Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Sentiment of Machines vol. 3

Congratulations on retaining your cultural identify.  Records indicate that the axial tilt of the planet in your polar hemisphere may have recently achieved maximum obliquity.  It may be your custom to acknowledge this event by participating in a variety of seasonal observances related to the climatic change occurring between this event and the celestial apoapsis with which it is often confused, exchange sentimental or economically noteworthy gifts, or to petition supernatural amalgams of philanthropic Turkish clergymen, nascent messianic figures, and Proto-Germanic patriarchal storm deities.  While engaging in these activities, you may wish to remain sensitive to culturally dissimilar peer groups who are required to spend this period commemorating the fortunate yet inexplicable efficiency of available fuel, arguing over the historicity and significance of your endeavors, and attempting to explain non-participation to their offspring.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Reliability of Myth

It's that special time of year, where once again a vocal minority of a technical majority of the Western world will be overjoyed to remind us that we the ignorant masses are mistakenly celebrating the wrong mythical person on December 25th.  Woe betide they who, in their impiety and commercialism, speak the name of Santa during this most sacred of seasons, for the only thing more loathsome are those who would are to de-Christ the celebration entirely by saying "Happy Hollidays" when they are obviously honor-bound to refer to it as The Christ's Mass (apparently, their lord is perfectly fine with contractions).

Let us forget for a moment that the historicity of this little festival is about as trustworthy as Fox News coverage of Occupy Wall Street and about as interesting as NPR coverage of whatever ornithological society minutes they happen to be reading on a Wednesday; put aside the idea that, according to the Jewish calendar Jesus would have been born during sukkot in the 7th month of the Hebrew calendar, which would have been middle of September in that year, or that a competent scientist would interpret the seasonal and astronomical clues as more like April.  Let's just talk about why children wait for Santa every year instead of Jesus: dependability.

Generations of people have been waiting for Jesus to come without avail since the first time he said he'd be right back; Santa, for all of his faults, at least puts in an appearance other than a millennial tease.  He brings presents, he kisses mommy, and even when we discover that he is just a personification of our parents attempting to maintain a little bit of childhood wonder for us even as we grow into adolescence, we happily take up that mantle and participate in the ruse for our younger siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, and eventually our own children and grandchildren because the effort always brings results: Santa comes every year, and if you do your part even remotely well by being less than simply rotten, he brings you a present.  His disappointment in you is always temporary, and even if you fuck up royally you're only jeopardizing a single season's grace rather than an eternity.  All in all, it's an entirely less heavy trip than Jesus for a why is it any wonder that this is their clear preference for investing their belief every December 25th?

Maybe if you left milk and cookies out for Jesus he's stop by more often, but until then, lay off of the kids.