"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We're Offended

It is a mark of cosmopolitan sensitivity to refrain from uttering the potentially offensive greeting "Merry Christmas." Not everyone, after all, celebrates the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, and there are some who go so far as to eschew the Winter Celebration of the Stimulation of Retail Sales. A casual "Merry Christmas" delivered in a public place might find its way to the ears of a Scientologist, a Mohammedan, or even a devout atheist, causing them to feel different, left out, and sad. No right-thinking person would mention rib roast in mixed company, where a vegetarian might be within ear-shot.

Fortunately, that's all behind us for another year. But it occurs to us that very little thought has been given to the widespread, casual greeting "Happy New Year." That greeting is at least as Eurocentric and culturally insensitive as "Merry Christmas." While January 1 may be the beginning of the New Year for the Internal Revenue Service, it is not a new year for most of the world. The first day of the Islamic year 1432 AH was December 7; the Chinese Year of the Rat -- the year 4708 -- does not begin until February 3; Rosh Hashanah was September 8, marking the Jewish new year of 5771. And we leave it to our readers to figure out where January 1, 2011, falls in the last few pages of the Mayan calendar.

We thus conclude that it is just plain wrong to thoughtlessly toss around "Happy New Year" in public places where Mohammedans, Chinese, Jews or Mayans may hear you. What you do in the privacy of your own home is your own affair, but even there you ought to be circumspect: think of the children.


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