Archive for December 10th, 2008

When Is A Christmas Program NOT A Christmas Program?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

I was honored to have the opportunity to speak to a group of retired college educators this week. The occasion was what we folks from Mayberry used to call a “Christmas party.” But – since these good folks had toiled at a state college – political correctness required that it be known as a “holiday” gathering. (It could be worse, I guess. They could have called it a “Winter Solstice Celebration.”)

Anyway, my task was to figure out how to deliver a Christmas program that wouldn’t step on the sensitive toes of any of the guests. My solution, such as it was, was to do my regular movie program (“Hollywood: Where The Inmates Run The Asylum”), with the addition of some film-related seasonal tunes at the end (specifically “White Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”)

It seemed to work okay, and nobody threw anything. But two conversations I’ve had since the event left me scratching my head at how PC we’ve all become. One of my Muslim friends wished me a “Merry Christmas,” which prompted me to ask him if he would have been offended by a “Christmas” program at a “Christmas” party. To my surprise, he told me that his all-American kids always celebrated Christmas, and that Santa never by-passed their house. He thought our national political correctness fetish was well-intentioned, but an unnecessary over-reaction.

The other conversation was with my Missus, the lovely Gina Tanner. We passed by a shop bearing seasonal greetings in the two most common languages of our town, English and Spanish. The sign said “Happy Holidays” and “Feliz Navidad.” She asked me what the literal translation of Feliz Navidad was, and I told her: “Merry Christmas.”

“So how come,” she asked, “we can say Merry Christmas, as long as we say it in Spanish?”

Quien sabe – who knows? But please excuse me if I think todos el mundo (the whole freakin’ world) has gone loco en la cabeza (stark raving nuts.)