Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wumpick and the Simple Christmas


y dear Wumpick,

Your patient is preparing for Christmas.  Ah, Christmas!  The season of joy.  The season of giving.  The season of soul-rotting pop music and holiday specials which inculcate principles leading to a whole generation of failed marriages and overly-indulged children.  If the humans (and especially the American humans) had not created Christmas, we would have had to invent it.

Your patient is unfortunately already too well-educated in what the Enemy’s servants call “the True Meaning of Christmas” to fall into the usual consumerist traps.  Indeed, of late even certain branches of the secular world have taken to deriding the spectacle of economic excess which the two months from Our Hallows Eve to year’s end have become.  Regifting was a fad, and green gifts and minimalist Christmases will be as well, but they are fads which effectively (if temporarily) inoculate a small but significant portion of our pupils against one of our most useful variations on the old temptation to gluttony.

If we were not careful to stay on top of affairs, this kind of impulse to “simple living” would quickly become a scourge: in the poverty of three gifts to a person, parents, children, friends, and siblings would discover the real supremacy of familial love over material indulgence, and our power over their expending selves (which we teach them to consider equivalent to expanding selves) would be permanently reduced.  And once the family is rediscovered, the jig is up for us: church-going soon follows, along with increased appreciation for a variety of damaging good habits and, in general, commitment (a weak and ugly word that we have given them to use instead “vow” or “oath”, which they regard as being too, too old-fashioned for daily use, if vaguely attractive in the cinema).

Because this tendency to the “simple life” can take so pernicious a direction, it is therefore important, as much as possible, to take preemptive steps to ensure that those living “simple lives” associate religion with the very sort of excess which they are fleeing.  Let them forget that the Child himself had only three gifts, all of which arrived late (no postal service in those days, even a bad one); and was delivered in a stable—really, as if he had been born in the back room of a bakery in a modern grocery store: not the most romantic of places, though the Enemy’s humans have made rather a pretty story of it since.  Let the Simple Livers, then, remember not the real story, but the pictures they have seen (the more schematized and less realistic, the better) in which the Child looks less like an infant than a plastic doll, the shepherds have all been freshly coiffed a lá Sassoon, and the three kings look like tinsel-covered trees from Emma’s Christmas pageant two years ago.

Make Christmas, in other words, look wasteful.  It is not difficult to do, when the Simple Livers have already turned their hearts against waste, and the manufacturers are encouraging Christmas sales.  And because Christmas is still, despite those sales and our own best efforts, associated with religion, it will also not be difficult to make the Simple Livers associate religion with waste.

Some forays in this direction have already been made.  (You will recall the Hollywood blockbuster, The Shoes of the Fisherman?  Under the guise of anti-communism, we were able to introduce so many more subtle forms of disaffection to the West.)  Unfortunately, the current pope—despite the many excellent things which we have been able to persuade people of his having said—has not actually said anything that can be construed to help us in this area (yet).  In fact, the one time he was directly asked about the goods of the Church, he came out with some nonsense about the poor appreciating beauty.  I admit, I staggered.  For a moment it seemed as if nothing had changed in the Chair for the past three generations!

He has been no help on this matter.  So focus the Simple Livers on the collage cards and the cheap, heavy decorations, on the endless piping of music over-saturated with emotion and the fact that everything must now be reissued in two new colors; and make sure that they also remember—without really thinking about—what some fool of an Evangelical once called “The Reason for the Season.”  Nothing could be more perfectly calibrated than the sight of a mall at Christmas to ensure that no investigation whatsoever of that Reason occurs. 

Your ever affectionate uncle,


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