A decision not to put a Christmas tree in a Dedham branch library has turned into the sort of brouhaha you don't normally expect to see in a quaint Massachusetts town, or Dedham, for that matter.
Truth be told, Christmas trees in public places have become so "de-Christmased" anyway that it's barely an issue whether there is a tree or not. They just don't look "Christmas-y". They have all blue and purple ornaments, or other seemingly incongruous design.They look very businesslike. It all started, of course, with the now obligatory "all white lights everywhere" motif, which is decidedly unfestive.
Why aren't they being displayed in June then, if they're just a decoration?
People don’t display pumpkins is July.
Because pumpkins aren't ripe in July? I don't think that applies to trees ...
Irrespective of their pagan origins or 19th-20th century Christianization, trees on their way to becoming about as significant, culturally or religiously, as pumpkins displayed in October.
Regardless of their origin or secularization, they are definitely culturally significant to those who do not celebrate Christmas in any way, shape, or form. And obviously they are very culturally significant to many who do celebrate Christmas, even if it's in a more secular way - if they weren't, people wouldn't make such a fuss about not having one.
This is exactly the kind of story I normally expect to see these days in a quaint, Massachusetts town. Or any town in the U.S. Sigh.
In the "or Dedham." It's like if I said, in reference to your comment, "I wouldn't expect such a comment from a person of good breeding," pause, "or you."
Adam, you secretly from Needham? Dover?
Might as well accuse me of being from Lincoln or Weston. Forsooth!
I'm from Brooklyn. In a just world that wouldn't make a difference, but when you say "New York," everyone assumes Manhattan.
So for shame!
who reached out to a certain local blogger (his name will remain unspoken) to intimidate and dox library staff and anyone else who supported the director.
Granted it was a policy decision which could have been addressed across a table in a more appropriate and professional manner.
The milage this kerfluffle has gotten is rather perverse. One night time talk show host Thursday demanded the resignation of the town's select board based on a letter that went out from them expressing concern for the online bullying that was happening as a result of the controversy. For an hour the show aired calls from the anti woke while never reaching out to the other side for any balance.
If you see a pattern to this you're not alone; Jesse Waters, Daily Mail, NY Post.
They don't care if the controversy makes the town looks ridiculous as long as they get airtime to rant about their perceived attack on Anglo Christian Values and Western Civilization.
Merry Christmas indeed.
From what I read it started with a post from a well respected librarian of 30 years and went sideways when some nutcase lost her shit, said some vile things and resigned from some feel good commission.
The blog you referenced post about something that already happened. It didn’t create it.
And The Daily Beast off your conspiracy list.
Needs to be reminded how to deescalate a simple request on social media to restore the tree before escalating into foul mouth threats attacking those who support Christmas traditions.
It was one member of the commission expressing a rather heated opinion as a private citizen. Next day she realized her mistake (how often do you see that?) and resigned her position without any prompting.
She wrote it while acknowledging she wouldn't "survive whatever sanctions you'll ask the select board to put on my participation in commissions..."
Nothing says Christmas like the angry refusal to make a compromise with people of other traditions and beliefs.
Your comment supports the librarian who made the initial post and called for just that.
Twilight Zone episode with Claude Aikins, 1960, watch it and all will be revealed!
Or...(spoiler alert!) here's Rod Serling's closing monologue: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices... to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill... and suspicion can destroy... and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own—for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."
Culture war is nothing new. McCarthy et al. saw lots of political mileage in creating fake but damning controversy. Charles Coughlin, American Firsters, all earlier warriors of culture war.
Creating controversy, angering people for the sake of getting people angry is an old but perpetually effective schtick. It makes money, garners power and satisfies people who worship wealth and power.
As opposed to a nonlocal resident.
'Tis the season.
It all began when Lisa Desmond, one of the library’s branch supervisors, wrote a Facebook post claiming she was told that a tree wouldn’t be put up this season because a local resident said it made them uncomfortable last year. “I’m not feeling very positive today,” Desmond wrote on Dec. 2, along with a photo of the tree from last December. “Please bring Christmas back to my beautiful library.”
Someone at the supervisor level shouldn't be posting publicly like that, stirring up a ruckus. It says something that her Christmas spirit is so fragile that it can't survive not having a Christmas tree at her place of work.
Time for some people to think about how they'd feel if they lived someplace where the majority holiday was something they and everywhere they went they saw decorations and were barraged by music for that holiday and nothing (or just something token) for Christmas. Because that's what November and December are like for non-Christians. I thought compassion was supposed to be a Christian virtue, but Christmas seems to bring out the worst in people who resent being reminded that there are many people who don't celebrate their favorite holiday.
Said a certain flag which is plastered in every public space (not the US flag) made her uncomfortable, should it be removed?
Also, she’s still an employee regardless of her title. Are you anti worker or just anti her because you don’t agree.
@eeka - that description is so perfect!
That's a very interesting piece, but it doesn't seem in any way anti-Christian or anti-Christmas tree in a public place or anything of that nature. Rather the EXCESSES of the Christmas holiday. The writer says it goes on for "two months", but around here it goes on for far longer than that. I know many Christians who feel the same way about the excesses of the merchants.
So one xmas tree is not being installed in a public building, while several others are being installed in public spaces, including one steps from that building's door. Clearly, we're sliding down a slippery slope to persecution of Xtians!
Personally, I think libraries can make much better use of their limited space and time than erecting a religious shibboleth every winter.
Will the Satanists demand equal representation?
Christmas, like Halloween, the 4th of July, etc. has become a largely secular American holiday. While the origin is religious, for much of the public, Christmas has little spiritual significance.
If I were living in Egypt, I wouldn't expect people to not observe Ramadan or Eid because I do not. I wouldn't expect to see Diwali ignored in India. Like it or not, Christmas is part of secular American culture. One of the most iconic American songs for the holiday was written by a Russian-American Jew.
When you move somewhere else, you should understand that you adapt to the local culture and not the other way around.
Ignoring all the rest of your comment, it is completely wrong to imply that everyone who belongs to a non-Christian religion has moved here and needs to "adapt to the local culture". There are many Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc. who were born here and many whose parent were born here. We are Americans. Our cultures are part of American culture.
Because Christmas as it is celebrated in the United States has become a secular holiday, rather than a religious one -- just as Halloween has also become a secular celebration. When Christian groups feel compelled to remind people that "Jesus is the reason for the season" you know that a large part of the American public just doesn't see the holiday as being a Christian thing. Christmas trees are pretty much borrowed from pre-Christian solstice observances in Europe anyway.
Adapting to the local culture doesn't mean one must give up religious traditions or cultural practices, but it does mean one cannot expect the rest of the public to give up its traditions as well.
You've taken the context you hoped to provide with this comment and spun it wildly to serve your own point.
Egypt has a state religion - Islam. Of course the government espouses and recognizes the holidays of this religion. India and the US are constitutionally secular nations and should, ideally, behave in a dramatically different fashion with regard to endorsement of religious iconography.
This situation is about historic government endorsement of the the private practice of religion, and the vitriolic pushback that Christians feel entitled to as part of their history ruling American culture. The argument that there is no grounds to remove the tree because it's a "secular American holiday" is a total falsehood. It is clear that the players on both sides of this story were a poor display of communication, but to jump to stating that people "must adapt to local culture" in a conversation about Christianity in a Boston suburb in 2022 is... really absurd.
I interpret that to mean local resident wanted to impose their will on the community and used the cry of "I'm uncomfortable" to accomplish the task.
Manipulation is an art that folks of all political orientations practice.
Try this: As a person who grew up in this western nation where Xmas is part of the yearly rituals, even though they are not part of my religious beliefs they are part of what gives me a bit of happiness. I am uncomfortable with people who try to deny me the things that give me a bit of happiness even though that does take anything from the person.
If the person could show me how they loose something by the presence of a tree that is festooned with pretty lights then I will listen. But just feeling uncomfortable is not enough.
Instead of taking away something that does give many folks a bit of happiness, the person could instead add what gives them a bit of happiness to the festivities.
The town should totally take that serious and ensure that no one is exposed to things that make residents uncomfortable.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to unclutch my pearls and wait for drag queen story hour to be announced by the library.
It violates basic sartorial rules. I can not tell whether the person is coming or going.
"It's not a Christmas tree, it's a nondenominational holiday shrub."
A nondenominational holiday shrub A.K.A. a Christmas tree, will be displayed in that Dedham library.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas everyone.
♪I'm a Christmas Tree
I'm a Christmas Tree
Everybody hangs their ornaments on me!
♪I'm a Christmas Tree
I'm a Christmas Tree
People throw me out on New Year's Eve!♪
♪Oh, Santa Claus!
Oh, Santa Claus!
He breaks lots of laws!
He breaks and enters!
He travels all around the world without a valid passport!♪
♪I'm a Hanukkah Bush!
I'm a Hanukkah Bush!
I got-- I mean
I'm a lot like...
A Jewish Christmas tree!
But I'm not...♪
Wild Man Fischer feat: Dr. Demento
And not one protest was launched.
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