|December 21, 2012|
Photograph by Draculina Ak
From 3 Quarks Daily:
I have very fond memories from the 1990s of listening to a friend’s Gujarati Indian immigrant family butcher Christmas carols.
It was an annual Christmas Eve tradition for these religious Hindus. Each year, with women on one side of the room and men on the other, the genders separated by the large, decorated tree, they joyously worked their way through about a half-dozen classics. Sometimes they sang in unison, and sometimes they traded parts while they consulted xeroxed lyric sheets. When it came to “Deck the Halls,” everyone always got a chuckle out of the men warbling “Fa la la la, La la la la!”
For me, an American Jew then in my mid-20s, it was a liberating experience.
Christmas might not be everyone’s favorite holiday, but there’s no denying that here in the United States, it is THE holiday. None of the others can really compete. It is front and center in the cultural consciousness for no less then a month, beginning its inexorable, swelling crescendo the minute Thanksgiving ends in late November.
The War on Christmas agitators, especially the propagandists in big-time right-wing media like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, are largely full of shit of course. Christmas dominates American culture during the entire month of December and almost everybody celebrates in one way or another, including millions of non-Christians.
But the religious Christians who complain that one of their most sacred holidays has been exploited and debased by commerce and secularization? The folks who rail against “Xmas,” decrying the removal of “Christ” from “Christmas?” I think they’re absolutely right.
For many Americans, Santa Clause is a more pivotal Christmas figure than Jesus. Elves and reindeer supplant angels and wise men. “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Winter Wonderland” are far more popular than “O Tannenbaum” or “Oh Holy Night.” And countless millions of Americans spend Christmas Eve opening gifts (or wrapping them at the last minute) instead of going to church.
In other words, my Indian friends weren’t singing the praises of Christ’s birth because they were about to convert. Rather, they were taking Christmas and making their own. They were turning something ostensibly Christian into something that was decidedly un-Christian.
Merleau-Ponty’s Child Psychology
As much as death signals the end of the self, birth is just as mysterious. Both extend out to infinity and signal the brevity and contingency of our lives. As mysterious are those first few years of life that one does not have access to as an adult, I know I existed before my earliest memories. I know I interacted with others, I learned to walk and talk. I was willful from my parent’s tales.
William Pope.L: Reader Friendly
William Pope.L is famous for (among other things) carrying a business card that identifies him as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America.” It’s a clever gag because it makes itself true, in a way, every time it draws people closer. The card must be especially useful when Pope.L does business with people who dread Black men or Black artists.
10 Things the NSA Has Seen Me Do
One winter in my early twenties myself and some good friends — a merging of art, music and literary ladies of New York, full-grown girls aspiring to be women — got together, had a lovely dinner, some wine and delightful chat. Then we decided to spend an hour practicing “Teach Me How To Dougie”. NSA — can you teach me how to Dougie? You know why? “Because all my bitches love me.”
You may also like :
In an effort to be interdisciplinary, and to keep up with the current trend for all things neuroscience, I recently attended a conference in Berlin on neuroaesthetics. One of only two philosophers in the room, I found myself on the receiving end of an incredibly hostile attack after asking a question of the founding guru of the discipline, the neuroscientist Professor Semir Zeki of University College London.
Instead of traveling solo, the heroines in Thelma & Louise (1991) escape together from social constraints and obligations from work, home and a controlling marriage. Instead of merely reflecting on their lives, throughout the movie Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) encounter real threats and real adventure (though far from comical); their short vacation quickly turns into a nightmare. Instead of chasing love, they are chased by the FBI for shooting the man who attempted to rape Thelma.