Merry Christmas!

by John Holbo on December 25, 2015




Ronan(rf) 12.25.15 at 1:08 pm

It’s the most wonderful night of the year. Apparently.


praisegod barebones 12.25.15 at 1:23 pm

People have been claiming that for years. But there’s not a single reputable study, with reproducible data, to support that conclusion. #EvidenceBasedChristmas.


Ted Lemon 12.25.15 at 1:52 pm

The whole thing is based on anecdata. There’s even a cult of credulity involved, where the elders, who know full well that the myth is untrue, still teach their children of the Man in Red and his Lightspeed Sleigh, and even stages fake visitations from this character so as to more fully indoctrinate them into the cult. The goal of this cult seems to be to spike up the buying curve so that retailers become increasingly dependent on a late-year boom in sales, rather than building sustainable business models that can survive the lean times between seasons. This selects for large corporations, destroying small businesses that have fewer resources. The essence of fascism, really.

(That got a little darker than I’d planned, because Andrea was reading excerpts from @kylor3n…)


nnyhav 12.25.15 at 2:15 pm


Layman 12.25.15 at 2:49 pm

Best wishes to all. May you be given the cash moneys, chewing gum, and insect repellant you so richly deserve.


Lee A. Arnold 12.25.15 at 3:31 pm

“Everywhere It’s Christmas at the End of Every Year”

(Song from Beatles’ 4th Xmas record, to fan club, 1966)


jake the antisoshul soshulist 12.25.15 at 3:35 pm

And to all, may you all enjoy the celebration of
your choice, may family dynamics be as pleasant as possible, and may the airing of grievances be catharsizing, and may you have success in feats of strength.


Manta 12.25.15 at 3:40 pm

Happy Birthday Jesus


Theophylact 12.25.15 at 3:40 pm

Bah, humbug.


P O'Neill 12.25.15 at 3:52 pm

If only had a philosopher handy to deepen our discussion of the NYT Christmas Day op-ed by Republican operative Peter Wehner asserting that, inter alia

This Platonic view had considerable influence in the early church, but that influence faded because it was in tension with Christianity’s deepest teachings. In the Hebrew Bible, for example, God declares creation to be good — and Jesus, having entered the world, ratified that judgment. The incarnation attests to the existence of the physical, material world. Our life experiences are real, not shadows. The incarnation affirms the delight we take in earthly beauty and our obligation to care for God’s creation. This was a dramatic overturning of ancient thought.


Alan White 12.25.15 at 4:59 pm

PO @ 10

Thanks for the link to that ho-ho-hokum. Sorta ignores small things like Augustine putting Genesis through the Hellenic-logic wringer to squeeze out the Fall and original-sin theodicy. Jeez–indeed.

Anyway I’m thankful for the daily gift of Crooked Timber–happy holidays to all who contribute here.


Snarki, child of Loki 12.25.15 at 5:38 pm

“Sorta ignores small things like Augustine putting Genesis through the Hellenic-logic wringer to squeeze out the Fall and original-sin theodicy”

Well, all those old prophet-types would go out into the desert, drop some heavy drugs and OOOH! LOOK AT THE COLORS! and write it all up when they came back down. Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, all those guys. And the result, as one might expect, is somewhat less coherent than an old faded issue of the Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.

It takes CENTURIES of editing, and philosphizing and shit, just to get the result into some sort of coherence. Then the Fundies show up and “NO! You must hew to the ORIGINAL TEXT!” and you’re back to the cray-cray stuff again.



Barry 12.25.15 at 6:33 pm

Thanks, John!


Shylock Homeslice 12.25.15 at 7:08 pm

Anyway, I enjoyed this article on “Christmas’s War on America.”


Dr. Hilarius 12.25.15 at 9:38 pm

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Kaupo, Maui. Established in 1862 it serves a very small community on a remote part of the island. Rain started just as I took out the camera. Merry Christmas.


oldster 12.25.15 at 9:55 pm

Happy christmas to John & Belle and the little HolboWarings.


F. Foundling 12.25.15 at 11:08 pm

The adjective ‘merry’ and the whole Christ story don’t seem easily compatible to me. The sad thing is that people couldn’t afford to be so picky about their sources of merriment, given what actual life was like; the silver lining is that we humans seem to manage to look on the bright side of almost everything.

Also, while we’re at it, please be reminded that the fine for celebrating Christmas or any other such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other countries to the great dishonour of God & offence of others, either by forbearing of labour, feasting, or any other way, is five shillings, to be paid to the county.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 12.26.15 at 12:35 am


js. 12.26.15 at 4:29 am

You people really don’t know how to discuss, do you? Happy Christmas anyway (now that it’s practically over).


jake the antisoshul sohulist 12.26.15 at 3:30 pm

If I had a time machine, their are three historical/philosophic/religious figures I would travel to the past and kick in the testicles (possibly multiple times) for the damage they
have done to human happiness. First Plato, then Saul of Tarsus, then Augustine of Hippo.

As far as prophets, I am not sure whether it is good or bad that we were past the age of prophecy when William Blake came along. He might have gone into the pantheon with
Ezekiel and John the Divine.


Glen Tomkins 12.27.15 at 4:24 pm


“This was a dramatic overturning of ancient thought.”

Actually, the talk of Jesus being God in the Gospels is pretty clearly meant as a scandal. Claiming godhood was by then a very tired and trite PR maneuver used by every petty king, kinglet and military dictator in the Hellenistic world, and had been so used for centuries. Antiochus Epiphanes may not have been the first to claim godhood to enhance his worldly power, but his attempt to convert the Jews to syncretic Hellenism associated such claims especially with him to Jews of the time, and thereby about as thoroughly discredited the idea of claimed divinity among them as any idea can be discredited.

Sorry, Wehner, the claim that Jesus is God is both the opposite of an overturning of the thought of the day with some new concept, and it was not even meant in any sense but an ironic one.

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