Forced Merriment: The True Spirit of Christmas
By CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Added: Sun, 25 Dec 2011 20:21:32 UTC
via Jerry Coyne at Why Evolution Is True
A posthumously published piece by Hitchens on the holidays, and a rant about Christmas letters
Mr. Hitchens, who died on Dec. 15, was a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of "Hitch-22: A Memoir" and "Arguably," a collection of his essays. This is a previously unpublished essay commissioned by the Journal, an abridged version of which appears in the print edition of the Review section.
Ever since Tom Lehrer recorded his imperishable anti-Christmas ditty all those years ago, the small but growing minority who view the end of December with existential dread has had a seasonal "carol" all of its own:
Christmas time is here by golly: disapproval would be folly. Deck the halls with hunks of holly, fill the cup and don't say when. Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens, mix the punch, drag out the Dickens. Even though the prospect sickens—brother, here we go again.
I used to know all the words to this song and can still recall most of them, but unless I am mistaken, the religious character of the festivities is barely if at all mentioned. I suppose there is the line, "Angels we have heard on high, tell us to go out – and buy."
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