Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 19, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

SEASON'S MEMINGS....A few days ago Bill O'Reilly was yammering on about how he was sticking up for Christmas but nobody else was. Why doesn't Peter Jennings stick for Christmas, he asked, why doesn't Dan Rather stick up for Christmas....and....and....well, that's about it. I didn't have any idea what he was talking about, so I shrugged my shoulders and went about my business.

But now a week has passed, and I think I get it. It's all about "Merry Christmas," isn't it? I've now read at least a dozen assorted articles and op-eds about the horror the horror! of "Happy Holidays" being used as a seasonal greeting instead of "Merry Christmas." Here's a typical example from yesterday's LA Times:

Conservative Americans feel ready to push back against "the secularists or the humanists or the elitists" who dominate popular culture, said the Rev. Mark Creech of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, which is based in Raleigh.

"It's a cultural war. We are in the thick of it," Creech said. "It's not so much an attack on us. It's an attack on Christ."

...."There's one group of people who get bullied all the time, and that's Christians," [Pastor Patrick Wooden] said. "I know what it is like to be bullied. It is apartheid in reverse the majority is being bullied by the minority."

Apartheid in reverse! Hell, why not just compare the plight of besieged, persecuted Christians in America to the Holocaust and be done with it?

But that's not what bugs me. I guess I'm used to the bizarre persecution complex of the American Christian right. No, what I want to know is this: how do they spread these memes so damn fast? I mean, liberals are just barely starting to get a smidgen of attention for the proposition that Social Security isn't really in serious trouble a meme that has the advantage of actually being true while the "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" meme has exploded onto front pages around the country (and the world!) in a matter of days.

Don't believe me? A quick Nexis search shows that in just this weekend alone the MC vs. HH issue has been written up in the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Herald, the Akron Beacon Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the London Telegraph, the Tallahassee Democrat, the Arizona Republic, Newsday, the Winnipeg Sun, the Christian Science Monitor, CNN, and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. And that's not counting letters to the editors, jokes, or stuff I missed because I only read the Nexis summary instead of the entire article.

How do they do it? How do they get everyone to pay attention to this nonsense?

And most of all, how do we copy them?

Kevin Drum 6:59 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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