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RETAIL HUMBUG

Fredrick Meekins
Dec. 13, 2005

Wal-Mart is renowned as one of America’s largest retail chains. The company earned this distinction in part by fostering a reputation based on traditional American values. However, in a manner similar to how the other institutions overseeing this nation have betrayed what this great country was originally based, this beloved weekend destination and rainy-day hangout has sold out to radical tolerance and diversity.

For retailers such as Wal-Mart, Christmas is really a joyous time since it is the time of year such establishments bring in the lion’s share of their profits. You would think these merchants would not be ashamed to publicly acknowledge the celebration contributing so abundantly to their own prosperity. However, from the shame exhibited at the mention of the word “Christmas”, you’d think the greeting was some lewd comment scrawled across a restroom stall.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights brought attention to this linguistic trend by launching a brief boycott against Wal-Mart for censoring recognition of the festive occasion by muting the traditional greeting of “Merry Christmas” to the more subdued “Happy Holidays”. The boycott was originally started when it was discovered that searching “Christmas” on the Wal-Mart website returned “Holiday” results while Kwannza and Hanukah brought cybershoppers to results specific to these terms.

Insult was added to injury when the Catholic League learned of an email that essentially told Christians to sit down and shut up since the majority of the people in the world don’t celebrate Christmas and most Christian symbols have pagan origins anyway.

After considerable public embarrassment, Wal-Mart apologized for the snarky email and corrected its website so that a search for Christmas would take you to Christmas results. As such, the Catholic League called off the boycott since the group’s concerns had been met.

However, one must question whether the boycott was called off too quickly since merely one symptom of a deeper underlying disease was addressed. For while the website takes surfers to the proper destination, it will take more than fiddling with some HTML to cure an attitude prevalent throughout the secular culture of executive America.

Wal-Mart plays the matter off by appearing to do the right thing and take a stand for traditional values. Yet upon closer examination, Wal-Mart has done very little in this regard.

Their website might now take unsuspecting shoppers to the correct page, but Wal-Mart corporate elites are still insisting that their wage slaves mutter the bland “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”. The justification for such yuletide speech codes is that, as a global corporation, they must appear to cater to the egos of all their customers.

Perhaps Wal-Mart should be reminded of where it was that Wal-Mart initially achieved the success it enjoys today. Even if Christmas is not celebrated in the distant lands where Wal-Mart hawks its wears, so what?

Here in America, the majority celebrate Christmas. If the immigrant swarms flooding across the border are offended by such a greeting extended in felicitude and goodwill, they are always welcome to return to the trash-piles upon which they originally dwelt or to remain in lands of unbounded opportunity where women aren’t permitted to drive and where religious dissidents are decapitated.

Those claiming to be economic pragmatists contend that saying “Happy Holidays” simply makes good business sense as the phrase covers Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza and keeps everybody happy. But frankly though, are that many Jews even going to be caught in Wal-Mart and Kwanza is no more a real holiday than if a group of Star Wars fans got together to celebrate the destruction of the Death Star since events in that saga are dated in relation to the Battle of Yavin.

Despite all the hand wringing as to whether or not the mere utterance of “Christmas” will shatter Hebrew sensibilities that have endured far worse over the course of that culture’s turbulent history, it must be pointed out that those claiming to oppose public recognition of Christmas because of their adherence to Judaism are actually the members of that community that abide by the tenets of that faith the least and often only invoke the faith of their forefathers as a way to manipulate the guilt complex rampant throughout postmodern Western society.

The Jews that strive to live by Biblical values actually don’t have all that much of a problem if their fellow theists celebrate Christmas. Columnist Don Federer, an Orthodox Jew, is quoted in the November 2004 edition of Concerned Women Of America’s Family Voice as saying, “I’ve never been offended by anyone saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.”

Thus, liberal Jews do not oppose Christmas so much as an affront as to what they profess to be their faith. Rather they get all jacked out of shape because those Christians that celebrate the birth of Christ embrace the shared ethical heritage of these faiths that these closet secularists have abandoned.

In light of these linguistic policies, are we to forego vocalizing the names of other holidays other special interests might find offensive? Should we not refer to the Fourth of July amidst an act of commerce for fear of alienating closet royalists?

Seems Wal-Mart has no problem whatsoever recognizing other festivities that exclude significant percentages of the population. Utilizing this pronunciation paradigm, does that mean from now on Wal-Mart will refer to February as simply “History Month” rather that qualify it with a particular ethnic classification?

Don’t count on it as in the past, in league with Kraft Foods, the retail chain has distributed Black History booklets. What about a publication containing so-called “White” recipes and if Wal-Mart’s scope as a global company is to be its central marketing principle, how are over a billion Chinamen going to feel about such a document as I doubt there are that many brothers in the hood over there.

From as far back as most can remember, we have been told that the true meaning of Christmas goes far beyond the things beneath the tree that provide a sense of temporary joy. Perhaps the corporate world should also take the time to consider this lesson or they might not find as much green in their stockings in Christmases yet to come.

Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins


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