As I get older it becomes more apparent that I am not the only person who struggles with the christianization of western culture. Particularly around xmas every year I find the weight of the social implications of the holidays way too much to bear.
Though I was raised in a christian background I bear no serious scars of such an upbringing – thanks mostly to my families having distanced themselves from Catholicism before I was born. Yet christmas is still a drag on my mind.
Fueled in equal parts by the commercialization of the holiday, the over bearing idea that everyone needs to be jolly and if not you are a “scrooge”, and the nasty fucking cold weather I find the end of December to be the most antisocial part of the year for me. I want to hide and sleep it off like a bad hangover.
Comics genius R Crumb once said he moved to France in order to escape the tortures of pop music (the kind forced on everyone in shops and phone lines). But such musics made their way to France, just as they have everyplace else. In my opinion xmas jingles are the most pervasive form of this pop culture terrorism.
But when I think about christmas I often think of the other religions of the world who have to suffer through the same things I do. Of the Jews and the Muslims who have to deal with the christian Americanization of the world around them.
Religion, in general, is not the friend of society. It is the single largest cause of pain and suffering in world history. It is the cause of wars, censorship, murder, and pain. Mankind’s need for religion is a need for being told what to do, a need for answers without having to think, a desire for reassurance in the face of reality.
In the end its not man’s need for spirituality that is to blame, it is man’s greed. Money plays the biggest role in the obfuscation of religion away from the spiritual and toward the dogmatic. “Do what you are told and pay us to tell you what to do” is the principle behind all organized religions.
But I digress.
Here in the UK the xmas insanity is less impactive than in the states, but it is still unbearable. Christmas songs on the radio, ads and posters on the streets, the lights only amplifying the bitter remorse that is brought by the winter’s sharp teeth.
I would love to have a Dickens moment of malnourished hallucination that is mistaken for visionary experience, I would love to wake up Christmas morning and find myself a believer in holiday faith and cheer. But the reality is that on the day of Christmas I will awake the same person I was when I went to sleep the night before. The streets will be full of dried and used trees, hanging with tinsel like the panties of a discarded whore. The wrappers of so many presents blowing through the grey alleys covered in auto exhaust grime coloured snow. The fat and hungover populace will stir in their food induced comas, thinking of the New Years parties to come.
I will not be alone though, as I know that many people feel the way I do. I just wish there was something we could do about it, some way to avoid the nightmare of Christmas.