‘Tis the season to be careful what you say…Fa la la la la

So, today I would like to talk about a massively contradictory double standard here in the US.

As you may know, in the US it’s a cultural ‘no-no’ to say something that omits or discriminates a particular race, religion, sex (or sexes, depending on which one (or ones) you identify with), or if it discriminates based on fashion, wealth, political leaning, car, shoes, hair, ….actually I think i’m making some of this up, but you get my point.

In a nutshell, we should all be talking like this….apparently:

So with this in mind, it’s fashionable to say “Happy Holidays” in the US rather than “Merry Christmas” because it’s considered offensive to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ if they’re not a Christian/Catholic/Mormon etc.

But is that really true, or are we implying that other cultures aren’t tolerant?

Who knows?1

But I can tell you one thing, I am NOT touching a religious debate with a barge pole. Oh, wait, that’s probably offensive to people who aren’t familiar with that saying…or to people who drive barges, or to those who don’t.

Wait, do you drive a barge? Or do you sail one?

(Awkward pause)

Either way, I’m not touching this with a barge pole / Christmas tree / Driedel / Kinara.

Is…is that better? Seems a bit of a mouthful. (Insert penis joke here…..and also insert ‘insert penis’ joke here too)

I suppose it’s the same as people wishing me a “Happy Thanksgiving” or “Happy 4th of July” when I’m English and don’t celebrate them. Oh, I get SO offended! I can’t believe that people have the audacity to….nah, i’m fucking with you, I don’t care.

I recognise that Thanksgiving is a thing at the end of November, like Christmas and Kwanzaa is a thing at the end of December and Hanukkah is a thing around the same time as the other things I just mentioned; it’s all a bit confusing if i’m honest. But just because I don’t celebrate these holidays, that doesn’t mean others can’t wish me good tidings at their belief’s time of year; good for them! I appreciate the gesture because it’s NOT ABOUT ME!

Anyway….

This post wasn’t intended to be a rant at the ‘I’m offended’ culture (as much fun as that is), but more of an observation of a massively contradictory double standard around this time of year, hence the opening sentence.

So, we say “Happy Holidays” to avoid offending those who don’t celebrate Christmas, but apparently we’re OK with:

  • Christmas decorations in the shops (stores).
  • Christmas decorations adorning homes everywhere.
  • Christmas trees for sale.
  • Christmas music on the radio.
  • Christmas imagery2 EVERYWHERE, including lots of pictures of Santa, Reindeer, Elves, Snowmen (sorry, SnowPEOPLE), snow, Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe, and all that stuff directly linked and relevant to the birth of Jesus.
  • Christmas foods.
  • Ugly Christmas jumpers (sweaters).
  • Christmas lights, inside and outside.
  • Christmas hats with antlers, Christmas trees, holly and all the same Christian imagery from before.

It’s all a load of bull……dog

And, above all, a lot of workers get the day off on Christmas Day! Although i’m sure the non-Christmas folk out there insist on going into work that day instead of taking a paid day off with their families.

But that’s OK, because it’s our right to celebrate Christmas as long as we don’t do it openly.

What a farce.

By the way, if you go to somewhere like Greenland and see a reindeer, is that considered offensive?

Food for thought.

Unless you’re offended by food.

Merry Christmahanakwanzika everyone! (I really wish I’d made that word up….sigh)

1 – We know

2 – Not a single image of the Holiday Armadillo I’ve noticed. Sorry Ross.

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No offense. Oh….wait….

As some of you will know, the over-censorship of media and entertainment in America really pisses me off.

I’m not a child.  I can handle the word ‘fuck’ in a movie filled with uncensored (and apparently child friendly) blood, gore, guts and violence.

Well, this morning as I drove into work I heard censorship on the radio that pushed censorship (and me) to the next level.

It happened during the song, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic At The Disco; it’s a great song with an incredibly catchy chorus.

The beginning of that chorus goes:

‘I chime in with a “Haven’t you people ever heard of closing the goddamn door?!”

No, it’s much better to face these kinds of things with a sense of poise and rationality’.

Guess which word was censored?

Yep, that’s right, the word ‘Goddamn’ was censored. The irony of that second line of lyrics was most definitely lost here.

I love this song, but the joy of singing along was ruined.

You see, in America religion is a big deal and it’s so easy to offend people.  I knew this was the case before coming in, but I had no idea it was this bad.  The phrase “went to church” comes up in more conversations than I’m comfortable with and a lot of my new friends here in the States are very religious.

This is something I have tended to find out when they casually mention going to church or they post something ‘God-ish’ on Facebook.  When this happens I get a real sense of dread because I have to think back over every conversation we’ve ever had.

Did I say something blasphemous or offensive?

Have I made jokes about God or Jesus?

Did I sacrifice that goat in front of them?

In fact, not 10 minutes ago, this very subject came up at work (not instigated by me, I hasten to add) and one of my colleagues said, “I swear a lot.  I use ‘Fuck’, ‘Shit’, ‘Asshole’ and all that, but if I use GD or JC, then you KNOW I’m pissed!”.

It took me a moment to figure out what she meant by GD and JC.  She couldn’t even bring herself to say the words.

To her, saying ‘God Damn’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ is worse than saying ‘Fuck’.

What the Goddamn?

Is it me, or does that seem a bit fucked…er, I mean, ‘Jesus-Christed’ up?  This would go some way towards explaining why the word ‘Goddamn’ was edited out of the song this morning.

A few months ago I said ‘Goddamn it’ at work and got told to watch my language.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was being scolded like a 7 year old by a woman I have heard swear numerous times.

I’ve even started to replace “Oh my God” with “Oh my goodness”.  I hate that I’ve started doing this.

But people here are way too sensitive, and the entertainment business knows this.  Out of fear of being sued,they’re pandering to the masses by censoring the shit out of television.

Unless the customer is paying for it of course.

Netflix anyone?

Nothing on Netflix is censored and I hear it’s a popular service[1].

So, is America OK with bad language, blasphemy and sexual content when they’re charged a premium?  Apparently so.

My wife pays a yearly subscription for something called XM radio in her car.  It’s pricey, but there’s little to no censorship.  It really expands the selection of music they play as they can air otherwise unplayable tracks and, being a premium service, there are no Goddamn, Jesus Christing commercials.

When it comes to TV, the UK have it right with censorship.  Everything is the same as the US until 9pm.  Well, I SAY it’s the same, but that’s not strictly true; they don’t play violent action movies on a Sunday afternoon when kids can see it.  But apparently it’s OK for kids to see heads being chopped off and people being riddled with bullets, as long as there’s no sign of a nipple or someone saying ‘Goddamn it’.

violent tv kids

At 9pm (or the ‘watershed’ as it’s called) it is assumed that your delicate little snowflakes are all tucked up in bed.  After that, it’s the parents’ responsibility to manage what their kids watch.

At 9pm, all bets are off.  The only word that is bleeped out is the word ‘Cunt’.

Sorry; ‘the C word’.

After 9pm, TV is for adults and if you’re easily offended, change the channel.

blasphemy

 

[1] Sarcasm, in case you didn’t realise it.