Christmas Myths: In This Day and Age, When Something Is Described as Myth, People Think of It as False History, Not as Something Mythic. and We Falsely Assume That Society Can Be Free of "Myth."

By Pesta, Duke | The New American, December 24, 2012 | Go to article overview

Christmas Myths: In This Day and Age, When Something Is Described as Myth, People Think of It as False History, Not as Something Mythic. and We Falsely Assume That Society Can Be Free of "Myth."


Pesta, Duke, The New American


The Christmas season is upon us, bringing with it the usual bustle, stress, and commercialism, and triggering once again the inevitable escalation of the culture wars. Just after the moon set on Halloween revelers, and well before Americans sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, the airwaves were already saturated with Christmas advertising and holiday music, and in their wake the corresponding backlash from increasingly emboldened secular groups, atheist alliances, and civil-liberties organizations, all claiming a mandate to remove the religious aspects of Christmas from the public square. As with so many other cultural evolutions in the age of Obama, a stagnant economy feeds the rejection of traditional values in a nervous populace, who in the face of uncertainty are more eager than in prosperous times to sacrifice liberties in exchange for the promise of government-sponsored security. In this economic climate attitudes, and even core beliefs, change rapidly.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The California city of Santa Monica--dubbed "the City of the Christmas Story" because of the Nativity scenes that graced Palisades Park for the last 60 years--finds itself at the epicenter of the annual struggle between proponents of traditional Nativity displays and atheist groups that want them removed. Historically, the secularists have challenged Christmas displays on public grounds in the courts, marshaling well-worn arguments about the separation of church and* state, while warning in ironically apocalyptic language that allowing baby Jesus His manger on the town green is tantamount to the institution of a national religion. In a devastatingly effective twist to this litigious Christmas classic--as much a fixture of the season as Rudolph or Charlie Brown's hapless tree--comes atheist Damon Vix, who has chosen to co-opt public displays of Christmas and transform them into atheist infomercials, rather than sit back and watch them slowly suffocate at the hands of the judiciary.

Three years ago Vix applied for and received a booth alongside the Nativity scene in Palisades Park that he used to showcase a sign quoting Thomas Jefferson: "Religions are all alike--Founded on Fables and Mythologies." Not content to counter the "propaganda" of Christmas with his corresponding declaration of reason and sanity, in 2011, Vix formed a coalition of the like-minded and besieged the city with requests for holiday space in the park, winning 18 of the 21 slots available for displays. The three booths that went to traditional groups--two for Christian displays and one for a Hanukkah display--were overwhelmed by the contrary and often sneering signs and displays that surrounded them. The applications submitted by Vix and his confreres requested space to celebrate the "Pastafarian religion" and honor its deity, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Having secured the lion's share of space, the group used it to post signs depicting Santa Claus, the Devil, the Greek god Poseidon, and Jesus, proclaiming "37 million Americans know myths when they see them. What myths do you see?" The ongoing controversy finally led the city to cancel the holiday tradition altogether, prompting a return to--you guessed it--the courts, where a federal judge swiftly denied the injunction against Santa Monica sought by a Christian group. Thus ends a decades-long tradition in Palisades Park, a victory that leaves the bemused Vix satisfied--for now: "That was such a unique and blatant example of the violation of the first Amendment that I felt I had to act ... If I had another goal it would be to remove the 'Under God' phrase from the Pledge of Allegiance--but that's a little too big for me to take on for right now."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Canary in the Coal Mine

In many ways, the Christmas season is a canary in the coal mine of the culture wars, and while the advertising, spending, and increasingly gaudy ornamentation that typify the holiday proceed apace, something much more serious and substantial is being quietly asphyxiated by the gaseous emanations of postmodern, liberal, materialist culture. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Christmas Myths: In This Day and Age, When Something Is Described as Myth, People Think of It as False History, Not as Something Mythic. and We Falsely Assume That Society Can Be Free of "Myth."
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.