeting. But since some people choose to be rude and berate the form rather than the intent of the greeting, I choose not to give any greeting to strangers this year (unless I am being paid to do so.)

My goodwill has limited capacity and has been strained by many factors recently.
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:24 AM   #171
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Honestly, it sounds like we mostly agree (and, just to clarify, my post wasn't aimed at you in particular)--but, I am puzzled as to what you (and a few others) mean by "blandness." While I of course find more sentimental resonance with, and more recognition of my own background in, a Chanukah party than a multireligious holiday party, I don't see that as rendering the inclusive party "bland," and it certainly doesn't make it any less convivial--which is, after all, the measure of a good party, right?

Also, as regards your (I gather) lack of experience of feeling left out by however someone chooses to greet you--you celebrate Christmas, so how often do you in fact get holiday greetings that specifically exclude that? Do you really get people presuming to say "Happy Chanukah" or "Happy Kwanzaa" to you all that often?

An unfortunate byproduct of this concerted campaign to aggressively promote "Merry Christmas," I fear, will be that religious minorities who previously took this all in stride and with good humor, will now start wondering if people wishing them "Merry Christmas" are expressing a sincere, but benignly unaware, wish to share their joy--or are sneeringly daring us to prove their paranoia by correcting them. In any case, I personally will continue to not correct anyone...
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Old 12-11-2005, 10:00 AM   #172
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Yes that's really the Christmas spirit, to attack a store clerk for saying "Happy Holidays" rather then Merry Christmas they are merely saying what management has told them to say, but that's not even the point obviously. Very mature and classy.

When I worked in retail, the first couple of years I would say "Happy Holidays" to be inclusive- or Merry Christmas if it was someone I knew from my church (or if someone said the same to me). Down the line I started to hate the retail part of Christmas (and honestly the customers)so much that I just greeted every customer w/ my customary scowl-problem solved


I am as sick of this subject here and elsewhere as I was of those customers
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:04 PM   #173
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Yolland, I didn't take the bulk of your post directed at me, but you quoted me in a way that didn't reflect my point (which may be the fault of my earlier post, if I did not make it clear).

I also understand that when there was not a militant push to say "Merry Christmas", things were taken in stride and I wouldn't wonder that people now might take the phrase as a religious forcing than a pleasant greeting.

While not subjected to the same exclusion my whole life, I went to college at NYU, where as a Gentile, I felt outnumbered. There was no Christmas (although the winter break did fall in time for Christmas) or Easter, although we did have plenty of Passover references. I don't know if I felt excluded. I felt different. And I felt a little lesser being in the minority. It was a learning experience for me. My roommates were Jewish. I did not get along with one (No religious problem, bad chemistry) got along beautifully with the other. My best friend has a German last name and her Jewish roommate would constantly make Holocaust references in front of her, deliberately trying to make her uncomfortable. It can go both ways when you are in the minority. So yeah, for several years, we experienced the pressure of the majority on the minority because they could. And I see the danger of ANY majority. Happy Chanukah would have rolled right off our backs, though. And yeah, we moved back home to the majority. I had a taste, though not the full meal, of the specific exclusion you speak of. We got humbled pretty quickly out of our exclusively Christian previous lifetime, but we didn't have to deal with that particular exclusion forever. But I thought the Jewish holidays were beautiful and I am still touched by many Jewish symbols.

I also grew up as a Protestant in a heavily Catholic area where people could not understand that you did not go to Parochial school, that you did not have First Communion in quite the ceremonial way the Catholics did and where as recently as two years back my niece (who is being brought up Catholic like her father) was told that her mother (my sister) was going to hell since she was Protestant. Apparently, not being a practicing anything, I had a better chance of avoiding hell than my observant sister. Traditional Catholicism and whatever Protestant sect you might belong to are horses of a different color. Catholics and Protestants (unless following ecumenical
practice) share Christmas and Easter and not a whole lot else from my experience. We are a little alien to each other sometimes. I'm sure the Catholics in the predominantly Protestant areas feel the same.

I have no problem with a holiday party. I can't think of a Christmas party I've gone to in over twenty years. They have all been holiday parties and they've been as boring as the Christmas parties I went to in the past. The holidays are equal and they are different and unique. I don't want to lose the uniqueness and I don't want any one religion to dominate. Perhaps there is no solution to that.

On a separate exclusion, my single friends and I also feel the daily exclusion of being single and childless in a predominantly coupled society, which is its own insidious exclusion. We know how our gay friends feel their exclusion. There are all kinds of exclusions. There shouldn't be.

Happy Chanukah, Yolland. I wish you well.

And now I'll please Mrs. S. to no end by ending my participation in this discussion. Because I am sick of it too, even though
immensely guilty for contributing to the length it has gone on.
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:09 PM   #174
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^that was a great post

"There are all kinds of exclusions. There shouldn't be."


That about sums it up, and by saying I was "sick of the subject" I hope you didn't take that personally about your posts, or that no one else did.
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:56 PM   #175
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No, actually it made me laugh. And realize I was going on and on... I was coming perilously close to boring myself.
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Old 12-11-2005, 05:10 PM   #176
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
Yolland, I didn't take the bulk of your post directed at me, but you quoted me in a way that didn't reflect my point (which may be the fault of my earlier post, if I did not make it clear).
I regret the misunderstanding. I did, indeed, mistake your comment as referring exclusively to people who might object to "Merry Christmas."
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Happy Chanukah would have rolled right off our backs, though. And yeah, we moved back home to the majority. I had a taste, though not the full meal, of the specific exclusion you speak of. We got humbled pretty quickly out of our exclusively Christian previous lifetime, but we didn't have to deal with that particular exclusion forever. But I thought the Jewish holidays were beautiful and I am still touched by many Jewish symbols.
I have always found Christmas beautiful, as well. Particularly the religious version. And I don't mind at all that its symbols and stories are so much more culturally prominent and pervasive than those of my own tradition. I know who I am and who my people are.

To everyone in general, I will gently reiterate that I have never felt offended by Christmas, nor by anyone's wishes to have a Merry one. It is just that it is more heartwarming and welcoming to me to receive a greeting that honors and acknowledges the possibility of my having other beliefs. And I wish, in turn, to see this courtesy extended to others. It is truly a simple task to achieve.

Taunting a German person with Holocaust references is repulsive, and I cannot comprehend what reward anyone would get out of doing such an unworthy thing.

And a joyous Christmas to you!

~ Peace
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Old 12-11-2005, 08:33 PM   #177
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Thank you.
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:21 PM   #178
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"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily.com. "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."
Here I am, back again with my tuppence...

Holy baloney. I'm no fan of Bush, but I do find it sad that the lack of the word' 'Christmas' is a big deal. For starters, he's so dense, he probably couldn't remember what the occasion was called! It could have ended up being Christmas/holiday/Ascension SundayGroundhog Day/5th Wednesday After Pentecost/St Patrick's Day/Chinese New Year/Easter... when someone is as fundamentally daft as Bush is, you gotta make a few allowances. It's only fair.

If the man HAD used 'Christmas' in the card, he'd probably be slammed by everyone for excluding all non-Christians in his good wishes.

He might well be a fool with the IQ of a demented louse, but on this particular occasion, I can't see he's done anytihng wrong whatsoever.

Quote:
I guess we must have it pretty damn good in this country when these are the "issues" we face each day.
I second that. Well said!
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Old 12-11-2005, 09:45 PM   #179
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Seriously... yeah, it does strike me as sad that saying 'Happy Christmas' to someone non-Christian is viewed as being offensive.

As an British woman born and bred, with Asian heritage, I get highly irritated if somebody looks at me and automatically assumes that I don't celebrate Christmas. That said, if somebody did wish me the best for Diwali (which I don't celebrate, and never have), I would wish them the same in return out of common courtesy.
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Old 12-12-2005, 01:33 PM   #180
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wink

my last post here, I thought it was kind of funny

By John Leo Sun Dec 11, 8:38 PM ET

A Christmas quiz:

The "winter program" at Ridgeway Elementary School in Dodgeville, Wis., changed the lyrics of the Christmas carol "Silent Night" to the more inclusive "Cold in the Night." ("Cold in the night, no one in sight, winter winds whirl and bite.") After this success, the program's next step will obviously be:

(a) Changing "O Holy Night" to "Uh-oh! Wholly night!" a song about a lunar eclipse.

(b) Singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania."

(c) A song celebrating the comeback of the American auto industry, "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Ford."

(d) A ditty about hoping for snow at the Panama Canal, "I'm dreaming of a white isthmus."

The modern name for Christmas trees is now:

(a) Giving trees

(b) Trees of color

(c) Seasonal conifers

(d) Inclusion bushes

(e) Tall lit-up flora

(f) Those pointy green things with needles and lights

Some schools have ruled that red and green cookies cannot be brought into class in December because the color combination strongly suggests the divisive sectarian feast day of Christmas. Therefore:

(a) Red cookies may be brought to school. Green ones too. But, please, not on the same day.

(b) A fruit bowl containing just pears and cherries is a serious constitutional matter and should be reported immediately to the ACLU, care of the Christmas erasure desk.

(c) In December, the San Francisco 49ers may not be shown playing the New York Jets, except on black-and-white TV sets.

(d) All traffic lights must be turned off until Jan. 1.

The three wise men in the Nativity scene are objectionable because:

(a) They fail the multicultural test. Though one is black, neither of the other two is a disabled lesbian, wiccan or vegan.

(b) "Wise Men" should be "Persons of Wisdom."

(c) Describing the first people to come to see Jesus as "wise" implies that idiots can't become Christians, which experience tells us is just not so.

Christians believe Jesus came down to Earth and made himself human in order to encourage:

(a) Consumer confidence

(b) Season's greetings

(c) A festive period between bowl games

(d) His birth scene to be surrounded by plastic reindeer, elves and court-pleasing woodland creatures

(e) Frenzied end-of-year gift giving

(f) Religious songs that are easily converted into weather songs in Wisconsin

(g) The ACLU Christmas-erasure desk

It's beginning to look a lot like:

(a) Christmas

(b) Hanukkah

(c) Kwanzaa

(d) Indianapolis is a lock to win the Super Bowl (, that's not funny)

Before backing down and permitting a full Nativity scene, a public library in Memphis agreed to allow the scene, but only if the baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary and the wise men were removed. This left a shepherd boy and some farm animals. Next year the library will accept a Nativity scene only if it consists of:

(a) A shepherd boy and some chickens

(b) A shepherd boy and some ferrets

(c) A shepherd boy explaining that the head librarian in Memphis thinks with a brain that may or may not be the result of Intelligent Design.
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