Merry Christmas, everyone! In the following article, I’m going to pull together some old stuff from previous posts with mostly new stuff to make a Christmas post. If you want more, go back to Christmas: Everything I Have to Say. It has so much in it that I couldn’t even manage to read it all. And I’m very fond of my own writing (this is helped by having a terrible memory).
Setting the Mood
Let’s set the mood with some Christmas music. This gets harder every year.
It used to be that it was just the explicitly Christian songs that bugged me. And they still do. There are few things that annoy me more than Christians who run around reminding people of the “reason for the season!”
There is basically nothing theologically interesting about Christmas from a Christian standpoint. The virgin birth is just something tacked on for the prols. Christians should make a big deal out of Easter and the related holidays. But they don’t. Because American Christians neither know nor care about their religion’s theology. Instead they care about cultural signaling and in- and out-group politics.
But this year I found it impossible to enjoy songs that I’ve liked in the past like “I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Claus.” So I included a few songs that you really need to stretch to include. Here’s the list:
- “Blue Christmas” — Elvis Preseley
- “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” — Jackson 5
- “Christmas Wrapping” — The Waitresses
- “This Christmas” — Donny Hathaway
- “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)” — The Ramones
- “Santa Baby” — Eartha Kitt
- “Merry Christmas Baby” — Otis Redding
- “There Ain’t No Sanity Clause” — The Damned
- “Baby It’s Cold Outside” — Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski
- “Back Door Santa” — Clarence Carter
- “If We Make It Through December” — Merle Haggard
- “Run Rudolph Run” — Chuck Berry
- “The Weight” — The Band
- “Der Hölle Rache” — Diana Damrau
- “Fairytale Of New York” — The Pogues
- “2000 Miles” — The Pretenders
- “Santa Stole My Girlfriend” — The Maine
- “We’ll Meet Again” — Vera Lynn
- “Must Be Santa” — Bob Dylan
- “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” — Judy Garland
I’m particularly bothered by The Ramones cut because of the stupid video stuff at the beginning and end of the song. But I so love the song that I included it.
Last Year’s Christmas
Last year, I published A Very Alpha Christmas. It’s interesting because I thought I had written it in 2016 or 2017. My feelings have only gotten worse. In fact, I tried to back out of all my familial obligations. It’s not that I mind doing all the holiday stuff. But I do mind the feeling that there are those who only take.
Next year, I may well do my own horror-themed Christmas. If my family wants to come, great. I’ll serve the food I like and show the horror films that I want to watch.
But that’s not what I would hope for a family gathering. I do, however, think that Christmas shouldn’t be me cooking while the television in the other room screams sports. But note: my problem is not the sports but the fact that it isn’t the choice of the group. It’s the choice of one man. And it is the choice he makes all the time. You see, it is no more a choice for him than it is for me.
Last year I also recommend that you watch Christmas Evil. It is the film I’m featuring on Psychotronic Review, so click over there and watch it. Things have been taking off over there. It is getting a lot more love than Frankly Curious. And I’m starting to see the traffic to justify it.
Still, it’d be nice to do more on Frankly Curious. It’s hard to find the time — especially while I’m trying to save money. But I’ll do my best.
School Is In!
It’s always fun to learn stuff. If you don’t agree, you aren’t the target audience of this site. Go away!
In the past, I’ve featured lectures and interviews that were Christmas-focused. Here are a few that I find interesting.
Don’t Celebrate Christmas!
Tom Flynn believes that people shouldn’t celebrate Christmas or any similar holidays. I don’t find the argument compelling. As I’ve already noted, there isn’t much that’s religious about Christmas.
Still he makes an argument that is worth hearing. He’s interviewed by authoritarian atheist Robert M Price. These were the days before Price felt comfortable flying his authoritarian flag high. Now he takes the derision of people like me as proof that he’s right. He’s hopeless.
Rebecca Watson is one of the small number of major atheist celebrities who didn’t go on to be an authoritarian asshole. She continues to make excellent skeptic-oriented videos.
In this video, she jokes about PZ Myers. I’m not sure what that’s about. The two of them have long been allies. Both of them are good examples of how the New Atheists largely pushed away anyone who didn’t go along with its increasing political conservatism (or worse).
About a year after I turned against New Atheism, PZ Meyers wrote:
The number of people identifying as “nones” will grow in this country in coming years, because we’re on the right side of history, and because organized religion is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on other-worldly issues that don’t help people. The number of people identifying as atheists will stagnate or even shrink, because organized atheism is happily in the process of destroying itself with regressive social attitudes, scandals, and their bizarre focus on irrelevant metaphysical differences that don’t help people.
Here is Rebecca Watson’s funny Christmas lecture:
If you want to hear a more radical view of New Atheism (which I mostly agree with), read Sam Kriss’ Village Atheists, Village Idiots.
A Brief History of Christmas
I highly recommend watching Klaus for a Christmas story that is epic and filled with wonderful folkloric elements. It’s on Netflix but I’m sure eventually will be on DVD.
In the meantime, CGP Grey has this excellent video made in the style of, well, CGP Grey.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Renegade Cut creates great videos of film analysis from a leftist perspective. This one tries to answer why Christmas makes some of us miserable.
In comparison with the above, here is another leftist YouTuber Maggie Mae Fish on Kirk Cameron’s ode to materialism Saving Christmas. The film is basically a debate between a sincere Christian who believes Christmas is too materialistic and Cameron who thinks materialism rocks.
According to the movie, Cameron is right. And why not? He does speak for the vast majority of Christians, even if they don’t like it put forward in such a coarse way. Fish tears the film and Cameron apart.
Here is a playlist that I’ve put together with mostly comedy related to Christmas, religion, and that kind of stuff.
That’s all for me today. I’ve written an article about the “skeptic” community’s embrace of racial IQ “science” that will come out here early next week. And I’ll be doing a few things over at Psychotronic Review.
I hope you have a good Christmas. It’s hard to be too keen given that it looks like America is taking a big step toward authoritarianism. And if Trump is re-elected, I suspect it is over. The Republicans will be in a position to have minority control over the government for the foreseeable future and there won’t be much we can do about it.
I fear for the world. Ho ho ho!