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COMMENTARY: Extra! Extra! There is No War on Christmas…Except the Abuse by Media and Merchants

Posted by kinchendavid on December 21, 2006

By Joseph J. Honick

Bainbridge Island, WA  – The flap over something called the “war on Christmas” is by now rather boring. If there is such a war, it does not come from any legitimately religious element. Rather the war comes from the ham handed marketing by all and sundry selling stuff you would not look at the rest of the year.

This marketing attack on Christmas that starts as midnight descends on Halloween not only demeans all aspects of Christmas, Hanukkah and all other holidays related to the calendar but has caused all this conflict among good people simply trying to celebrate something of importance to them.

A lot of attention was given to a flap over Christmas trees in the Seatac airport in Seattle. An orthodox Rabbi threatened legal action unless a Hanukkah menorah (candelabra) was also included. The trees came out; the Rabbi changed his mind; the trees went back.

Bill O’Reilly, on what must have been a bad news day, weighed in with his usual slam bang suggestions of nefarious cabals as did the energetic Lou Dobbs who seemed not to have paid attention to the details of the silly actions at the airport and used the broad brush as if it all reflected a national scheme of some sorts.

Contrary to one writer who suggested there was no room for Jesus at Seatac, the reality is that the whole thing was simply a PR effort in the first place. The media are also complicit in this matter, happily selling the huge amount of inserts, advertising and other revenue producers to entice or embarrass parents to buy stuff they often cannot afford.

So let’s stop this blather about a “war on Christmas”. It does not exist except in the promotional departments of all those folks who make your daily and Sunday papers almost twice as heavy as usual and who start blasting away before Halloween is even out of the way on radio and TV and anywhere else demanding you spend enough money to make those advertisers happier.

The unruly crowds that swarmed into stores as the warmth of Thanksgiving was cooling, reflected the effectiveness of all that smash mouth promotion that had not one thing to do with the spiritual aspects of anyone’s faith, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or anything else. Consider what was being promoted in the process: computer games at prices few could afford but all had to have if peace would be maintained at home, games that threatened harsh response if some people did not want to convert to Christianity, and on and on it has gone…on the radio, TV, all over the internet and any place where hard hitting promotion could take place.

For those really interested, however, there is no inter-religious war on Christmas at all. If any such conflict exists at all, and readers are really concerned, they should know that they have become partners in it all by responding like Pavlov’s dog as soon as the bells crying out sales began two months ago.

* * *

Honick is president of GMA International Ltd., the consulting firm he established in 1975. Its principal areas involved working to broaden business opportunities abroad for American companies and assisting them in preparing for such effort. He is also a regular contributor to Huntington News Network.

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