Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Christian Humanist Episode #7: Wars on Christmas

The last--and in my opinion best--episode of our first semester should be up on Feedburner and iTunes shortly.

General Introduction
- More on science fiction and fantasy
- Book recommendations for Sam Mulberry

Christmas in the Medieval Era

- David reiterates the complexity of Medieval Europe
- Christmas and kings
- An Arthurian Christmas
- Where have all the jousters gone?

Washington Irving’s Rediscovery of Christmas

- The Puritan and American Wars on Christmas
- Geoffrey Crayon goes to England
- Mix of secular and religious traditions
- The weird bachelor uncle
- Irving misses tradition
- Santa Claus

A Christmas Carol

- Why are we so afraid of Scrooge?
- David questions his cynicism
- Warning: Don’t let your children listen to this section!!!!
- Scrooge’s rational skepticism and misanthropy

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

- Michial prepares for the flame emails
- Scrooge removed from motivation
- Physical disability

Merry X-Mas, Everyone
- “JESUS IS NOT AN X!!!!!!”
- Michial defends X-Mas objectors
- In which Nathan Gilmour looks like a total bumpkin
- Dreaming of a White Christmas with the KKK

The 21st-Century “War on Christmas”

- Not an attempt to destroy Christmas
- Born of inclusivity
- Protests against public display of religious paraphernalia
- Economic impetus for Christmas
- Ties to the 24-hour news cycle
- Ham-fisted inclusivism
- Why is this only in America?

Is There a Conspiracy?

- Are there supernatural forces at play here?
- A question of data interpretation
- Are we dealing with a broader intellectual or cultural trend?

How Shall We Then Live?

- Secular and religious Christmas festivals
- Advent carols
- David Grubbs tells us the real story of St. Nicholas
- You can’t go home again


Abbott, Edwin Abbott. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007.

Irving, Washington. Knickerbocker’s History of New York, Complete. Teddington: Echo Library, 2007.

---. The Sketch-Book. New York: Oxford UP, 1998.

Malory, Sir Thomas. Morte Darthur. Ed. Stephen H.A. Shepherd. New York: Norton, 2003.

Moore, Clement. The Night Before Christmas: Heirloom Edition. Philadelphia: Running Press Kids, 2001.

Powers, Tim. Declare. New York: HarperTorch, 2002.

---. On Stranger Tides. Northridge, Cal.: Babbage, 2006.

Sedgwick, Catharine Maria. Hope Leslie; or, Early Times in the Massachusetts. New York: Penguin, 1998.

Seuss, Dr. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! New York: Random House, 1957.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
. Trans. Marie Borroff. New York: Norton, 2009.

Updike, John. Rabbit, Run. New York: Fawcett, 1996.


Victoria said...

Love, love, love "Flatland"! Props to Nathan for the recommendation.

robert said...

Good show this week. I come down with you (or Grubbs?) in the end. We’re best off just acknowledging that the “Christmas” some devote so much energy (psychic and rhetorical, at least) to keeping Christ in is a secular, rather than Christian, holiday. Focusing on it is at best a distraction from the real reason for the season and at worst delusion as to what that reason is. If we really want to keep Christ in Christmas it’s going to require that we take up practices that are centered around Christ and, most likely, are made and kept very consciously distinct from and counter to the secular buying binge and mile-wide-inch-deep sentimentality.

Btw, you all need to set up a site for the show. Probably generate more discussion.

Michial said...

I agree--we do need a website.

Anyway, thanks for listening (and for agreeing, haha).

Tim Rhodes said...

Great episode! I've enjoyed all of them, but I agree that this has been the best so far.

I'm glad you guys mentioned newsmedia's somewhat involvement in the whole "War on Christmas" idea. Maybe it's just because I'm relatively young, but I don't remember any sort of talk about an agenda to destroy Christmas before the 24 hour news channels started talking about it.

Again, great podcast. I look forward to January!

Thanks for the book recommendations too!

Michial said...

Tim, if you read them, write us and let us know what you think!