Announcing VDARE.com's War Against Christmas 2010 Competition!
By Peter Brimelow aka. the Christmas Crank
(Yeah, yeah, but cranks rule the world. I learned that watching the late Jude Wanniski preaching the virtues of tax rate cuts to the secretaries and typewriters in the offices of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page when I incongruously guested there in the summer of '78. Did you know that tax rate cuts cure the common cold? And that tax rates were, in fact, cut?)
Let's get the announcement out of the way:
We will give an inscribed copy of Steve Sailer's new book AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE" and a 2010 VDARE.COM anthology to whoever reports the most outrageous attempt to abolish Christmas in 2010. Email entries to us at email@example.com.
And PLEASE don't forget to donate!
I got John O'Sullivan to start a War Against Christmas Competition in the mid-1990s, when he was Editor of National Review. (I called it "War Against Christmas", but "War On Christmas" has obviously won out in popular usage, so I've adapted, with characteristic grace).
The last NR competition ran in 1997, at which time William F. Buckley for his own discreditable reasons had already fired O'Sullivan, but not yet leaked the cover story that he was "resigning to write a book." The War Against Christmas Competition was promptly dropped, along with the cause of immigration reform—not coincidentally. In 2000, NR itself actually published a "Holiday Edition."
VDARE.COM was launched on Christmas Eve 1999, and one of our first postings was Clinton HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo's elimination of the word "Christmas" from HUD's "Celebration of Holiday Traditions" party. In 2000, we re-started the War Against Christmas competition.
By an amazing coincidence, 2000 now seems to have been NR's Nativity nadir. In 2001, Christmas reappeared at NR—if only, a VDARE.COM reader mordantly suggested, because Christians were now needed to fight a war. In 2003, to our great amusement, NR's Jay Nordlinger actually started a War Against Competition in his column. (This was the—rather weak—result). In 2004, however, he announced "I'm not going to go on any, or many, can't-say-'Christmas' tirades this year. That is my gift to you!" (Just what we needed).
Blumenthal (who last year was unscrupulously ripped off without attribution to either of us by Time's Alex Altman) was trying to discredit War Against Christmas Bigfeet like Bill O'Reilly by alleging that it was invented by evil white supremacist dybbuks e.g. us. But of course the War Against Christmas reprises far more significantly the unmistakably similar Communist campaign in post-Revolutionary Russia. Why doesn't the MSM talk about that?
However, the truth is that no single group invented the War On Christmas backlash. In retrospect, it's now clear that the backlash—we sometimes call the whole thing the "Khristmaskampf", after the Kulturkampf, Bismarck's drive to eliminate Catholic influence in the German Empire—was a precursor of 2009's Town Hall insurrections and 2010's Tea Parties, and before that intense public reaction that stopped the Bush Administration's Amnesty drives in 2006 and 2007. All were spontaneous, grass-roots, leaderless-resistance movements that took the entire American elite, liberal and "conservative", entirely by surprise. (Ludicrously though the latter has been scrambling to catch up).
And, above all of course, the Republicans' unexpected resurrection in the 2010 mid-term elections, including the recapture of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The root cause in all cases is the same: an American elite which is increasingly divergent, culturally and even ethnically, from the rest of the country.
This divergence became starkly obvious with President Obama's election in 2008—55% of American whites, a.k.a. the people who would have been described as "Americans" until well within living memory, voted for his opponent. Absent the demographic shift brought about by immigration policy, that would have been enough to elect John McCain president as recently as 1976. This dramatic and completely undebated dispossession is, at last and quite naturally, provoking unprecedented if implicit unease.
So unprecedented, indeed, that it raises the specter of imminent profound convulsion in American politics. In 2010, the GOP got 60% of the white vote, its highest share for many years (not without reason). The White Giant is stirring.
Which at some level explains the increasingly hysterical elite reaction to the War On Christmas backlash as the decade wore on. Got to keep those peasants down!
The elite's determination to keep the peasants down explains the very interesting Khristmaskampf development of 2009: a sudden outbreak of Main Stream Media proclamations that the War On Christmas was now "over"—or at least that there's a truce or ceasefire. The key example, amplified through the MainStream Media echo chamber: Peace on Earth in Our Time: The "war on Christmas" is basically over, by Christopher Beam, Slate, Dec. 17, 2009. (Slate doesn't seem to have addressed the War this year).
"It's amazing how the national debate is so uniform. Even up here in Anchorage, AK we have liberal pundits uniformly insisting there is no war against X-mas. There must be some secret meeting they all attend."
When I published Alien Nation in 1995, I was inclined to sophisticated socio-psychological explanations of why liberals move in concert—what Joe Sobran used to call "the Hive". By 2006, I just thought it was all a goldarn conspiracy.
By then, I thought that there were indeed memos, blacklists, organized activist networks—not least because VDARE.COM had seen them in action. What else do these lavishly-funded Political Correctness enforcers do with their time and money anyway? How different is it is from the Anti-Defamation League's arrogant annual directive to public schools on what it claims is "The December Dilemma".
This, of course, was before 2010's Journolist scandal.
Now I am confident that there's a reason the Main Stream Media absolutely suppresses any mention of a possible anti-unemployment immigration moratorium; or of the mathematical fact that the GOP would be better off appealing to its white a.k.a. American base rather than whoring after Hispanics (what we call the "Sailer Strategy") etc. etc.
The reason: MSM editors (and, more importantly, publishers a.k.a. advertising salesmen) receive frequent deputations urging them to be "responsible" and not to exacerbate "white racism".
Without revealing my source, I can state categorically that this has indeed happened in the case of one of the very few MSM figures who has reported the War On Christmas, with obvious—but not, creditably, complete—chilling effect.
It actually doesn't take a lot of this sort of organized pressure to stampede MSM journalists. Like dogs, journalists are hierarchical animals and can be induced by domineering leaders to move in remarkably coherent packs. As diversity is strength, I will adapt a relevant quip from my British-American immigrant heritage:
You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British [American] journalist.
But, seeing what the man [person] will do unbribed, there's no occasion to.
The facts about the War Against Christmas are simply stated. According to Rasmussen Reports (December 25, 2009), 66% of Americans celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday and another 20% celebrate it as a secular holiday. As Rasmussen added, deadpan:
"These core beliefs help explain why 72% of adults prefer to see holiday signs that wish them "Merry Christmas" rather than 'Happy Holidays' at this time of year. Americans also remain overwhelmingly in favor of allowing religious symbols to be displayed on public land and feel strongly that public schools should celebrate at least some religious holidays".
"Overwhelmingly" and "Strongly" means 76% and 83% respectively.
Remarkably, "Merry Christmas" is creeping up in popularity according to Rasmussen—in 2007, just 67% of Americans preferred it.
But, needless to say, this is diametrically opposed to what the American elite thinks and to what it has actually been enforcing in America: no less than the complete elimination of Christmas from the "public square"—and from as far into the private square as they can bluster.
Because War On Christmas Denial has recently taken the absurd form of denying that there's been any change in the American Christmas (nobody here but us War On Christmas Deniers!), it's worth documenting how very radical these changes have been.
For example, I as an English immigrant had never heard the expression "Happy Holiday" until a fellow student used it as we dispersing for our miserable little break from the horrors of Stanford's Graduate School of Business at Christmas, 1970, my first in the U.S. I thought he was joking. I remember discussing it with other American students. They thought he was a crank.
Obviously, the traditional American Christmas was alive and well in 1970. Here's an shockingly unreconstructed "Christmas Message" that Delta Air Lines sent to its employees in 1972:
"We are truly blessed at Delta with the privilege of working with a group of people who have established their relationship with one another on Christian principles…On the joyous occasion of Christmastide, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."
(Hat tip Gary DeMar of the conservative Christian site American Vision, who comments mordantly: "Delta has come a long way in 37 years. Now they're one of the official sponsors of the annual Gay Pride parade.")
Some War Against Christmas Deniers/ brie-eating surrender monkeys are honest enough to admit the change. In 2006, we noted a Los Angeles Times editorial acknowledging both the change and its motivation:
"PERUSING 125 YEARS of Christmas editorials in the Los Angeles Times is a dizzying experience, not so much because there are so many to read as because journalistic sensibilities have shifted so radically since the 19th century. Up until the 1960s, many of these annual paeans read as if they were written by Christian pastors, and wouldn't sound out of place if read aloud during a Sunday church sermon.
"Few things could signal the about-face more sharply than an editorial from 1989 that urges people to say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas," so as not to cause offense to non-Christians." (Christmas, now and then, Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2006)
Christmas 2009 brought more confirmation of Christmas' historic displacement, possibly inadvertently, for example as part of an article by Brandeis historian Jonathan D. Sarna celebrating Hanukkah's meteoric rise as a competing celebration:
"For most of the 20th century, the only December holiday that gained White House recognition was Christmas. Calvin Coolidge inaugurated the practice of lighting an official White House Christmas tree in 1923, and he also delivered the first formal presidential Christmas message. He assumed, as most Americans of his day did, that everybody celebrated Christmas…
"Perhaps the most astonishing of all White House Christmas messages was delivered by a man who should have known all about Hanukkah since he was born just blocks away from a large synagogue in Brookline, Mass., and had many Jewish friends and supporters. Yet John F. Kennedy egregiously declared in 1962 that 'Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, as well as Christians, pause from their labors on the 25th day of December to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace.' He believed (or, at least, his speechwriter believed) that 'there could be no more striking proof that Christmas is truly the universal holiday of all men.'
"The first president who took official notice of Hanukkah was one of the Jewish community's least-favorite occupants of the White House, Jimmy Carter…
(How Hanukkah Came to the White House: Now and Then, Forward, December 11, 2009. VDARE.COM links added).
While I've been watching it, the Khristmaskampf has gone through six distinct phases
1. Guerilla War 1990s-2000. During this period, there were almost no MSM stories about the War On Christmas and readers supplied mostly us with items that they'd seen with their own eyes—for example, Craig Nelsen's 2000 pic of the "Holiday Greeting Board" outside the Queens NY Main Post Office, from which one "greeting" was conspicuously missing. (Hint: it wasn't "Feliz Navidad".)
2. Gathering resistance, 2001-2003. During this period, outbreaks of resistance to the Christophobic onslaught began to occur, which in turn was followed by MSM reporting. At the time, let the record show, this was a remarkable development, very heartening to us Christmas cranks.
3. The Khristmaskampf goes Mainstream, 2004. As Tom Piatak wrote in summing up the year:
"The counterarguments have been mixed. Some, like Frank Rich in a December 19 New York Times column (attacking both Mel Gibson and those defending Christmas) argued that this is much ado about nothing, since Christmas is the same as ever….
"Others, such as Cathy Young of Reason and Jonah Goldberg of National Review, urged everyone to 'lighten up', which although seeming at first glance to be a 'plague on both your houses' argument, actually trivializes Christmas as something no one should be concerned about. They don't write many columns urging people to 'lighten up' about things they actually care about."
"Finally some, such as Julian Sanchez at Reason, take a different tack at trivializing Christmas, by saying our concerns represent an absurd attempt by a still-overwhelming majority to claim 'persecution.' But, obviously, just because no one is being fed to the lions doesn't meant that what's going on isn't worthy of noticing.
My conclusion about the War Against Christmas in 2004:
"There is finally a widespread awareness that it exists. But as with the immigration debate, I believe, it will next emerge that the War Against Christmas is not merely an accident. Its backers really want it.
"Next year, they will get nasty."
4. War On Christmas Denial 2005-8
I was too early, as usual. They didn't get nasty, they just got mendacious—indicative, really. What happened next was an extraordinary barrage of what could only be called War On Christmas Denial. They still constitute the overwhelming majority of Google results for "War On/Against Christmas".
5. War on Christmas Is Over 2009