Saturday, November 11, 2006

Season’s Bleatings

The media have reported that Wal-Mart, America’s largest retailer, along with others such as Kohl’s and Macy’s, will be using the word “Christmas” rather than generic alternatives to describe their annual December shopping promotions. It was reported that the change was made after “religious groups” had criticized Wal-Mart and others that had stopped using the word “Christmas”. Some even staged boycotts.

“We learned a lesson from that,” a Wal-Mart spokesperson is quoted as saying.

Really? And what lesson is that? That the best policy is to cave into extremist religious activists?

What the “religious groups” are saying, basically, is that using Jesus to sell socks, perfume or whatever as Christmas gifts is a good, religious thing to do. Making money, it would seem is a holy. So is debt to pay for those gifts.

And what of other religious groups that believe Christmas is a commercialised frenzy of consumerism having nothing to do with the essential Christian message? Sorry folks, “make money” must be the unwritten eleventh commandment, or maybe Jesus’ last words from the cross.

The fuss is really odd from a
New Zealand perspective. Here, where both the nation and the Christmas holiday are largely secular, no one takes any notice of whether retailers use the word “Christmas” or not. Many do, but a generic word could be used instead, for all the difference it’d make. Certainly no one would organise boycotts either way.

With everything going on in the world today, wouldn’t you think that the time of those “religious groups” would be better spent living up to the spirit of Christmas rather than worrying about whether the word is used to sell more junk?

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