Practically everything about X-Mass is offensive to my aesthetic, spiritual, and moral sensibilities. Somewhere under all the larding of false cheer and compulsory gratitude is a small nugget of communion with family and friends and loved ones; a last vestige of the Pagan yule-tide huddling together against the chill undeath of winter and lighting the night in anticipation of the coming rebirth of spring, which I am happy to celebrate. But I'm offended by the debauched abomination that the Solstice festival has become. I'm offended by the notion that beggaring oneself to shovel toys and trinkets into the ungrateful maw of altruism is a sign of one's 'goodwill to men'. I'm offended by the disgusting competitive display of blazing mismatched primary colours, the plastic glowing holy symbols, the artless rendition of rigorously selected standard ballads in whatever vapid sugary 'musical' style the titans of consumer culture have approved for this year. I'm offended by the frustration, the anger, and the violence inspired by the 'necessity' of accommodating these corporatist demands, and I'm deeply offended by the fact that a single word of complaint regarding this decadent orgy of X-Mass consumption gets one labelled as a 'scrooge' and a 'grinch' (names utterly stripped of their original context by annual repetition of these fables to the point of meaninglessness) by cultish celebrants determined to force all and sundry into conformity with the illusion that they are preserving the True Meaning of X-Mass.
But above all, I'm offended by theocrats who demand that we 'keep the Christ in Christmas' (as if Christmas was ever anything but propaganda designed to lure the heathens from their own seasonal celebrations, the carrot to the inquisitorial stick); who declare war on 'Happy Holidays' and 'Season's Greetings', who demand that their child-god in his mass-produced stable be given pride of place in the public square, and who fulminate with indignance at the commercialization of the 'sacred holy day' even as they mass at the gates of Wal Mart for the annual trampling of the designated human sacrifice. Because this, friends, is the cancer that lies at the root of the festering X-Mas tree with its choking tinsel and eye-gouging lights, and runs through its core straight to the angel or Bethlehem Star that adorns its heaven-piercing crown. Christ-Mass is a celebration of sacrifice and guilt, the reasonable expectations of reciprocal giving inflated into a harrowing duty to provide not even for the needs but for the mere wants of others. It is only this devotional obligation that has allowed the corporatist manipulators to build a festival of mutual love and shared gratitude up into a colossus of anxiety, bathos and waste.
In X-Mass we find demonstrated that the obligation of self-sacrifice is the transmutation of human sacrifice, and nowhere is that fact made clearer than on Black Friday, when desperate men and women will literally step on their fellows in their quest to shove one more cheap toy into the bloated stocking that hangs on their wall. Maybe, just maybe, if you can afford one more present it will be enough to make your cold, dead god show how much he loves you.
And people wonder how I can hate X-Mass.