Cultural Suicide: Have A Merry Holidays

Suicide used to be considered a criminal act. Naturally, once you’ve offed yourself and the authorities have your corpse in hand, there is not much in the way of punishment that they can mete out, save to deny you the kind of burial you might have desired.

They also have first dibs on the remains of your wallet, assuming the manner in which you voluntarily journeyed to the Great Beyond left anything worth salvaging. We can only wonder how the spoils of the once great American culture will be divvied up by those gathered around its body.

At least the cause of death won’t be wondered over: it will obviously be asphyxiation. And the noose that will do the deed, in place for the last forty or so years, always draws a little tighter this time of year. The latest cinching is from the 14th Street McBurney Young Men’s Christian Association, which has fired Santa Claus lest someone be “offended”.

In St. Nick’s place will appear a “talking snowman and his sidekick, an anonymous penguin.” Said the walking-dead John Rappaport, executive director of the McBurney YMCA, Santa’s being given the sack in the favor of a non-religious mascot “wasn’t replacing; it was transitioning…We realized that change is sometimes good, and that Frosty is a great winter character who would appeal to a broader number of kids.”

The 14th Street McBurney Young Men’s Christian Association is also in the midst of a—I struggle with a rising nausea as I write the next—“rebranding”, in which it seeks to be known merely as “The Y.” This abuse of the English language, and disassociation with any taint of Christianity, McBurney feels will also appeal to a broader number, appealing to broad numbers being the only measure of relevance fathomable to those deprived of oxygen.

It is the McBurney’s among us who account for the rise of nativity scene bans, regulations forbidding the utterance “Merry Christmas”, and are the cause of “Happy Holiday” on everybody’s lips. Incidentally, when somebody asks you to have a “Happy Holiday” always ask, “Which holiday is that?” The replies you receive will be interesting.

There is no note with this suicide, but plenty of speeches about purity and good intentions not to offend, offense being the highest possible crime imaginable. Notice that it is offense towards a mysterious “other”, and not offense towards the culture’s own. For example, a member of our culture might take offense at being forbidden to display its cultural artifacts. But this attitude is not defined as “being offended”, for only those who are not part of the culture by definition can be offended.

It is a simple truism to say that the culture we have accounts for the allowable behavior of its members, and so what is interesting about this mad rush away from overt symbols of Christianity is that the rush is to no particular direction except “away”. Abandoning the culture’s roots must lead to changes at a fundamental level, perhaps to the point where the freedom to act petulantly, as the McBurney’s among us do, will be forbidden.

Those wanting to rid themselves of the past have no idea what the future might bring, trusting only that what exists here and now must be the worst and that any change must be good. But since all history shows abrupt change is almost never good, and since everybody knows this, the passion for change must be a kind of suicide.

Many think that by proscribing Christian displays they will eliminate Christianity—that religion being obviously false and harmful—and so advance mankind into a more mature phase, but in so thinking they forget how steeped they are in Christian culture. They forget that our devotion to hospitals, charity, philanthropy, love of learning, forgiveness and many other desirable institutions are there because Christianity was. Will these less overt displays of Christianity disappear when the overt ones are outlawed?

Nobody can know for certain, but we do have clues in the great social experiments of the 20th century. Times when deep customs were overthrown and cultures committed suicide in the name of progress and perfection of mankind. The staggering body count only subsided when these cultures returned grudgingly to their roots.

Not that it’s a fix, not that it’s going to stop the McBurney’s among us to loosen their grip on the rope, but Merry Christmas all.


  1. Ken S

    And a happy Christmas to you too our friend.
    Thanking you for a year of not always but sometimes excellent missives on life, statistics and all that.

  2. Rich

    According to the CIA World Factbook the population of Japan is 83.9% Shintoist and 2% Christian.

    And yet:

    And it seems to me that, every time something in the UK is banned because it “might offend Muslims” a local mullah will pop up and say, “Um, no, we don’t find this offensive at all” but, for some reason it never seems to make any difference.

  3. Ken

    Technically “Santa Claus” as he’s commonly portrayed (with the red suit with white trim, black belt, & white beard) is in fact the creation of a Coca Cola marketing campaign started in the early 1930s:

    Of course, that doesn’t change the sentiment of “Saint Nick” & all he stood for…and what’s happening in society under the banners of “sensitivity” and “tolerance” & so forth…..

    The ugly reality is that the people most vocal about “tolerance” & so forth and who work tirelessly to remove traditional icons like Santa, etc. are doing so out of veiled anger & hate. Here’s some good book on that subject:

    “The Power of Persuasion” by G. Ray Funkhouser. Its out of print, but presents the personality type (a sort of anti-win-win mindset) in layman’s terms.

    “People of the Lie,” by M. Scott Peck. Some of his ways of expression are a bit odd, but this is easily readable.

    “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness,” by Dr. Lyle Rossiter (see — where a *.pdf copy, which you will own!, can be downloaded for about $10). Skip to about chapter 42 & start reading to understand the psychology of what are truly emotionally damaged people that, rather than address their ills, try & impose them on everyone else.

  4. Kjell

    Let an old viking suggest that we reintroduce the “midwinter sacrifice”.
    It is a very old tradition and was done to please the gods so the spring would reappear.
    Since it worked every year it proved to be true science by observation.
    As such it should be acceptable to any and all religious groups.
    Google “midvinterblot” and you will se what I mean

  5. Wolfgang Flamme

    They will be under fire soon for choosing a snowman (white, male). But at least there is some tragedy involved with respect to rising temperatures.

  6. Bill S

    I say merry Christmas.
    They say “Happy Holidays”
    Usually I leave it alone.
    Sometimes I like to respond with
    “And a happy holy day to you too – on this very nice day in the city of Angels”

  7. PaddikJ

    And a superbly sublime Solstice to you too, William!

    How ironic that Santa derives from the Skandanavian Sinter Clas, who was probably based on the Norse God Odin, who was propitiated in the yearly solstice celebrations of northern Europe to mark the end of the Long Night & the coming of the planting season and new calves in the mangers (and, of course, the re-birth of Jesu).

    These cultural artifacts (and their dates) were incorporated into Christianity as it spread northward, demonstrating the “cultural cross-fertilisation” we all studied in Junior High. Since northern Europe would become the dominant player in western culture during the Industrial Revolution and the great age of exploration, these cultural norms became the standard for all of western culture, and were semi-incorporated into several others as well.

    OTOH, Frosty is a cartoon character based on a popular song. How lame is that? As the Universtiy of Colorado’s Anthropologist & wild-man polymath John Greenway once remarked, about shaping up Communion in the modern Catholic Church, “I might not have many communicants left when I finished, but by Chrise I’d have a Church.”

  8. “Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/ secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.”

    May I be frank? Warning: delicate temperaments may wish to eschew the following.

    In this case, as in so many others, the push toward secularization is driven by a small segment of the public, principally homosexuals. They reject any and all traditional values because traditional values are at odds with their lifestyles. I suspect (and cannot confirm since I live 3,000 miles away from NYC) that the 14th Street McBurney YMCA is a homosexual gathering place where homosexual liaisons and acts are commonly practiced. Those include homosexual pedophilia. I have no doubt that the YMCA’s Frosty is a furfag, a homosexual pedophile who dresses in animal costume for sexual predator reasons. I suggest that readers with strong stomachs google “furfag” for more on this new perversion.

    PS – Dr. Briggs, post this comment at your own peril. These perverts are aggressive.

  9. JH

    Have a Great Winter Break everyone! I am so ready for it.

  10. ad

    Some of us live in the southern hemisphere, you insensitive clods!

  11. ad

    About twenty years ago I replaced the stock “merry Christmas and a happy new year” with a plain “merry to you and happy”.

  12. JH

    Dear ad, it’s rude to complain when you didn’t get what you wanted. ^_^

  13. Ken

    There will be no Nativity Scene in Washington this year!

    The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be a Nativity Scene in the United States Capital this Christmas season. This isn’t for any religious reason. They simply have not been able to find Three Wise Men in the Nation’s Capitol.

    A search for a Virgin gets more difficult each year.

    There was no problem, however, finding enough (donkeys) to fill the stable

  14. Doug M

    Do you know the story of the Hogfather?

    the Auditors attempt to assassinate the Hogfather because he is a source of disorder in the universe. While the Hogfather is incapacitated, Death takes on the job. If beleif in the Hogfather were to die, the sun will not rise in the morning.

  15. Doug M

    The San Francisco Macy’s fired ‘Santa John’ after 20 seasons employment. He received a complaint for a comment that he made to an adult who came to sit on his lap.

  16. Briggs

    Uncle Ron,

    Now, now. I don’t think we can put our cultural degradation down to such a small fraction of the population. What is happening is too pervasive. But I will say that you have developed quite an interesting vocabulary way out west!


    Click on the comment above which reads “YMCA goes oops!” The “Y” was forced to restore Santa and orders from the headquarters of the Young Men’s Christian Association.

  17. Dear Matt,

    Let’s bet on it. $10 says I’m right about the 14th St YMCA. You live there; check it out. I will accept your findings without question.

    Cultural degradation may be pervasive, but it arose from a very few infection points.

    btw, try to find Christmas cards that have so much as the word “Christmas” on them, let alone anything that might tie the holy-day into it’s Christian roots. It’s the reason for the season, you know.

    PS – May the blessings and grace of Christmas embrace your family again this year.

  18. Alan D McIntire

    Your introductory reference to suicide being illegal reminded me of Gilbert and Sullivan’s
    “Ruddigore”. An evil baronet had a family curse- he had to commit a crime every day or he would die horribly. He deliberately didn’t commit a crime, and was thus attempting suicide-death by curse. Since suicide is a crime, he satisfied the requirements of the curse by doing nothing.

    Gilbert and Sullivan began composing comic operas in 1871, the year after Christmas became a federal holiday in the U.S. Someone ought to follow Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic logic, and propose abolishing Christmas as a federal holiday to placate the anti-Christmas crowd, and see how much support THAT gets.

  19. George Steiner

    Did you fellows, including Mr. Briggs write to this Rappaport fellow to say how outraged and offended you are and to say that you will write to the board of this Y to tell them?

    Why not?

  20. read a book

    “They forget that our devotion to hospitals, charity, philanthropy, love of learning, forgiveness and many other desirable institutions are there because Christianity was.”

    Really? Really?? You wrote this intentionally?

    I am glad I am in America and can go to a hospital for the gut I just busted while laughing at that statement, unlike if I were in Japan, which must be devoid of hospitals (and charity, philanthropy, love of learning, forgiveness, and many other desirable institutions) having not been overrun by Christians at its inception.

    I guess I should go back and re-read those born-again Greeks and look for some divine signs in their jebus inspired love of learning.

    Happy Holidays, Plato and pals, and Merry Revisionist Christmas!

  21. Bruce Foutch

    The San Fransisco Santa was asked why he was so Jolly. He replied that it was because he knew where all the naughty girls lived… 😉

    As Doug M stated, he said this to an adult in the bastion of all things open and liberal. Oh wait… maybe not so open and liberal after all.

    I read he was hired by a local Irish pub, Lefty O’Doul’s, at twice his Macy’s salary. Heard he even landed a spot on the Leno show.

  22. Dennis Dunton

    A very Merry Christmas Matt (insert cockney accent) “In keepin with tha situation”.

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