January 13, 2005

The Most Non-Offensive Winter Seasonal Celebration Ever


My wife and I were having dinner with Kristina and Jim, friends of mine from high school, when I realized that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of "South Park", were actually prophets.

Kristina is an elementary school music teacher, and she was recounting the trials of creating a seasonal concert for today's ultra-sensitive PC society. Last year, some of the Christmas songs in the program offended the handful of non-Christian parents. So this year, the verdict came down: No songs dealing with the birth of Jesus.

"Silent Night" or "We Three Kings" are out. However, she could have songs that mention Christmas in general, which means that the line "It's Christmas time in the city" in "Silver Bells" was deemed only marginally offensive in declaring the general season of a holiday. Likewise, "Jingle Bells" was acceptable, referring only to the season of winter. Because there were a few Jewish children in the class, she included one Hanukkah song.

The parents were not satisfied, however. A Jewish mother broke into tears when she saw a poster with a Christmas tree on it in the foyer. Likewise, one "Christian" parent pointed to a Menorah decoration and shouted "What the f*** is THAT doing up on the wall?" After the concert, the parents were complaining in the school office again, even more offended than the year before.

The Christian parents were angry that Christmas songs were banned, but Hanukkah songs were not. Both were religious holidays, so both should have equal treatment. But in these protest-happy days, that doesn't mean tolerating the presence of both religions' holidays and respecting them. No, "Equal Treatment" today just means banning everything across the board. Acknowledging more than one way of life might send the wrong signal to the kids, leading them prepared to deal with (*gasp*) Multiculturalism.

The principal's solution for next year: A holiday concert, with no songs about Christmas or Hanukkah. They can't even call it a "holiday" concert, because it indicates a Holy day, meaning something religious. Santa Claus is also taboo, since he was originally "Saint Nicholas," a Christian Bishop that was known for his generosity to the public. We can't have any of that. This whitewashing of the season will be handled across the board, with no religious-themed decorations being allowed in the school.

Can you imagine an elementary school in December without any holiday decorations? No construction paper Rudolphs on the wall, no fold-and-cut Christmas trees, no coloring book pages with Santa on his sleigh, not even a present with a bow on top. So I ask the question: "What's Left?"

My friend now has the unenviable task of putting together the most non-offensive "seasonal" concert possible, and it will now take place in mid-January. As she spoke this, I had a sense of "Deja Vu", since her experience mirrors the events of the most (in)famous episodes of "South Park" ever, which involves a [nutty] character called "Mr. Hanky".

In the episode, a Jewish mother is offended that the Nativity is included in the school holiday play, so she complains to the mayor. After all the activist groups have their say about what offends them, (mistletoe included), there is nothing left to put in the play, so they have to create a new non-specific holiday--um, SEASONAL tradition. In the end, the only equality that results is that absolutely everyone is unsatisfied and repressed.

When I first saw this, I laughed at its absurdity. Now, I'm not laughing, because we've reached that insane level of political correctness today. Who knew that "South Park" would prove to be a prophecy of things to come? Now I'm afraid that other episodes will come true, and worry about a 50-story "Mecha-Streisand" terrorizing the downtown area.

The world is filled with thousands of cultural and religious traditions that have given our lives comfort and meaning. What makes people think that by abolishing everything that people hold dear, we will be somehow unified and happy? How can we teach tolerance for other cultures in school and then abolish all cultural expressions? The only thing this will accomplish is the demonizing any religious or cultural act. If we keep along this path, where will it end? Can a person put up holiday decorations on his house, if it's viewable on public roads?

We should recognize each culture by population in the community. Put up the Christmas decorations, but if there are people who celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, have a Menorah or a Kinara up as well. This practice was successful until the post-wardrobe-malfunction culture of offense that has evolved over the past few years.

If we can learn anything from "South Park" and my friend's non-offensive seasonal concert, it is this: Equality should be everyone having the same rights, not everyone suffering equally.

1 comment:

  1. Be careful, man. I just shagged a fat, underaged Vietnamese hooker named Ming Li. Is this a sign of things to come?

    ReplyDelete