Chi Trib columnist Eric Zorn on 12/23/04 took aim at Christians with their backs up about Christ being frozen out of Christmas, choosing a very fat target for his opening shot. This was "Jeff from Memphis," calling in to a talk show to complain that Christmas has been "taken over by the Kwanzaa group and some of these other radical groups." Zorn saw his opening and took it. "Ooo, 'the Kwanzaa group' is it now?" he wrote, and off he went:
"'The Christmas group' pulled the same sneaky trick in the 4th Century" by co-opting winter-solstice traditions for their own purposes, he wrote, unloading a point he seems to have been dying to make, gleaned from his research on sneaky groups over the centuries. Ooo, Kwanzaa group = 4th-century Christian church. Ooo and double-Ooo.
"Jesus is not 'the reason for the season,' as so many from 'the Christmas group' have smugly informed me in recent weeks," he wrote indignantly. It's "the return of the sun in this hemisphere," celebrated in other ways -- Zagmuk, Sacaea, Saturnalia, Kronos, Yule, by Mesopotamians, Babylonians and Persians, Romans, Greeks, and pre-Christian Germans respectively.
Well thank God, if I may use the expression, for someone finally giving it to smug Christians with their cruddy 2,000-year-old viewpoint.
He is quite irritated about hearing people say "Merry Christmas" aggressively, performing an "in-your-face sack dance . . . meant to underscore Christian dominance in American society." What the heck is a sack dance, for one thing? And what's this "dominance," which has him mad as hell and unwilling to take it any more?
He quotes a columnist about a "revolt" by Christians, and then scurries for the high ground of the detached who really has opponents' better interests at heart: "It's sad to see these angry people turning a glad tiding into a battle cry."
Glad tiding? Zorn is turning Christian? No. Dickensian maybe. He's a Bob Cratchit fan and loves that cheerful bearing up under hardship, the born-lame Tiny Tim on Bob's shoulder and all? He's for "seasonal jollity" and the "true spirit" of Christmas, urging Christians to observe it. The reason for it is something else.
Just why the heck is Tim cheerful, for instance? Good genes? That old winter solstice? Zagmuk, Sacaea, Saturnalia, Kronos, pre-Christian Yule? What the heck is the reason for the season, anyhow?