A Christmas Story
Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that's their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write "Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we'll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah"? No, we didn't.Oh my. "Dreck", for those who don't know, is yiddish slang for shit.
The reaction from self-identified jews was unhinged. It follows a template including some or all of the following elements: denying Keillor's claim, condemning him for it, acknowledging its truth, and saying nastier things about Christians. I'll cite a few good examples. Here for instance is a response attached to the original editorial:
I am astounded Mr. Keillor that It has taken you most of your life to realize the depravity of the non-believers. Where I live in Silicon Valley, every ethnicity can be found on my block. Probably half are not Christian, yet most have Christmas trees. Lets send these non-believers to Auschwitz where they and the Jews can learn the true meaning of Christ. The Jews. Oh the Jews . They have contaminated Christmas by writing music and making movies about it. They have ruined it by inventing running a toy train under the Christmas tree and hosting a parade in New York. They have dared to stand up to the WASP tradition of segregation and hate.They actually claim that Jesus was one of them. Mr. Keillor enjoy your Christmas, Jew-less with Mel Gibson. You may be the last true Christians.This self-righteous fellow equates criticizing shitty Christmas songs written by jews to putting them in a concentration camp. He gets so lost in his sarcasm that he reveals an acceptance of a broadened version of Keillor's beef - that "the jews" righteously ruined Christmas, their hostility justified by "the WASP tradition of segregation and hate".
More reader comments were published as separate items. For example, Keillor has wrong villain for Chrismas' ills:
Yesterday, perhaps at roughly the same moment you were putting the finishing touches on "Non-believers, please leave Christmas alone" (Dec. 16), I was swallowing back bile while watching the Christmas songs for which you and I share equal antipathy being etched into the psyche my 2-year-old Jewish daughter. The frustration and sorrow that you feel about the trite-making of Christmas is, to borrow a phrase from your (likewise appropriated) Yiddish-Minnesota phrasebook, bubkes compared with a Jew's sufferance of the Santa Claus tube-feeding to which we are subjected each year. You see, we have a little history that colors our feelings. I'll leave it there.I think it's fair to summarize the sentiment here as: "No lowly Christian is fit to compare their sufferance to that of a jew. Yes, we wrote (and profit from) these shitty songs, but even mere disapproval of this infuriates us. Blame economics. Purely. Repent sinner, or feel our retribution."
That you included even the mere mention of Jews in your diatribe, you might imagine upon further reflection, is beyond infuriating. As an outsider to your traditions and holidays, I frankly agree with many of your conclusions, but you missed the point: the hijacking of Christmas is purely the result of capitalism and the free market economy. The fact that a bunch of Jews wrote your Christmas songs is solely a function thereof. I needn't lecture you on the confluence of commerce and artisanship, but suffice it to say, it is a two-way street. In other words, y'all bought the songs that we sold. You buy it, you break it.
The long reach of your words is based upon the popularity you enjoy among the intellectual elite. Just take another look at the numbers at the listenership of the public radio stations that carry your program, then re-read the opinion piece in question. If self-sabotage is your aim, my compliments. If not, you may consider apologies to: Jews, pinch-faced drones (those who strive to understand and forward the human condition), Harvard alumni and the sorry suckers who work too hard to make Christmas perfect. Admittedly a mixed bag -- your targets are either too elite for you or not elite enough.
Another response is notable for its superbly compact hypocrisy and falsehood. Jews aren't the ones who secularized Christmas:
We can barely get our children excused from school on the Jewish High Holidays, and Mr. Keillor whines about Jews who wrote songs inspired by Christmas.The author inverts reality, claiming her imagined concerns are concrete and Keillor's concrete concerns are imagined.
Lots of people have noted how and why jews have helped secularize Christmas. I'll provide some examples of that in a moment. What I'd like to see is some evidence of jews anywhere in the US not being excused from school on their high holidays. In the midst of the greatest ripoff in history, which absolutely, positively had to be dealt with immediately, or else, congress somehow found the time to observe a jewish high holiday. Beyond that, the full force and weight of the US government stands ready to defend jews and their jewish children against any discrimination, whether by race or religion. The media isn't at all shy about reporting anti-jewish "hate" within minutes of the mere hint of it being detected. Call it whining, but Christians, despite the supposed protection offered to religion, are treated to a different, lower standard than jews, and not only in schools. The assault goes on 24/7/365. Here's a small sample I've gathered over the past few months.
- Christian Privilege: Breaking a Sacred Taboo "presents a new theoretical perspective focusing on religious privilege and includes a list of privileges that are enjoyed by members of the dominant religious group (i.e., Christians) in the United States", linking the religious war against Christians to the racial war against Whites.
- Out of the Overflow of the Heart–Jesus and Mary as Vulgar Comedy In The Holy Land. How the dominant religious group in israel acts.
- Hollywood secularists asleep at the wheel? NCIS bravely confronts Christian honor killing and Christian suicide bombing.
- 'Curb Your Enthusiasm': Larry David Urinates on Picture of Jesus. The title says it all.
- Posthumous baptism is a terrible insult to Jews. No matter what you do Christians, it's wrong.
- Chattanooga Times Free Press | Cheerleaders’ religious signs draw fire. Separation of races, in any way, is wrong, but separation of church and state, in every way, is right. That's why congress celebrates Rosh Hashanah.
- New Rule: Catholics Must Get Up Out of the Pew and Walk Out of the Church Forever. Bill Maher, doing what he does best.
- A God with Whom I am not Familiar. Tim Wise, doing what he does best.
- Sandra Bernhard in Without You I'm Nothing. Without Christians to bash for the amusement and adulation of jews, she's nothing.
- Bonnie Erbe Urges GOP to Abort Alliance with Religious Conservatives. "The GOP's main problem is it is stuck in the 1950s as long as it is controlled by the Religious Right." Bonnie Erbe is jewish and she's scandalized by milder objections to jewish political control.
- Bonnie Erbe: Even 'The Da Vinci Code' under attack by theocrats. Erbe supports genocide. She'd like to see "Americans intermarry across racial lines so thoroughly as to erase all genetic differences". I don't believe her hate for "theocrats" would be erased even if she accepted Jesus.
The point is that Keillor has a point. If anything, his complaint was too narrow. Similar defenses of Christianity - made by prominent voices in mainstream media - are increasingly timid and rare. The problem with Keillor's complaint is not that it is inaccurate or attacks "the jews" - it's that he implied one aspect of a tiny subset of jewish influence is bad. For that, under our thoroughly judaized regime, any man will be villified. This is especially true for anyone with a prominent voice.
In Garrison Keillor: 'Lousy Holiday Songs By Jews Trash Up Malls', Noel Sheppard describes the Keillor paragraph I quoted at the top as "rabid anti-Semitism", provided a long list of well-known Christmas songs written by jews, and then called Keillor an "anti-Semitic (expletive deleted)". There is no dispute about the contribution of jews. Keillor's use of the words "trash" and "dreck" to describe that contribution is what triggers the typically hyperbolic reaction.
Andy Lewis, writing in the LA Times, titled his article published on 24 December 2009, Bob Dylan joins long list of Jewish musicians performing Christmas music. Apparently unaware that the idea is controversial he also provided a window into the jewish rationale for secularizing Christmas:
Diamond closed the album with a raucous performance of comedian Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song," which name-checks Jewish entertainers, including Kirk Douglas, Dinah Shore and "Star Trek's" William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.In An All-American Christmas, published on 22 December 2005, Harold Meyerson claims:
"I thought I'd throw one in there for my people too, because we always feel a little left out around this time of year," Diamond told the Telegraph in London recently. "Christmas music is amazingly evocative to people of all religions and cultures."
Others also cite the universal aspects of the holiday season -- and the role of music in it -- as their justification for taking on the subject of Christmas.
"I feel the Christmas holidays and the music are basically, for me, not religious," Neil Sedaka, one of the most prolific and successful songwriters of the '60s and '70s, said from his home in L.A. recently. "I'm proud to be Jewish, but I don't practice it. To me the holidays are about bringing friends and family together. I can remember vividly years ago listening to Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas' and thinking that Christmas music should be played throughout the year because it's so joyous."
Sedaka's 2008 double album, "Miracle of Christmas," brought together one disc of original songs he'd written, with a second disc of traditional songs and carols that he'd put together for the QVC cable channel.
"I started out as a concert pianist at the Juilliard School," Sedaka said, "and I'm a very studied musician. I think of the music first, and what it brings to the people emotionally."
Barry Manilow too says that the power of music, more than the scriptural messages, has spurred him to record three collections of Christmas music over the years.
Irving Berlin invented the separation of church and song with “White Christmas.”
"White Christmas" was one of a dozen numbers that Berlin wrote for "Holiday Inn," each song commemorating a specific holiday. One hesitates to impute anything so vulgar as a message to a Crosby-Fred Astaire musical, but the message of this musical is that we are all Americans and these are our holidays. Easter belongs to all of us, even if it is about little more than strolling down Fifth Avenue. Christmas belongs to all of us. The religious content of those holidays was fine for Christian believers, but the composer of "God Bless America" preferred to celebrate a common national identity, complete with common holidays that had nonsectarian meanings.Like Bonnie Erbe, Harold Meyerson has a powerful media amplifier he uses to vent his hostility towards Christians, especially White Christians. Here he lauds the recent imposition of a secularized Christmas while heaping fear and loathing on the original, secular Christmas. In Economy? What Economy?, published on 3 Sept 2008, Meyerson echoes Erbe:
Berlin kept Christmas in the public square and, more than anyone before or since, sent it out over the public airwaves. But it was an American, not a Christian, Christmas. And by the crass index of number of recordings sold, and the not-so-crass index of number of spirits touched, Berlin's nonsectarian holiday has been the predominant version of Christmas in this country for the past 60 years.
Now the Fox News demagogues want to impose a more sectarian Christmas on us, supplanting the distinctly American holiday we have celebrated lo these threescore years with a holiday that divides us along religious lines. Bill O'Reilly can blaspheme all he wants, but like millions of my countrymen, I take attacks on Irving Berlin's America personally. If O'Reilly doesn't like it here, why doesn't he go back to where he came from?
this year's GOP convention is almost shockingly -- un-Americanly -- white. Long term, this whiteness is a huge problemJews are constantly complaining about the problems they have with Christains and Whites in terms far more broad, far more hateful, and far more common than what Garrison Keillor wrote. As Edmund Connelly's essay Daniel Jonah Goldhagen: Peddler of Hate makes clear, the problems extend far beyond shitty Christmas songs.
(The image above is from a pro-jewish rant at Garrison Keillor: 'Lousy Holiday Songs By Jews Trash Up Malls' at Thee Rant.)