Friday, December 23, 2011

Malls are useless for everything, especially apocalypses and zombie attacks



It's hard sometimes, I know, to understand how anyone could be against Christmas. It's so sparkly and lit up, with bows and shiny paper and pretty dresses. Everyone goes around telling people how much they love them. Even if you don't believe in god or America, how can you be against people having a good time, right?

But listen, Randall Park Mall is how. This is the dark aftermath of Christmas, like the morning after a coke binge where even though you haven't slept at all, something in your brain clears and you wake up and realize you can't feel anything in the middle of your face but you feel the rest of your body with intensity, and you have no cigarettes left, and check out time in this hotel is in 5 minutes so you don't even have time to take a very hot shower and try to rehydrate the channels of dried snot in your sinuses. This is what consumerism has done to us, left us hollowed out wrecks of past booms sitting in the nonexistent sun, the Ohio December afternoon gloom.

Also, and I can't stress this enough, malls are the worst places to go if there is a zombie attack. There are too many entrances to defend.


Of course, the other annoying thing is if you are a white middle aged girl named Bridget, every stranger you talk to assumes you are a christian with their constant Merry Christmases, and it just reminds you over and over how racist we all are, how if you were a Turkish girl, or an Indian Girl no one would feel comfortably making that assumption. Then they ask you if you have kids, and there's a whole nother stereotype/expectation/disappointment to slam against, rubbing like onion skin against your already raw "I don't believe in god thanks" nerves.

Usually this rolls off my back like water, but this year I've had two customers at work so far get audibly mad at me for saying Happy Holidays to them instead of Merry Christmas, and seriously, fuck off then. As John Stewart said, if you want a War on Christmas, fine, it's War. You've planted the seed of bitterness in my chest, and the roots push up into my eyes every time someone says anything Christmas related to me now.

I wonder if people who aren't white but are christian get upset because people assume they can't say Merry Christmas to them?

I know if I was more militant about it to my own friends, if I actively railed against it to them, they would try to remember and keep it non-christian. But I love them more than strangers, so I forgive them their trespasses.


The Mayans came up a lot yesterday. There was some half truth internet based story about a pyramid in Georgia being identified as Mayan. It probably wasn't. But it probably is a pyramid, or something. It is lodged against the side of hill, a 1000 yr old pile of broken rubble underneath centuries of earth. Or course, it came out right around the pre-anniversary of the expected date of the end of the world, which is 12/21/2012. I feel like they could have done better with the symmetry of that number. 12/20/2012 for instance, or if you want to keep it simple, 12/12/12. Mayans are the new Y2K, or the new Leprechauns, the new Bigfoots. Someday we will hear rumours about hidden leftover Mayan tribes, somewhere in the wilds of Montana, with the secret to everlasting life hidden in a cave.  Not that the Mayans didn't actually exist at some point, but not these Mayans. These Mayans are citizens of Atlantis. They invented the telephone. They could turn dirt to gold. Their women were better at head. They were the first punk rockers. And now they are coming to destroy us all, out of revenge. Or because God told them to.



If I allow the side of me inclined to spiritual belief, the side that used to be obsessed with how Saints died, and who knew all the astrological personalities my particular Sign should have sex with, then here is what I think about the Mayan Calendar, bearing in mind no actual knowledge about the calendar other than what I've gleaned from numerous New Age crap over the past 20 years (the calendar, like the pyramid, does exist, but only as a scientific object, a relic, like an abacus or macbook). If the world resets on that date, then it will be a metaphorically End of the World, because it will be the Beginning of a New One, only in the sense that how time is measured will be different. If the very thing that creates our structured universe is how we quantify that imaginary force Time, then the end of the known calendar will be a New Universe. I like that idea, mostly because I think we could all use being reminded of the arbitrary nature of our laws every few hundred years.


Of course, if you all want to live like the world is going to burn in one year, I really encourage that. Do it. I want to see what happens. I think even if the End of the World was a government sanctioned event, verified and plotted and expected by the entire population as a thing as real as the Superbowl, I suspect most people would do nothing different. I suspect, in fact and for real, most people are already living like they assume it doesn't matter. They are still ringing up bills they can't pay for pleasures same day, and they still sleep with people they shouldn't. We tell ourselves all the time how much we are holding back because of convention, but frankly, I don't think you are. Humans are selfish and hedonistic, and inclined to getting what we want regardless. But we are also cowards, afraid of things touching our very fragile skins. So I think modern society has basically balanced out our desire versus our fear to exactly what limit we are willing to take our irresponsibilities. Which, the world is really really fucked up, right? Don't we talk about that all the time, how fucked up everything is? So why are we so loathe to believe we are at rock bottom now? We cling to the idea there is still time to stop the train before it gets there.  Some people see that as "still time to save us", but  with my perspective, it's more like "only way to go is up". Both ways are wrong. There is no more time left to save us, and there are plenty of other directions to go in that aren't up. Some of those directions are more fun than others though.

Which is pretty much how you can tell the people who are really into New Years.


21 comments:

  1. I was thinking about this earlier today: the difference between growing up a city kid or a suburb kid. Like, these aren't as True to me as the photos I take in the city, because I grew up next to the steel mill and didn't see a lot of malls ever. But to a kid who grew up and went to the mall all the time, this probably means something much deeper. I don't actually know where you grew up M., but I mean, in general.

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  2. I have never thought of Christmas greetings (of the cheerful "Merry Christmas!) sort to be at all related to the religion/Jesus aspect of things. This could be because I am not a Believer myself, but mostly I think that the religious celebration of the Christmas holiday is pretty far removed from the actual general popular celbration of it -- which is mostly about pretty twinkly lights and telling people you love them and having a legitimate excuse to give people fun things and bake cookies and stuff. Also, I am a pretty firm believer that the holiday-ish wishes one gives to others should be based on the traditions of the giver, not the receiver. Meaning if you celebrate Kwanzaa, go ahead and wish me a Joyous Kwanzaa. If you're Jewish, say Happy Hannukah. If you don't like holidays, don't offer any holiday-related noise at all. &c. But also, if people get pissed because you say something pleasant to them (like Happy Holidays instead of Happy whatever-their-specific-holiday-is) then they are kind of jackasses anyway.

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  3. See, I don't know, my friend was trying to argue for it being a pretty secular holiday too, but I think religious people (even casual users I know) still take it more seriously than us nonbelievers see. It's been a long time since I participated in any church holiday with religious fervor, but when I was a little kid, Christmas was really solemn and serious stuff. I had a pretty overactive imagination though, I was pretty much Melodrama walking around in a kid's suit.

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  4. Yours is a particularly effective method, and I bow to your talent. Your words and illustrations speak on many levels. I love it.

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  5. Perhaps that's true -- maybe I just don't know anyone who is terribly religious? (Actually, the only very religious people I know in my day-to-day life are not Christian, so that probably skews my notions.) My extended family, though, when I was a kid -- my mother and all her side of things -- were pretty hyper-Christian and conservative, but the religious aspects of Christmas were still kept pretty firmly separated from the non-religious aspects. I mean, I guess, that it was equally as much about Jesus and Important Christian Belief as it was about Santa and candy canes and twinkly lights and stockings to open in the morning.

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  6. Thank you. Writing and photos. Sad but beautiful and depressingly omnipresent.

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  7. Yeah. I'm with Miss B. Somebody wishes you a happy something, just say thanks. What's the big deal. They're not offering you communion or anything or wanting to circumcise you.

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  8. Bill, usually it doesn't bother me, but this year the christianity really got to me. Which I suspect is a result of being really bitter and mad about all the things this past year Christians kept trying to do in politics and culture. And yeah, whatever, we all make the same arguments about not all christians are the same ect, but at a certain point you have to stop apologizing for them and acknowledge the fact that separation of church and state is under constant attack in this country and I'm getting really furious about it because I want to live in a country where I'm not forced to live by the cultural laws of one religion I don't believe in, So no, stop saying Merry Christmas to me until you stop trying to make abortion and gays illegal.

    This is my point, we excuse this cultural dominion and insensitivity because it's the expression of happiness at this particular time of the year, but the very fact that if I choose to not want to hear it, people look at me like I'm the problem is exactly why this matters.

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  9. Frankly, if people can take the time to make sure they don't say Merry Christmas to their Jewish friends, I don't see why this is any different.

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  10. I see your point. But...........if a lesbian, leaving an abortion clinic, wishes you merry Christmas, would that be acceptable?

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  11. It would still be rude. She should wish me Happy Holidays or Happy New Year instead, because that is the POLITE thing to do.

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  12. Uncle! You know, I feel that way about "have a nice day". Seriously, I don't need a stranger telling me that, particularly since I know they really dont' give a shit whether I have a nice day or not.

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  13. I understand your point to a degree, but the holiday in question is called CHRISTMAS. What does anyone's belief in naming it have to do with anything. All that person is saying is, "There is a holiday coming up and I hope you enjoy it."

    Should a person who is not of Irish descent be offended because their office gets decorated with St. Patrick's Day decor? The same with wishing someone a happy Valentines, Halloween, Veteran's Day or anything else. Do we need to just use the generic word holiday when referring to any of them. I don't honestly care what anyone believes, but do we really need to guard our every word because some people are easily offended.

    I do love your blog, but just don't understand what the big issue is.

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  14. But see, courteousness is not about having to understand. It's about knowing something offends someone else, and choosing not to do it because you don't want to upset them or make them feel bad.

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  15. Well I agree to you for most of the extent as how could someone be against an event like Christmas....and I did experience what you said regarding the perceived assumption of the people regarding Christianity, people really are very very racist at times....we have to wipe out any kind of racism from our society whether they are of religion, colour or cast...

    I admire your effort to raise voice against this evil...!!

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  16. Please, can you PM me and tell me few more thinks about this, I am really fan of your bloggets solved properly asap.

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  17. Your writing has impressed me. It’s simple, clear and precise. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and family.

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  18. This is indeed a very sensitive issue to raise really....I just want to encourage those people who think above the racism in all regards whether it comes from religion, race, cast or anything..!!

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  19. The way you condemn racism is very effective if it will be heard to the society as a whole....your stance may be discourage my the certain group whom interests have always been damaged from these sort of voices but I wish you all the luck for your efforts!

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  20. useful content.. The front view of the house is really very very awesome. which I believe will be very useful for me. There have been number of times I did wonder about it, but couldn’t really understand it.

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