Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to everyone

As the premier Christian celebration, rivalled only by Easter, when He died/rose from the dad – I mean, the dead (though the dad is not so far from the story!) – it lies near the centre of our religion, our culture, art, music, literature and folklore. Christmas is now understood and observed around the world. Two thousand years ago, who would have imagined it?

Christmas is an event marked not so much by stern faces, authority or rigid ritual, but by merriment. Of all things! Merry Christmas? This is how we greet one another? How wonderful!

That’s something we can join in with without having to bow down before a god or any conception of a god. Without requiring the acceptance of a creed, or supernatural event or spiritual condition or even the existence of any spiritual region, we can greet one another with merriness!! We can be merry! I shall be merry!

In this odd and unexpected rebound from the strictures of the Victorian age, when everything started out so laissez-faire, when we tossed out so many rules, we turned our backs on conventions near and far, and began, as though we were the first to discover sex, to disavow all reasons for resisting its allure, then started drugs with a similar lack of restraint, then turned with our new axe to all the rules wherever they are found, and even called ourselves post-modern, this rebound which has turned so grim, so very grim, so politically correct, so dour, so freedom-less, while the word freedom itself drips oh so regular from everyone’s lips, as we tut-tut the racial words and correct our Maori pronunciation while our English language languishes for lack of learning and we lay complaints of sexism and females are personally offended and males are routinely feared and suspected and ignored and disrespected and why don’t the men take proper care of their women first and then their own children and racial taunts are elevated now above the sexual sins of yesteryear, and never mind the affronted spouse, we don’t refer to anybody’s colour except the white, white skin of the ever-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, ever-selfish white man, Christmas gives a little pressure release valve so we can be merry. I love you all.

The silliest day of them all

The silliest commemoration in the year is the United Nations “International Day of the World’s Indigenous People” (a day of observance but not a holiday).

Anybody thinking? Who is not indigenous to somewhere? So who would this commemoration be for? Anybody thinking? Anyone born off-planet? Anyone?

It’s the International Day of Everyone and Nobody knows it.

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4 Thoughts on “Merry Christmas

  1. Andy on 23/12/2011 at 7:11 am said:

    Happy Christmas to you too Richard

    I did receive one politically correct card, that wished me “Winter Greetings”. Oh well, at least we can laugh.

  2. Merry Christmas RT!!

    A lovely philosphical and insightful piece of prose. Reminds me of the sign on my office door:

    All personnel entering these premises will encounter a thing called freedom of speech.

    • Thank you, Mr Jowsey.
      I do like your notice.
      Our “right” to freedom of speech is commonly given mere lip service (pun intended).
      But it means “so long as I’m not offended, when it must stop.”

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 03/01/2012 at 2:06 pm said:

    Hope the Treadgold Tribe had a merry Christmas RT and best regards for the new year.

    Gareth is looking forward to warming in 2012 (Shapes of things (2012 and all that)):-

    A return to El Niño conditions in the first half of 2012 would boost global average temperatures, and that, coupled with the currently active phase of the 11 year solar cycle, might be enough to push 2012 above 2010 and 2005 for a new record. But more importantly, a return to El Niño would also change the patterns of weather around the world, and with them change the places that experience record extremes

    The “more importantly” element would indicate that Gareth is now very gung-ho on extreme weather and has gone big on it in his post (tinged with a little disappointment but he has managed to extract some consolation):-

    So: 2011 was the year of extremes, beyond any shadow of doubt. Wherever you looked around the world, there were record-breaking floods, heatwaves and hugely damaging extreme weather events. The USA alone had 14 separate extreme weather events with billion dollar plus damage bills (NOAA puts it at 12 with 2 more to finalise, the World Meteorological Organisation plumps for 14). The year broke no records for global average temperature — 2011 will probably end up as the 10th or 11th warmest year in the long term record — but it will be the warmest ever La Niña year.


    So here’s hoping that Gareth’s dreams for the new year will all come true (but not that nasty East Siberian seabed methane surprise):-

    So what do am I looking out for in 2012?

    * More extreme weather events, with a pattern shift if ENSO changes phase.
    * Possible new global temperature record, if El Niño arrives early enough in the year.
    * Continued Arctic sea ice melt (in both volume and area), with a possibility1 of a new record minimum in September.
    * Lots of fine words at the Rio +20 conference in June, but little concrete action. Ditto for COP 18 in Qatar in December.
    * At least one nasty surprise emerging from current research. I hope it isn’t East Siberian seabed methane, but we’ll know more when the papers describing the 2011 Arctic research season are published.

    And a very happy new year for all Hot Topic readers [Hey! that’s us too – cheers Gareth]

    BTW (while we’re in predictive mode), here’s NIWA’s outlook for summer:-

    Temperatures in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Nelson, Marlborough and Buller are forecast to be near average or above average, while rainfall totals, soil moisture levels and river flows are all likely to be in the near normal range.

    Happy new year!

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