I wrote this post two years ago but didn’t publish it because I didn’t think it was very good. I also wanted to refine it more. I sent it to Paul for a second look and he kindly proofread it and promptly replied with some good suggestions (thank you Paul you are the bes).
A week later I realized I’d sent the draft to Paul on Christmas. He was a saint to honor my request.
Anyway, I was talking with Linnea when topic of Hating Christmas came up and I remembered this terrible post long forgotten. I figured it would be as good a time as any to post it. So here it is, in all its frothing glory!
Also I haven’t since edited it, so we’re gonna do it LIVE
pew pew pew
Edit: Looks like the images got garbage collected – but they’re just icing anyway. I’ll fix them some time in the future.
I hate christ mass.
It don’t hate the holiday itself. I hate the yearly procession about it. I also think that it’s a wonderful pagan tradition. Natalis Solis Invincti, the birth of the invincible sun god Mithras, the winter solstice! Of course, that’s not what it’s about anymore, but it’s also not really about anything that it used to be about either. The appropriation of Mirtha’s birthday in favor of lil’ j’s parturition is irrelevant at this point, though that little fucker probably wasn’t even born this season either.
No, I hate this time around jesus’s reverse-crucifiction because it’s an amazingly horrific celebration of capitalism. “[I]t[ ]is the season”, the white people say as they put on their daintly gold spectacles and and white gloves and pfrance through the… pasture? Wherever it is that gentiles go on that day. There will probably be a coniferous tree there. And the color red reminds us all to drink coca cola, though bolivian grandmothers will still be detained at the airport for brining coca leaves to our sacred country of godliness and appropriation. Thank you madamme for bringing us that which we already stole from you and productized. We will arrest you for it and still turn a HUGE PROFIT! WE WIN!
We are all thankful that amazon abstracts the subjugation of workers in warehouse factories everywhere, so that we may order our gifts be delivered to each other without having to do any work for it. What bourgeoisie merriment! I’m so glad that some poor person (in both senses of the term) could work their ass off in some
awfulawesome work environment to process all those packages. And the postal workers! Thank you Amazon/internet for taxing that invisible infrastructure holiday and holiday again. You know who the real santa is? The real santa works 06:00-22:00 to deliver some bullshit and gets paid less than minimum wage for it. Fuck that, these people are the real santa.1
I’ve figured out two things that piss me off about chiral mass spectrometry:
- Why only now.
Let’s get into this.
This doodle was posted December 23rd. It is a suspiciously generic doodle, but the date tells all. Christy Mass is the only major holiday that happens after December 23rd. There are also no other doodles earlier in this month which say anything about holidays. And what attention does fuckboi J’s holiday get?
A Mother. Fucking. Google. Website. Announced December 2nd. 3 ENTIRE WEEKS BEFORE HITLER’S WINTER WONDERLAND.Google even took the time to proliferate this horseshit to the most remotely-appropriate places, like maps and chromecast devices. The sprayed it everywhere.
To contrast, let’s look back two weeks toward Chanukah, when halfway through the holiday Google haphazardly releases a bullshit dredel turd.You have to specifically search “Play Dreidel” to find this “game” (i.e. a random number generator. Literally random.randint(1,4)) There are no other ads for it, and searching only for “dreidel” does not bring it up. But you do get some nice holiday theme on the search results page, so that’s nice. That’s like a “we sorta tried, but we were real busy doing this thing for the jesus lovers over here. Sorry! Maybe next year!!”
Meanwhile, nothing from Amazon/Apple/Microsoft (Bing)/Yahoo/Etc., just business as usual. Absolutely fuck-all. Until the past week, when suddenly all websites roll out crapmass-themed pages. Every. Single. One.
This is the thing that makes me mad — it really isn’t that these things are related to ‘Christmas’, it’s about the way that other religious events are expressly ignored. Google could have put up a doodle for Chanukah — they put something up for the perseids meteor shower for fuck’s sake. But they didn’t. Apple could have put up their shitty “buy things as gifts” page up three weeks ago and left it that way until January. But they didn’t. And the fact that all of these things, the “happy holidays” doodle, the holiday-themed main page changes, etc., that all of them showed up around December 23rd is very condemnable in my mind.
To me it also says that more than one developer worked on that shit for more than a month to put it together. Given that the Google doodle is referenced by maps and search, they probably have a fair number of people working on it to handle all the traffic. And many other websites around now have some holiday thing going on, which they did not have going on two weeks ago. I guarantee that it’s got green red and white + snow theming, despite the fact that the majority of the world is not experiencing snowfall right now.
This is a privilege and power thing in my mind. That’s why I’m mad about it. Google has the power to affect a lot of people. And when they release that santa clause fairy tale site, that says something, it reinforces a certain set of ideas. It alienates a certain set of people. Says that they ain’t the normal ones. Same goes for every other site that’s got christian massive themes up right now.
Sure, I can understand that the developers of the western world might want to create something for the holidays. But the fact remains that we created one thing. To commemorate one holiday. Specifically, a westernized holiday centered around capitalism. We used our individual perception and experience of that holiday in the process (santa claus, snow, fir trees, etc.). And we half-acknowledged every other holiday happening around the same time.
That is a very clear statement of bias to me. And it’s a statement that we should be ashamed to have made, because tech companies hold so much power in the world today.
That “Holidays 2015” doodle hit a huge chunk of the world (they amusingly missed Israel). Billions of people saw that doodle, are currently seeing the next doodle in that series. And we’re bringing the fuckin spirit of capitalis-mas right to them — OUR idea of it at least. Regardless of who those people are. We are a roving billboard of exclusionary tactics. Fuck, we’re making money on exclusionary tactics. And somehow 100000 employees at Google either decided it was okay, or were complicit in allowing it to happen. 100k people did this to an amount of people 4 orders of magnitude greater.
WAY TO SHOVE YER RED RUDOLF DICKS IN THEIR FACES.
It’s like we’re a bunch of toddlers, with such limited worldview, and we still manage to influence the world via our limited worldview. This is some shameful shit. Especially because the market is now following what the tech companies do, like with the codification of black friday and cyber monday into a new yearly required event — all of this plays into a giant ball of capital and market and adfjklasdhhhhhhhhhhhhhklha sff fuckin financial terms and the result is that the rich get richer, the poor remain with in a slightly shifted and yet fundamentally identical power structure. But now with a shinier UI.
Why only now
This point is about mindfulness alone. I’m not condoning shopping sprees. (I’ve also had it with that part of the blog post, time to move on)
Why do we north/western hemisphere-dwellers act this way at this specific time of the year? Why do we once a year go on a frenzied craze of indulgence near the winter solstice, then forgive ourselves for previous mistakes and make decisions for the coming year?
Why don’t we do this more than once a year? Is there a reason that we do a year in review over a week in review? Is that healthy? I think that part of the huge rush around jesus christ birth time is this idea that we have to make up for a year’s worth of distance and remoteness from friends. There’s some relation there to the 5 day / 40 hours work-week there, I won’t get into it now. But I been thinking about it. I certainly am not in the practice of regularly taking time to celebrate being alive with the people in my life. It seems in the working world that this is one of the more comprehensive holidays, one of the few 2-weeks spans that people can be with their families or friends in remote places, so I can understand that participants of the working world really wanna take part in this thing. Feel that holiday spirit.
I think it’s an incredibly unhealthy practice, my anecdotal evidence being the horrid empty feeling that I’ve felt every year a week after new year’s, when you see the facades falling and things returning to “normal”. Disassociate from your friends and family again. Get back into the individualistic worker mentality again. Start being “””””””productive””””””” “””””””again”””””””. I suppose the other bit of anecdotal evidence are all of the new year’s resolutions that I’ve never kept, in addition to the ones I know my friends haven’t kept. Unused gym memberships being the least of them.
And again, all of this makes me wonder, why only now? Why only these two weeks? Why aren’t we visiting friends and family throughout the year, spending time with each other and making each other feel valued without necessitating a material gift? Why aren’t we continually reflecting on ourselves and reviewing our goals, thinking about the things that make us happy and how to do them more? Once a year is tantamount to never in my book, and I resent seeing the prompts to me that “now is the time to do X”, as in “now is the time to get those last minute holiday gifts! Make sure that you are remembered by your family! Without a gift no one will look at you as a human! GET A FUCKING GIFT” or “now’s the time to look back on what you’ve accomplished and plan for the future!”
NO. NOW is the time to do that, but not in the December 23rd sense of now. Now in the every moment that you’re fuckin breathin sense. I can’t stand the institutional idea of checking in with each other only once a year. That’s not a check-in, it’s a check-out, nothing changes, we stay on the plateau.
I think that another part of my frustration and anger with this is that I’m still working on appreciating what’s happening in my life now, and being part of this, right now first and with an eye to the future second. And seeing that idea re-presented as an giant institution everywhere that I go, even online, is immensely frustrating. Because it’s something I’ve worked on for a long while, and something that I’m trying to live every day, and all of a sudden it’s what everyone is doing. It’s everywhere, and sets up a motherfucking gift shop for the whole process. But then we all pack up and move on and nothing really changes. It’s life, productized and put into a tidy 2-week-long package and sold for profit.
I don’t wanna buy into that. I want to travel to visit friends and family more regularly than the corporate- or school- sanctioned dates. I want to critique myself and try to be a better person every day, not once a year. I want to try and live here now on this earth, and love the people I’m around here and now. I don’t want to spend a month+ planning how my December 25th – January 2nd is going to go, I want to be thinking every month how to spend some part of it with friends/fam. Not just once a year. I want to live with the fervor of this “holiday season” every day.
I’ll leave you with a meditation on classism and rampant commercialization. [TW: Sexual Violence; CW: Classism, Nudity, Racism, Sexism.]
- I read a fantastic long-form article about Yiwu with these fotos but couldn’t find an online publication of that article. I thought it was in the New Yorker but some cursory searching didn’t turn it up. This is the most similar article I found. ↩