Modern day American Christmas is unfortunately saddled with a common modern day American gift: War. More specifically, the “War on Christmas.” (Fox News)
The war is fought on many fronts, with battles over verbal greetings, public manger displays, coffee cups, trees, Black Friday sales, tradition, climate change (there was a 70 degree December day in Ohio last week, but first blizzard and out come the “so much for global warming” idiots), Santa, Black Santas, Jesus, Black Jesus, Krampus, and whether or not “Christmas Vacation” is the best movie in the series. It is, but that’s not the point.
The extreme conservative right part of this country loves it some war.
A large part of this country… nah screw it, I’ll say it; The extreme conservative right part of this country LOOOOOOOOVES it some war. So much so that the GOP should have Oprah host their next convention and tell everyone to look under their seats while she jumps around yelling and pointing “You get a war, and you get a war, everybody gets a war!!!!”
The only group that loves it more is the medi… nah screw it, I’ll say it; Fox News and other fanatical right wing idiots that use it as their bread and butter, like that blubbering douche on YouTube that made the stink about this year’s Starbucks coffee cups not saying “Merry Christmas,” even though they never have. Forget the fact that you’ll find Christmas displays, decorations, and music everywhere this time of year, so a “War on Christmas” is pure nonsense. What really jingles my bells is the blatant contradictory disposition of the whole “War on Christmas” when you consider the religious teachings the holiday in question is based around.
How is it that, as an atheist, I get the meaning of the holiday but its self appointed boots-on-the ground defenders don’t?
They’ll claim that we’ve lost our way, or that we have taken God out of everywhere, and the “War on Xmas” (try passing that abbreviation off) is just another liberal attempt at destroying America. The truth is much simpler. THEY’VE forgotten one of the most important values our nation was founded on and a pretty common meme these days: Be nice to people and don’t be a dick.
- If someone tells me Merry Christmas, even though I’m a godless heathen, I know they’re just wishing me well and being nice. So I say it back because I want people to be happy and I want to be nice.
- If I responded with indignation and perpetuate the idea of the angry atheist by arguing that it is really a pagan holiday that’s been commercialized by corporate America and no longer has anything to do with Jesus, then I’m just being a dick.
- If Donald Trump goes into Target to buy a sewing kit for his Muslim ID patches and the clerk says “happy holidays” because, in a crazy scheme to turn a profit, Target decided to acknowledge the multiple holidays celebrated by their diverse customer base this time of year, they’re just being nice.
- If he reacts by demanding the clerk give him the greeting of his choice and declares that he will be President and someday everyone will say “Merry Christmas,” then he’s just being a dick.
I was religious longer than I’ve been an atheist. I’ve celebrated many Christmases and still do, just a little differently. For me it is a happy time of year to celebrate family, friends, and the dream of a world filled with peace and love. It was never meant to be used as a tool for political gain or for profit. It is sad that the people who claim to be religious the loudest in their defense against the “War on Christmas” don’t seem to know what any of it is about. A greeting is just a greeting. No person’s rights are infringed upon if somebody gives you a greeting or wishes you well just because they don’t do it the way you want them to. They are just being nice and you are just being a dick if you view it any other way.
Certainly none of these things constitute a war or an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas. No person is being prevented from celebrating Christmas. And yeah, I know, displays on public property blah blah blah. That’s another subject that could use a couple of thousand words. However, the fact that a simple well intended greeting can be used to pollute a joyful time of year with fear, anger, and hate is embarrassing and shameful.
Ironically, this same crowd constantly whines about the nation becoming overly “PC” and being too easily offended, yet they get offended by “Happy Holidays?” Cmon man.
If the fanatical right is REALLY interested in putting Christ back in Christmas and keeping it pure, it’s pretty simple. Be nice to people and stop being dicks. Definitely don’t be Donald Trump.
Comic Fans: Geek out with Cartoonist Kayfabe
Comics have come a long way since they were just for kids – and anyway, those kids have grown up and rightfully embrace it as an artform. Cartoonish Kayfabe expertly walk you through the finer points of comic creation and appreciation, referencing some high quality images along the way. If you’re a comic geek, you will dig it – especially if you’re into 90’s era and independent comics.
Chadwick Boseman Forever!!
It is clear that Chadwick Boseman chose iconic roles like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Black Panther with deliberate intent and for a specific purpose. In an age where positive roles for Black actors is often sparse, Chadwick managed to land and portray historical figures that made most respect his talents if not revel in his ability to transition effortlessly for one character to another. Even I had to give his African accent a solid B+ (It’s the highest grade the Nigerian Standards Bureau can give for an African accent to a non African FYI.)
Holding out and preparing for these dynamic roles came with both great frustration and incredible resolve I’m certain. Not to mention the taxing ordeal of battling Colon Cancer as the grueling scheduling of filming and increasing responsibility for positive representation loomed. Even under extreme duress, Chadwick’s commitment to others appeared to outweigh his own tribulations, unbeknownst to us all.
Black Panther may have been just a movie to some and that may be because some can easily rattle off 10 movies with a king of non Af-Am origin. It represented a lot more to others. Albeit imagined, imagery on cinema often accomplishes more to augment the social narrative and society itself than actual reality. If negative stereotypes influence perception then positive ones absolutely have the same converse effect.
Even in jest, the cultural misappropriation of raisins in potato salad on SNL skits directly spoke to the tampering of black culture to which T’challa championed, represented and aptly responded “Oh hell Nah Karen!”
If you don’t understand the relevance of representation, it’s probably because you are thoroughly represented. After all, no one is ever grateful for every breath they take until they are gasping for air.
R.I.P Chadwick Boseman. Thank you for breathing life into the possibility of Black excellence.
10 Easter Eggs of Segregation in Lovecraft Country Episode 1
We’re all familiar with movies hiding easter eggs throughout their films sending winks and nods to pop-culture references. Sometimes it will be a tip-of-the-cap to an author, actor, or creator. Sometimes it is paying homage to an inspiring series, book, or film that’s near and dear to the director’s heart. This week I’ve seen a first. A T.V. series that has several easter eggs depicting segregation and oppression that only eagle-eyed aficionado’s of the black struggle might have caught on to.
Lovecraft Country is littered with important details that would fly over many people’s heads, and as I watched it again, I caught more nods to the true oppression of many African-Americans during the post-World War II era.
As a film buff, nothing makes me happier than watching a review, breakdown, or hidden easter egg video on a TV show I enjoy. Yesterday I did the same with Lovecraft Country, and while many of the melanin-deficient reviewers on youtube touched on the themes of literature, horror, and fantasy, many understandably missed some of the most important historical references.
Here are 10 Easter Eggs of Segregation in Lovecraft Country Episode 1.
1. H.P. Lovecraft’s little poem.
While we all know H.P. Lovecraft as an innovator of modern horror, fiction, and fantasy in literature, many people (including myself) didn’t know about a poem he wrote that spoke horribly about African Americans. Lovecraft Country alludes to the poem, but never recites it. Once they mentioned the title, I went straight to my Google Search. Below is the poem called: On the Creation of N*****s (1912)
When, long ago, the gods created Earth
In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
Yet were they too remote from humankind.
To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
Th’Olympian host conceived a clever plan.
A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
Filled it with vice, and called the thing a N****r.
I’m sure Jackie Robinson beating the S**T out of Cthulhu at the beginning of the episode was a collective middle finger from the black community to Mr. Lovecraft.
2. Seating for Black People
While this may not come as a surprise to many of you, a lot of people are ignorant to the fact that, yes, black people were made to sit in the back of the bus. Many know the story of Rosa Parks’ defining moment, but for decades this was the way of life for black people. Where insult to injury is predicated in the show is when the bus breaks down and the bus driver gets a local pick-up truck driver to ride the stranded passengers into the city. Immediately in the next scene, the only two black passengers were seen walking down the road into Chicago.
3. Propaganda for the Negro Soldier
In Lovecraft Country, the above poster is not shown in this episode, but instead, it’s a black soldier telling other young black men that if they enlist, they can see the world. While Atticus walks by the soldier, there’s a glance of recognition as if Atticus was once one of those impressionable young men, and he knows their being lied to. Black men had to be enticed to enlist by different methods than whites because it was hard to show patriotism to a country that still to that day had kept them oppressed. So, they would show a poster of Joe Louis joining the fight…why don’t you? Get to see the world! Little did they know seeing the world would involve PTSD, death, and despair.
4. The Negro Motorist Greenbook
The synopsis according to IMDB.com is: “Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Black as he joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father.” While this is true, it’s not the whole story. Why are they embarking on this trip? It’s to help update what many people may know as, The Negro Motorist Greenbook. Yup, just like the movie, The Greenbook. If you don’t know, this book was originated by Victor Hugo Green as a travel bible for African Americans. It provided details of safe roads to travel, places for food, repairs, and lodging where they wouldn’t be turned away or even worse, assaulted.
5. James Baldwin’s monologue on racial divide
During one of the scenes in Lovecraft Country, we see a montage of our protagonist’s road trip. In the montage we see different moments where they face discrimination, others facing discrimination, and the hardships of ignorant people with all the privilege in the world monopolizing on their entitlements. Usually, during movie montages, a composer would play a score to envoke emotions during the collection of scenes. Lovecraft Country went in a different direction. Instead, they played the monologue of James Baldwin’s renowned speech at Cambridge University where he debated with William Buckley on the subject of the United States racial divide. James Baldwin was a brilliant playwright, novelist, speaker, and activist that eloquently described the plight of the black man as it still stands today. Merged with the scenes during the montage, it speaks volumes about the state of America.
6. Ice Cream stand Scene
In one of the scenes in the montage, we see a black man and his children waiting at an ice cream stand for service. Right over them is a sign that says “colored” and on the other side of the stand is a group of white people with ice cream being tended to by the servers. This scene looked extremely familiar to me. When I did some research, I realized this scene was based on a famous photograph by Gordon Parks, photographer and journalist who well-documented scenes of the segregation and civil rights era. Years ago I saw his work in its full brilliant quality at the High Museum in Atlanta. The color and detail brought a realism that a black-and-white photo could never do. It made this a real thing.
7. Mother and daughter under the neon sign
This scene once again pays homage to another photograph by Gordon Parks. A mother and her daughter dressed elegantly as if they were going to church, standing under a large neon sign that says ‘Colored Entrance’.
8. The billboard across from the gas station
While Atticus and company are at a gas station filling up their car, they are approached by a gas station attendant pretending to be a gorilla to mock them. Leticia holds Atticus back from approaching the man as the attendant intensifies his ignorant behavior and she forces Atticus into the car. As they pull off, you can see a Billboard for Aunt Jemima in the background. Aunt Jemima has always been a misrepresentation of black culture through the lens of the white man and advertised to his fellow man as the overall perception of black people. The image of Aunt Jemima is a source reflection of the learned behavior of the gas station attendant.
9. Sundown towns
Two years ago was the first time I’ve ever heard of a Sundown Town. No, not through a history book, but as a warning about staying too late in a little town in Texas that exists today! If I didn’t hear about this first hand, I would’ve thought it was a theme of the past, but no. There are currently county’s that do not condemn the abuse of black people once the sun goes down! While the billboard here might be a relic from the past, Sundown Towns are definitely alive and well across America!
10. White walls
Not only is this one telling, but it also holds all kinds of subliminal messages. While the group finds a Green book safe haven for dining called Lydia’s, they are surprised to find the restaurant is now called, Simmonsville Dinette. Still, they walk in and are greeted by unwelcoming faces. While the server goes to the back for what seems like their coffee orders, Atticus realizes that the walls are painted white. He asks his uncle to remind him why the white house was white. His uncle tells him about the war of 1812 when British soldiers torched it and when slaves were tasked to rebuild it, they had to paint it white to cover up the burn marks. This tells us two things. Lydia’s restaurant was burnt down and rebuilt by trespassers (obviously for being a safe haven for blacks in this all-white town) and the blackness of this restaurant was erased and covered up by the ‘white’ paint. My goodness, I could go on and on about this one!
I was expecting this series to be littered with easter eggs, but knowing they have incorporated easter eggs specifically about the black movement and struggles has me fired up to see what else is in store for these characters. Did you see any easter eggs that I missed? Comment and let me know.
Op Ed6 months ago
Let’s Argue About Kamala Harris
Article5 months ago
10 Easter Eggs of Segregation in Lovecraft Country Episode 1
Music1 month ago
Self-Serving Interview with Electronic Device Does Little to Advance Musician’s Career
Article5 months ago
Chadwick Boseman Forever!!
Op Ed2 months ago
November 16th – Trump Wins!
Music2 months ago
McCartney III is Coming Up!
Music2 months ago
Elvis Costello Hey Clockface
Op Ed3 weeks ago
Reluctant to get the Vaccine?