[11:00] jxxxxxxxxx Hxxxxxxxxx: all this happy winter holiday....what does that mean
[11:00] Sxxxxx Sxxxxx: it's WINTER
While accurate, that wasn't the main point. What sir lives-in-a-cowboy-hat meant was that everyone should wish everyone a Merry Christmas, specifically, because to do otherwise was offensive. To Christians, one would suppose, even though in Caledon--and on the wider grid as well--there are members of virtually any faith one can comprehend. I know for certain fact that there are many Jewish residents in the Realm of Roses, many pagan residents--of varying "denominations", though that's not really accurate when speaking of larger paganity--and we have a fair scattering of Latter-Day Saints, of Catholics, of Jehovah's Witnesses, of Muslims, and other faiths less well known. We have atheists in Caledon, and we even have one fellow who staunchly believes in Superman, the risen Son of Krypton.
[11:00] Rxx Sxxxxxxx: We still refer to it as Yule in Scandinavia.
[11:00] jxxxxxxxxx Hxxxxxxxxx: so we don't upset a raghead or two
And this single statement, friends and neighbors, wholly perplexed the Caledonians present, and those listening in from farther away, for a good two hours after it was stated by Mr. my-God-I-lurve-horses.
The official definition of "raghead" for the uninitiated:
rag·head derogatory, pejorativeIf you've never seen a turban, or keffiyeh, let me provide examples:Term used in derogation of Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs, and other groups who traditionally wear headdress forms such as a turban, keffiyeh or headscarf.
|(from the random album; Maeed wearing the keffiyeh, as seen on his blog.)|
|(from the random album; Daler Mehndi, pop bhangra singer from India, in a Sikh turban. Picture originally published by the India Times.)|
|(from the random album; sales photo of a sumayya scarf, or hijab, taken from Alibaba.com.)|
There are also some astounding pictures taken by Eric Lafforgue, renowned international photographer, here and on his site, that depict varying forms of keffiyeh, and headscarves and hijabs in general, on women and men in a multitude of countries.
I would point out, especially in the case of certain Americans who are using it specifically as a designating racial slur, that they almost always are using it to refer (and nearly exclusively) to men. But some do expand it to include anyone who might wear any variant of head covering that they think is anti-Christian, regardless of gender.
In the broadest sense, it is a typical insult of its kind: in one two-syllable word, the speaker both insults and denigrates, with added nuances that imply the "raghead" so discussed is also unintelligent, unwashed, and animalistic in nature, thus "lesser" in all important ways, than the speaker. (What's morbidly amusing for me is that I don't think any Arabic or Muslim country has melted any portion of another country into glass with a nuclear bomb...but Americans have. Yet this term implies broadly that "ragheads" cannot be trusted, partially because of the implied tendencies towards violence. Curious indeed.)
[11:00] Zxxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: technically in the [southern] hemisphere its a summer holiday
[11:00] jxxxxxxxxx Hxxxxxxxxxd: lolol
[11:02] jxxxxxxxxx Hxxxxxxxxx: well i ain't in Scandinavia...i'm in Texas...so it's Happy Christmas....take that as you will
[11:02] Zxxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Ain't it the third night of Hanakkuh come sundown?
[11:02] Cxxxx Bxxxxxx: eet eez.
The beauty of religion, in this sense, is that some of the dates overlap, and thus, in the most expansive sense, can be "shared", so to speak. Witness:
- Bodhi Day: Generally on 8 December; Buddhist day celebrating the enlightenment achieved by Siddhartha Gautama.
- Yule: also Wintertide, Winter Solstice, Jul, and others; refers to celebrations of varying types to celebrate the longest night of the year. Lights are lit, feasts are held, gifts are exchanged, and, depending on the community, there are other traditions (the Julbock, for instance, who used to bring gifts in many Scandinavian countries).
- Hanukkah: Winter celebration of the victory of the Maccabees over King Antiochus; the eight days that the celebration runs honor each of the eight days that the one-day supply of purified ritual oil lasted, when the Maccabees had captured the Temple and begun to drive out the Greeks.
- Christmas: the celebration at the end of December to honor Christ's birth, exchange gifts, hang lights to stave off darkness, and worship in community.
- Kwanzaa: the (relatively) new celebration of African heritage, designed to honor and support African Americans specifically, their ancestors, and the trials suffered and survived.
- Eid el Adha, the remembrance of the sacrifice: Also known as the "solemn festival", remembering the commandment from Allah to Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, who was spared through Ibrahim's faith, and exchanged for a sheep. Cows, sheep, goats, and even camels are chosen to be sacrificed formally, in holy, consecrated ways, and the animals sacrificed are then thirded: one-third of the meat is kept to feed the sacrificing family; one-third goes to the holy men who have blessed the proceedings, and their families; and the last third is traditionally given to the poor, so that everyone can be fed and cared for.
- Festivus: A secular, non-commercial holiday, that regardless, has caught on with many celebrants who felt excluded by the commercial aspects of Christmas as currently celebrated. Festivus features an absolutely undecorated steel pole (for the Festivus pole needs no other decoration), and two main themes: the airing of family grievances (because honesty is a virtue, even when it's a pain in the ass), and feats of strength (the feats of strength traditionally only end when the head of the household has been officially pinned and thus concedes).
- Las Posadas: A nine-day festival in Mexico commemorating Miriam and Ioseph struggling to find lodging, the night of Yeshua's birth.
- Boxing Day: Celebrated in the British Isles, this was an after-Christmas celebration where gifts were given to servants and to the poor, and feasts and celebrations were held with friends and family who did not live in the immediate vicinity. Currently, the day also features horse races, rugby matches, and grand shopping adventures.
[11:02] Sxxxxx Sxxxxx: Mr Hxxxxxxxxx, there are people of all faiths in SL - while "winter holiday" is perhaps a bit generic, it IS inclusive - not just the christian Christmas, but also the jewish Chanuka and other seasonal holidays as well
[11:03] Rxx Sxxxxxxx: I dunno. Today is the winter solstice, in a couple of days is the old pagan holiday repurposed by Christians.
[11:03] Cxxxx Bxxxxxx: but it excludes the southern hemisphere ;)
[11:04] jxxxxxxxxx Hxxxxxxxxx: well if they are of diff. faiths...it won't mean anything to them
And this was the second place where many residents in and out of Caledon headtilted. First, did he really mean that everyone should say Merry Christmas over other (one assumes equally heartfelt) wishes, simply because if they're not Christian, then it won't hurt, and second, because Christians are really that touchy?
(Actually, strike that last, I've seen FOX News, some are that touchy.)
And the other point that arose was the seeming inference that if they did not, themselves, celebrate Christmas, then obviously their seasonal celebrations didn't matter, and so they should wish everyone Merry Christmas anyway, because their own faiths were meaningless.
That last one is a very sore point for some, to be sure, but it's also baffling--why would Mr. never-ever-ever-leaving-Texas-because-it's-the-bestest-state-in-the-world want to alienate that many people? Maybe it was just that he really didn't care. Insensitivity, after all, thy name is (in large portion) America...
[11:04] Zxxxxxxx Wxxxxxx: Heck Christmas is a SECULAR holiday. It must be since the US govt observes it, if it were religious in nature then it would run afoul of the Establishment clause of the 1st Ammendment and we would have to deliver mail on Dec 25th
As is known by now, to anyone who adds up the letters given, I don't normally agree with this individual. Therefore, it should come as a great surprise that I absolutely agree with him here, and I never thought about it that way. Because considering the (daily eroding) separation of church and state in the US, were it a religious holiday, the government would be barred from celebrating it. So--while many celebrations privately are held on the same day, in churches and in homes--the day of Christmas, the 25th, at least in America, must no longer have any connection to a religious figure.
There's a mental stunner for you.
[11:04] Sxxxxx Sxxxxx: I generally prefer "seasons greetings" or similar, taking into account the [hemisphere]
[11:04] Yxxxx Bxxxxxxx: Yes it is Day 3 of Hanukkah!
[11:05] jxxxxxxxxx Hxxxxxxxxx: ok......sorry i wished all of you a Happy Christmas.....i won't be doing it again
See, I still don't think Mr. take-my-cowboy-boots-when-I'm-dead-you-varmints really understands. It's not that he offended a wide subsection of Caledon with his ill-considered statements (though he did). And it's not that Caledon as a whole is trying to insist that he be politically correct, whatever that means at this point in time.
It's that his very insistence that everyone wish each other a Merry Christmas, and nothing else, in a clearly multicultural as well as international virtual world, just. Does. Not. Work.
[11:06] Yxxxx Bxxxxxxxxx: Why Mr Hxxxxxxxxx I think that is the beauty of a world of diversity.
[11:06] Rxx Sxxxxxxx: Will we be allowed to wish you a happy new year, or is there some special Christian version of that too?
So I admit, I got curious. I looked him up. His groups, man...Well, here:
- Texas Rangers
- 1st Recon USMC
- ARMOURY WAREHOUSE
- Co. A Texas Rangers
- Corse GP Racing
- FLEET MARINE FORCE
- H********* Ranch
- Hollywood Airport Pilots Assn.
- Independent State of Caledon
- Joyus Living
- Second Skies
- SECONDLIFE RACERS
- Texas 1800's
- The Comancheros
- The road to Deadwood
- WILDER WEST (AIRCRAFT CARRIER)
- ~Amaretto Rance~ Breedables
So...other than my personal, abhorrently violent desire to light him on fire and swerve him onto a railcar, to ride off in a merry glow out of Caledon forever, what did he gain by this diatribe early this morning? Really, it depends on whom you ask. For many of us, it made him a figure to watch, and perhaps be wary of further conversations with. Others found him morbidly amusing. Still others were baffled--I had to explain to one genteel lass, for instance, what "raghead" meant as an insult, which is why I'm also defining it here.
I suppose, in the end, there's no accounting for bigotry or intelligence; to be more plain, both the stupid and the religiously deranged can likely figure out enough of how renting on the grid works to rent anywhere. I just personally wish he wasn't renting in Caledon, precisely because we do have such a diverse community, and--until his untimely placement of his pointy-toed boot into his wide-open mouth--for the most part we seem to have hit another peaceful patch where the only arguments are happening at events, in person, over in Caledon chat.
So much for that. Here's to the New Year to come: may 2012 be filled with far less ignorance and religious intolerance. Ramen.