Belmont Club

Comfort and Joy

Has Christmas has become a kind of “micro-aggression”? It seems to be bringing out the worst in people.

France is on high alert following a string of inexplicable attacks on civilian crowds. “Authorities said a driver crashed his van into a crowded Christmas market before stabbing himself several times. He is among five people hospitalized in serious condition. Local prosecutor Brigitte Lamy said the incident was an isolated incident and ‘not a terrorist act’, though police investigations were continuing late Monday.”

In Nantes, bystanders ran toward the attacker as he was stabbing himself, said Mohammed Bader Ghegate, one of the witnesses who ended up at the man’s side. Contrary to media reports, Ghegate said the attacker did not say `God is great’ in Arabic.

“I said that to myself: `Allahu Akbar, help us so there is no bloodshed,”‘ Ghegate told The Associated Press….

The Nantes attack came one day after another driver ran down 13 bystanders in the eastern city of Dijon, and two days after Bertrand Nzohabonayo, a 20-year-old recent convert to Islam, knifed two police officers outside the city of Tours before being killed by police.

The Guardian quotes the French prime minister says the country will go on high alert. “Patrols by police and gendarmes will concentrate on areas where there are a lot of people: shopping areas, city and town centers, stations and transport networks.”  It won’t be long before what used to be called Christmas will be too dangerous to celebrate.  It might even be construed as a form of hate speech.

For one lady, it already is.  Latham Hunter writing in the Hamilton Spectator argues that it is almost impossible to escape offense because Christmas is about the ‘patriarchy’, she argues.

It’s impossible to “do” Christmas without running into one patriarchal construct after another. Aside from singing the praises of a man who rules over everything (there really are the most gorgeous choral renditions out there), even the secular Christmas songs are ubiquitous in their praise of male characters: “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and of course, Santa Claus. Santa Claus, a white male who, by the way, gets all the credit for labor overwhelmingly done by women.

Hunter, a professor of communications and cultural studiess, explains it all.  Things will never be the same again. Bet you thought “White Christmas” was an innocent tune.  I’m sure you thought Santa’s “Ho ho ho”  was a laugh.  They’re “dog whistles” all of them.

If there are any gods left in today’s secular world, they all come from the Marvel Universe. Timothy Lee at Vox asks “Did North Korea really hack Sony?”

"Response redirect ..."

“Response.reDirect  … Camel case … Lizard case”

One possible explanation is that North Korea only got involved in the attacks after the initial attack. Perhaps someone totally unconnected to Pyongyang compromised Sony’s network and then sold control and data to the North Korean government. Or perhaps the attack was carried out by a hacker group that sometimes does work for the North Korean government, but North Korea only became directly involved after the initial announcement. That would explain why they seemed to use some of the same tools and infrastructure.

The obvious answer is “no”.  It’s common knowledge that a group calling itself the “Guardians of the Peace” really took down Sony.  Fortunately according to the Daily Beast, today two hacktivist groups  “one, called Lizard Squad” and  another called Gator League” took responsibility for North Korea’s Internet outage.  Christian iconography is dead.  Today Xmas means the X-men, women and transgenders.  Ragnarok is the The Guardians of the Peace vs the Gator League and the Lizard Squad

Aaron Blake notes that even the traditional virtue of generosity has been transformed. Vermont recently announced it would shelve plans to implement a Single-Payer health care system because it would cost as much as all the money the state already raises and spends.  Sarah Kliff at Vox consoles Vermont by noting that half of all countries which attempt single payer fail.

About half of countries who attempt to build single-payer systems fail. That’s Harvard health economist William Hsiao’s estimate after working with about 10 governments in the past two decades. Whether he is in Taiwan, Cyprus, or Vermont, the process is roughly the same: meet with legislators, draw up a plan, write legislation. Only half of those bills actually become law. The part where it collapses is, inevitably, when the country has to pay for it.

It failed because of the lack of money. As Kliff points out it is so much easier for Single Payer to succeed when the country doesn’t have to pay for it. To get around this difficulty, modern charity no longer means one person giving of himself to another. In today’s progressive world charity means giving of somebody else to another.  It means spending the time to lobby someone else to pay for it. Or better yet “let the government pay for it so the taxpayers won’t have to”.

Aaron Blake writes says Generation Z believes that for America to be truly the Land of the Free everything should be free.

Northeastern University last month did a study on what it called “Generation Z” — what it defines as Americans aged 16 to 19 years old. (These generation labels are hardly universal, and this age group is considered to be part of “Millenials” by most, but you get the idea; it’s the people who will be voting in their first presidential election in 2016.)

We’ve written before about how the youngest generations are much more entitlement-minded than their older counterparts. One particular survey showed 51 percent of adults aged 18-24 believe everyone in an athletic competition should get a trophy — not just the winners. …

Well, this new poll from Northeastern U bears out that point. It shows that, among this so-called “Generation Z,” 64 percent believe that government should provide health care to its citizens … free of charge. Just 20 percent disagree — a three-to-one margin. (This group also believes in free college by a 53-30 margin and that anyone should be allowed to become a U.S. citizen, 55-26.)

Which makes sense in a way.  And if the Land of the Free is ever invaded (by the Guardians of the Peace) then maybe we can persuade someone else to defend it too.

One might think that Christmas is doomed with all this hatred, foolishness and delusion abounding. But on the contrary, it was ever thus, whether on the first Christmas as well as 2014 years afterward.  Most Christmases through history were times of woe.  Hardly ever was it a time of actual joy.  Therefore Christmas isn’t about forgetting our troubles. Quite the reverse, it is about remembering them — the hatred in hearts; the straitness of our means; the foolishness of our thoughts. What makes Christmas different is one further thought.  In addition to recalling our plight we were to remember there was  light in the darkness and the darkness would overcome it not.  Hence the words of the patriarchal song: God rest ye merry gentlemen. Let nothing ye dismay.

Tidings then, of comfort and joy. Merry Christmas from the Belmont Club and from somewhere over the Bifrost from Mr. and Mrs. Gator and all the Lizards in Asgard.

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