Col. Santa Claus
You know, Christopher Hitchens, although he is a Brit, is one of America’s greatest gasbags. Over-inflated ego and sense of self drips from every word, whether he is fantastically wrong (his opinion on the Iraq war) or brilliant — as he was in his recent column about how the December ritual of holiday music and decorations has much in common with totalitarian regimes:
As in such dismal banana republics, the dreary, sinister thing is that the official propaganda is inescapable. You go to a train station or an airport, and the image and the music of the Dear Leader are everywhere. You go to a more private place, such as a doctor’s office or a store or a restaurant, and the identical tinny, maddening, repetitive ululations are to be heard. So, unless you are fortunate, are the same cheap and mass-produced images and pictures, from snowmen to cribs to reindeer. It becomes more than usually odious to switch on the radio and the television, because certain officially determined “themes” have been programmed into the system. Most objectionable of all, the fanatics force your children to observe the Dear Leader’s birthday, and so (this being the especial hallmark of the totalitarian state) you cannot bar your own private door to the hectoring, incessant noise, but must have it literally brought home to you by your offspring. Time that is supposed to be devoted to education is devoted instead to the celebration of mythical events.
As I was reading this, the restuarant windows, from left to right, featured glass paintings of (1) Santa, (2) a candy cane, and (3) an American flag. Yikes. Hitch FTW, on this go-round.
merry Christmas, happy Solstice, you beautiful cynics.