Saturday, December 17, 2011

Haters gonna hate

Stop the hatredYou might think that this time of year, when people usually think about peace and family and Coke-drinking polar bears and all things squee and squishy, we’d get a little break from the hate. You might think that, but you’d be wrong.

Oh, the majority are definitely not hatin’, but it seems like it’s the exceptions that always stand out. I really started noticing it the other day when one of our local TV stations posted the Obama family’s Christmas picture on their Facebook page. It’s really a nice picture, with everyone smiling and holding hands, and the girls look so sweet and they’re getting so big. However, knowing my community and having seen some of the comments that have been posted on the station’s page on other topics, I had a feeling that it was going to get nasty. I tried a preemptive strike with this comment: “It's a great picture of a lovely family. It would be nice if people could focus on that during this holiday season.” Of course, it did no good, with attitudes ranging from apathy to rage; a couple of people took the opportunity to disparage the President for his upcoming family vacation in Hawaii; one person called him ‘evil.’ There were a handful of comments similar to mine there, and I took some heart from that.

Then Christopher Hitchens died. The atheist community is in mourning; whether or not you liked the man, he had an incredible intellect, and his writings will be greatly missed. He was also a son, a brother, a husband, and a father, as well as a good friend to many. The response from some on the Christian right was not unexpected, but I was still taken aback by the sheer ferocity of the hatred. The horrid Bryan Fischer predictably said that Hitchens is in Hell, then went on to say that it was because “God loves him.” Whatever. Apparently irony is beyond the guy’s limited grasp. One of Hitchens’ books is titled God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, so some folks on Twitter started the hashtag GodIsNotGreat. That didn’t go over well with some, and whoever started the hashtag was told to commit suicide and threatened with death. That seems to be a bit of an overreaction to me, especially when you’re proclaiming God’s awesomeness while simultaneously writing that you’re going to beat the shit out of the person who dares to disagree, or shoot them in the face.

Today, I read an article on a Catholic website stating that the atheists who had the audacity to file a lawsuit over a government-declared Day of Prayer in Arizona were whining, pathetic cowards. It included this memorable quote from author Mary Kochan: “Yes, you are outsiders. Go start your own damn country. This one was started by Christians, you puerile dimwits.” Gosh, I’m just overwhelmed by the sheer outpouring of Christian love! The broader issue here, that of the constitutionality of any government promoting religion, is beside the point. I was rather stunned at the rage emanating from this woman because someone dared to challenge the easy assumption of the Arizona government that everyone embraces Christianity and is perfectly fine with the government promoting prayer. Her level of anger seems a little out of proportion for a matter of people simply exercising their right to challenge such a declaration. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t exactly make me think, “Wow, I’m going to get out of bed tomorrow morning and get to church bright and early, so I can meet people just like Mary Kochan!

I’m pretty mellow this time of year. I can still get fired up about things, and often do. (Ol’ Mary might still get a comment from me on her article...I’ll be respectful, though. Kind of. In my own special way. Heh.) But I tend to let things slide a little more, I do my best to not take offense at statements that would normally start my chainsaw roaring, and I try to spread a little good cheer and good will. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting someone a gift that I think they’ll really like, and other times it’s as simple as smiling at someone who seems to be having a hard day. (At the grocery store the other day, I exchanged a smile and a few kind words with a woman whose little kid was screaming his fool head off. Wasn’t that better than making her feel bad by giving her a dirty look? I think so.) Tolerance is maybe one of the best gifts we can give, not just this time of year, but year round.

So I guess if you want to go after me for something I’ve written or done, now would be the time to do it. Just remember that I may be a little more mellow and tolerant at the moment...but in a couple of weeks, it will be a brand new year. And then all bets are off. [big grin]

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Motivation: I haz none

MotivationWhere the heck did the day go?

As I think back on it, I realize that I got quite a bit done. I got some final Christmas gifts, did the grocery shopping, did my workout like a good girl, got some dishes washed, did a load of laundry, and no, I didn’t sit on the couch and flip channels while drinking beer...but it seems like there’s still so much I need to do. I’m a little bit lost in Electronica, because I’m almost halfway through Book #51, and we also got ourselves some smartphones, so I’ve been messing around with that.

I think what is weighing on me is that now that we have the tree up (Yes, it’s artificial, yes, it’s a CHRISTmas tree but we don’t go to sue me! Ha!) I know it’s time to start wrapping. I had intended to start that today, but despite the other things I got done, I procrastinated about that particular task. I’ve written before about how I don’t enjoy wrapping. I’ve tried fun Christmas music (I’m partial to the Rat Pack, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra), I’ve tried beer, but nothing makes it especially enjoyable for me. Part of it is because once I start, I don’t really want to stop until I’m done with it. So I spend an entire afternoon doing nothing but wrapping.

It’s enough to drive anyone stark raving mad.

So maybe I’ll change it up a little bit this year. I’ve got a couple of weeks before Christmas, so no one but me is dictating how much time per day I spend on it. Why not do a couple of hours, and then be done for the day? That will make my psyche AND my back happy. And maybe I’ll sip on Greyhounds as I wrap, so that I get some Vitamin C while I ease the pain. And instead of listening to Christmas music, maybe I’ll pop in a movie that I really enjoy or a guilty pleasure movie, like “Psycho” or “Road House.” (Although I just watched both of those recently, so I should find something else. “Footloose” is a definitely possibility.)

As far as I know, there isn’t some sort of Christmas Rule Book that dictates what constitutes a proper Christmas. My family hasn’t done the traditional little cottage Christmas in the little village for some time now; for several years, we did Christmas Bingo, where we all contributed fun little prizes and Mom and Dad contributed envelopes of money (anywhere from $1 to the rare $50 prize), but we all finally agreed that we just had too much “stuff” (miss you, George Carlin!) and stopped doing that. Last year, we all gave to the charities of our choice. Our family Christmas dinner is usually lasagna, but this year there is talk of a taco party. Ken and I have mimosas while opening presents. I think we’ll stick with that particular tradition, because it’s a delicious one.

I’m all for whatever works for you and your family. If you’re into the whole traditional Christmas thingy, knock yourself out. I think I’ll just make my own kinda music, sing my own special song, which might be something by the Stones rather than Bing Crosby...and I think that we’ll manage to have a good time no matter what. Life is funny—and fun!—that way.