Let me tell you exactly how much I hate christmas

Warning: This is a rant about how much I hate christmas (hint: a whole fucking lot). If you really like christmas, or if you don’t like profanity, you should maybe avert your eyes.

Grumpy Cat meme that says, "Dashing through the no."

I hate christmas. Why? Well, because people insist on pushing their religion on me and saying things like, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “don’t take Jesus out of christmas by abbreviating it to xmas” and “YOU MEAN MERRY CHRISTMAS” when I say “Happy Holidays” because there is more than one holiday in December, and then think that somehow, despite this holiday being pervasive as fuck from September to January, there is an actual WAR on christmas*.

I’m sorry, no. Actually, I’m not sorry. Just no.

Jesus is NOT the reason for the season. Axial tilt is the reason for the season, and when you get right down to it, christmas is just Yule with a nativity scene thrown in. Everything from the date, to the tree, to the Yule log, to the lights is all pagan in origin. The only reason Christians celebrate Jesus’s birth on December 25 is because the Roman Catholic Church couldn’t totally wipe out pagan beliefs, so they just slapped Christian practices on the old pagan traditions. You still want to celebrate baby Jesus on December 25th? COOL. I support your excitement over baby Jesus.

But I don’t celebrate baby Jesus. I’m Wiccan. I celebrate Yule, which focuses on the returning of the light after the darkest day of the year. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the coming year. So again, Jesus is not the reason for my season or my celebration. Please stop trying to annoyingly convert me with cliche rhymes. It will not work.

Let’s also take a moment to talk about capitalism. People loooove to say how we should remember the true meaning of christmas is Jesus’s birth (remember, he was not born in December) and all that, while also gleefully flinging money at every store they go into to shower people they don’t even like with expensive but ultimately meaningless gifts. It’s just a bit too hypocritical for my tastes. You can say, “That’s not me! I only buy reasonably priced gifts for people I like!” and that’s cool, but you’re in the minority. And even Christians perpetuate the whole weird and kind of creepy Santa Claus thing, which probably didn’t start as capitalist but has been completely co-opted by corporations (example: pictures with Santa in every mall ever). Like, I’m sorry, but I do not want an old fat white man breaking into my house and leaving shit from goddess knows where under my Star Wars Yule tree.

Keep Calm and Bah Humbug

Then there’s the “music.” The “music” consisting of the same five songs, covered by every pop artist ever, recycled over and over and blasted at top volume for months. It’s fucking torture, and at least one clinical psychologist backs me up on this. Now you know why everyone’s so cranky in December. We all have to listen to that fucking awful “music” all the goddamned time. And half of it is explicitly religious. Which again, is probably great if you follow that particular religion, but if you don’t, it can all feel like a big FUCK YOU.

Okay. Now for the so-called “war on christmas.” No one (except me, maybe) is waging a fucking war on fucking christmas. You are a self-centered, self-righteous asshole if you think that. Because GUESS WHAT? There are other holidays in December! There’s Hannukah! And Kwanzaa! and Yule! And Saturnalia! And New Year’s Day is like, the day right after December! Also, see my point above about explicitly religious christmas music playing in every goddamned store from November to January. If explicitly religious christmas music is that pervasive, there is no war on christmas, only a war on my sanity. Just because people maybe want you to respect their holiday doesn’t mean they want to stop you from celebrating yours! I, christmas hater extraordinaire, don’t even want to stop you from celebrating your holiday! I just want you to leave me out of it. So please, do us all a favor and get the fuck over yourself. Enjoy christmas and stop trying to make everyone else enjoy it if they don’t want to!

And finally… “xmas.” Guess what the “x” stands for. Guess! It’s the first letter of Christ’s name in the Greek alphabet! And there’s a long tradition of abbreviating Christ’s name. So actually, you aren’t taking Christ out of christmas if you abbreviate, you’re just being lazy. Also, so what if someone wants to abbreviate? Does it affect you in any way? No? Didn’t think so. It’s fine if you prefer not to abbreviate, and it’s fine if you want to. Stop trying to make everyone do things your way. I mean, really. Who died and made you king of the universe?

So what, you say, you love christmas! That’s great! I’m glad there is something in this cold, cruel world that brings you joy. But just remember–not everyone is a Christian. Not everyone celebrates your holiday. So maybe try not being a dick about it?

*I have made christmas lowercase on purpose, because I hate it.

Joss Whedon, woke misogynist

Kai Cole’s revelations about her ex-husband Joss Whedon’s manipulative behavior toward women don’t surprise me. I’ve dealt with this kind of man before—the one who says “I’m a feminist!” and “I believe in equal rights!” but turns around and tells clearly misogynist jokes (the “woke misogynist,” if you will) and is quick to blame you for anything and everything. “Lighten up, it’s just a joke!” he says, when you point it out to him.

Gif of Buffy saying "If the apocalypse comes, beep me"

Buffy the Vampire Slayer helped me get through 7th and 8th grade at an awful Baptist School that wanted me to be docile and pure. But there were always things about it that bugged me, especially in the spin-off Angel, where literally every significant female character (spoiler alert!) winds up dead. In the main show, I always felt that Buffy’s relationship with Spike was problematic. He’s repeatedly abusive, but she still takes him back. One could argue this is simply in her character, or that she’s messed up emotionally, but she demonstrates plenty of strength and moxie is other situations, so I’m not sure I buy that argument.

Even so, Buffy is a great show, and a great character. Sure, it has some flaws (*cough* Riley *cough*), but beyond Buffy, it gives us other awesome female characters like Willow, Tara, and Anya (okay, okay, and Faith).

Does Ms. Cole’s revelation completely invalidate all the good that’s come of Buffy and the positive, kick-vampire role model she provided for countless young women like me? No, not at all. Buffy can still be a feminist icon, because even though her character was created by Joss Whedon, he’s not solely responsible for the character or the show. And aside from the Spike thing, the show on the whole is pretty upstanding from a feminist perspective. I also don’t find much fault with Firefly in that regard.

Iron Man saying Black Widow doesn't need her own movie.

If we invalidated every work of art that had a flawed creator, we’d have no art left. That doesn’t mean we excuse the bad behavior of artists just because they make good art. No. Judge the art on it’s own merits, and judge the creator on their own merits.

But like I said, I’m not surprised that Whedon has behaved this way in his personal life. Angel is a feminist dumpster fire, and The Avengers movies aren’t any better. Whedon has never been, in my opinion, the upstanding feminist he’s been portrayed as. It might not be so visible in Buffy or Firefly, but it’s there in his other work. As others have pointed out, Dr. Horrible is about a stalker that we’re supposed to sympathize with, and the main female character winds up dead at the end. Women are basically absent from the main Marvel movies, and they certainly don’t get to be heroes (but Black Widow! is not a valid argument, because why does she still not have her own movie?).

That’s basically systemic oppression in a nutshell. It’s so baked into our culture that even people who truly believe they are feminists might behave in very anti-feminist ways. Let me just be clear that I am not making excuses for Whedon’s behavior in any way, shape or form. Exploiting people you have power over is never excusable, and I’m saddened to learn it’s something that happened repeatedly (and is probably still happening).

The best way to fight it is to call it out and hold people accountable for their behavior. Will I still watch Buffy? Yes, absolutely. But will I rush out to drop money on the next big Joss Whedon thing that comes out? Well… probably not.

 

#FridayReads: Revenge of the Fifth Edition

Later this month marks the 40th Anniversary of my favorite thing ever, Star Wars. Now, pretty much every day is Star Wars day for me, but as May 5th is known as Revenge of the Fifth in the fan community, here’s a special edition (don’t worry, not that kind) of #FridayReads. Enjoy!

There are several things I want out of Star Wars movie novelizations: insight into the characters via inner monologues/descriptions of feelings, a few extra tidbits/tangents that shed light on a background element in the movie (character, droid, place, etc.), and writing that is decent or better. The novelization for The Force Awakens was a bit disappointing on the characters’ inner lives bit, which I imagine is because they’re keeping a tight lock on things to avoid spoilers for the upcoming saga films.

the rogue one audiobook

Rogue One doesn’t have such compunctions for obvious reasons if you’ve seen the films, and so far the novelization has met or exceeded my expectations on all fronts. The audiobook is extremely well-produced to boot, with sound effects and background music at appropriate points. The story follows the movie perfectly, of course, but I appreciate the little glimpses we get into Cassian, Jyn, and their growing friendship/feelings for one another.

We get quite a bit from Chirrut and Baze’s points of view, which was something I didn’t expect and am enjoying quite a bit (and we should get even more with the Guardians of the Whills comic series!). Director Krennic also makes POV appearances, and I like that his scheming to maintain power and control over the Death Star is a main focus of his inner thoughts. Plus, it’s very interesting to see Darth Vader through his eyes—there’s a lot of disbelief and resentment until he experiences Vader’s power first-hand.

Jonathan Davis’s reading of the story is  fantastic. He makes his voice sound like exactly like Cassian, Chirrut, Galen, and even Tarkin. His Jyn is a little off, but it’s a truly exceptional male narrator who can pull off sounding like a woman without making her also sound like a child. They put his voice through a modulator to create K-2SO’s voice, which is a nice touch.

The only point the background SFX became an annoyance was while they are leaving Jeddha to head to Eadu. There’s a constant, high-pitched whining in the background through that whole scene meant to duplicate the way ships sound in hyperspace, but my god was that irritating. I almost fast-forwarded through that, but it’s an important scene so I broke it up over days and suffered through it.

This has been my first Star Wars audiobook (books are my big collection so I usually just buy the hardcovers and read them the old-fashioned way). I’d definitely recommend this as an entry point into the canon beyond the films. I’ll certainly be checking out more Star Wars audiobooks for my daily commute.