nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

Where Garrison Keillor belongs

Over at Alas, a Blog, there was a link to Garrison Keillor being obnoxious:
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.

Christmas is a Christian holiday - if you're not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don't mess with the Messiah.

Even though the Alas poster mentioned pogroms as sort of a joke in his article's title, I wasn't feeling especially threatened, partly because I think "White Christmas" is boring and there are any number of Christian Christmas carols which have better tunes.

If I look at the logic of what Keillor is saying, it's a good bit nastier than being cranky about secular Christmas music. He's attacking the way people behave when different groups live with each other-- they influence each other. They chose (on a group level-- individuals get a chance to have an effect, but it's the big groups that make the customs) what satisfies them. Jews wrote some Christmas music, but it's pretty much Christians who decided what would be a default part of the season.

And while I'm being cranky, when's the last time a Christian Christmas song got added to the canon? The Little Drummer Boy goes back to the 50s, and it was a translation. Somebody isn't working on developing their own customs.

Everyone's allowed to complain (though that doesn't seem very Minnesotan), but no one gets to be in charge. And speaking of Minnesotan, what happened to that Minnesotan nice? Buzz off, indeed.

I'm still not feeling especially threatened, though I very much hope acceptable discourse doesn't move in Keillor's direction. Also, he may have been exaggerating for humorous effect, but I didn't get the impression he was kidding.

He's actually attacking Unitarianism as a religion.

In any case, in a well-ordered world, his column would be the first act of a heart-warming Christmas story about learning to enjoy living with other people, even if they do have some effect on your customs. Maybe even especially if they do have some effect on your customs.

So, Happy Holidays to all of you, and may none of you be in as much need of the rest of a heart-warming story line as Keillor is.

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