Christmas

What to the Atheist Existentialist Jew is the Meaning of Christmas?

Every year I ask myself: Do I go with the flow? Or is it another holiday season of mu shu pork?

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Like many of my fellow travelers in godless Judaism – from Matt Stone to Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein and Sarah Silverman – I've always had a tough time figuring this one out. Every holiday season I ask myself: Should I go with the flow and experience the true meaning of Christmas? Or should I eat Chinese food alone again? It's my annual Xmas kampf.

There's no doubt that Christmas dinner with the goyim can be fun. It's friendship. It's gluttony. It's Jimmy Stewart and Julio Iglesias. It's what Americans do. I get it.

But in the (non-)spirit of the atheist existentialist philosopher Jean Paul-Sartre, I feel a moral imperative to live authentically. If I'm going to be as true to myself as possible, if I'm going to reject the symphony of sappy conformity that begins at Halloween and builds to a kitschy crescendo by New Year's eve, there's no better time to be myself than on Jesus's birthday.

A traditional atheist existentialist Jewish Christmas feast.

It would be bad faith on my part to pretend that the Christmas holidays don't make me a little uneasy. While the presence of honey-glazed ham and the soothing vibrato of Mariah Carey (but I repeat myself!) cause most Americans to waft into a dense fog of haimish holiday nostalgia, even the tiniest Christmas ornament reminds me that I am, by heritage and temperament, a cultural outsider. The whole idea of worshiping another suffering Jewish guy who thinks he's the son of God, has always made me feel, as Sartre would say, a little bit nauseated.

Hanukkah is supposed to be the Pepto Bismol for my Yuletide queasiness. That's the whole point of elevating an otherwise forgettable week on the Hebrew calendar into the apex of the Jewish year. Ever since its revival among Jewish immigrants who settled in the American midwest in the late 19th century, Hanukkah has been promoted as a countervailing force against the immovable object that is Christmas. 

In other words, Hanukkah was born out of anxiety. Like a quivering Ren and Stimpy trampled underneath Santa's galloping reindeer, Hanukkah is perpetually nervous and competitive about its bigger and bolder Christian rival. As if a defensive one-upmanship was the reason for the season, Hanukkah openly brags, "You've got one day of presents? Ha! We've got eight!" As George Washington University history professor Jenna Weissman puts it, Hanukkah is the "penis envy" of Christmas equivalents. (What did you think all those menorah candles stood for?)

Worse still for me, the myth of Hanukkah is all about miracles. And I don't do miracles.

So instead of indulging in the neurosis of Hanukkah or conforming to cloying Christmas rituals, I've learned to take a perverse pleasure in the tension of resistance. While the rest of world is tucking into their turkeys on Christmas Day, I'll be wandering the empty streets of the silent city, making a solo pilgrimage to Great Wall Szechuan House or New Big Wong or Dragon Express II. Alone with my chop sticks and the unbearable silence of an indifferent world, I will feast on a heaping bowl of hot and sour soup. Then I'll say a heartfelt prayer to the earthly personification of atheist Jewish Christmas, the militant, yet delightfully crispy anti-Santa known as General Tso. 

As Sartre wrote,

Authenticity, it is almost needless to say, consists in having a true and lucid consciousness of the situation, in assuming the responsibilities and risks it involves, in accepting it … sometimes in horror and hate. (Anti-Semite and Jew, 1946)

Atheist existentialist Jewish Christmas isn't easy, but it is authentically me.

If you think my Xmas existential dread makes me a Socratic Scrooge, last week Reason TV explored something a bit more cheerful: the idea of libertarian existentialism. Watch Why Jean-Paul Sartre Should Have Been a Libertarian! right here.

NEXT: Reason Weekly Contest: New Year's Resolutions for Candidates

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  1. Okay, I’ll bite. Never mind the too cool for everyone “atheist existentialist jew” self-description, just stop with the politicizing of everything and have some fun with some friends or relatives. Good grief, Charlie Brownstein.

    1. As soon as I read this, I knew it wasn’t going to play well with certain demographics in the Hit ‘n Runverse.

      All I am going to say is that my family and I enjoyed our takeout last night and with that I’m out before this comment section inevitably festers into the pustule it shall become.

      Well that and the fact that I volunteer every year at a hospital’s front desk so those workers can spend the day with their families.

      1. You are a good man, HM. Now leave us selfish people to our hedonism so that we shall eat, drink, and … eat and drink some more, and not give a damn about teh poor wiminz and chillins. Merry Christmas.

        1. 7 bone prime rib, out of the oven in 2 hours.

          Err.. Hospital. I’m volunteering at a hospital….

          1. In our hospital department, every Sikh, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu doc requested at least a week off during Xmas-New Years, most asking for both weeks off, and all requested Xmas day off (which is strange, as you would think it shouldn’t mean all that much to them, plus if you work today you get 150% pay.) As a result, today, Xmas day, all seven physicians on duty over the next 24 hours are docs who are Christian or at least were raised as Christian (I don’t ask their level of devotion).

            This has been the case for several years running now. Still doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense to me (although the ones with kids on school break at least makes sense for getaway plans). But if I didn’t have any reason to celebrate Xmas, and I didn’t have school-age kids, I’d want to do my travel in November or January, and take advantage of the off-season fares and quiet airports, and work for the premium pay during the holidays.

            A couple of our docs from India are returning to their homeland this week. Though they don’t celebrate Xmas, apparently Xmas week is a big time for weddings in India, sort of like June in the USA? At least that’s what they told me.

          2. I prefer the GMO rib roast with 2 extra ribs and built in horseradish flavor.

            1. Baked turkey burritos.

            2. and the extra bacon on the GMO pig?

      2. You’re doing what makes you happy, not engaging in hand-wringing and navel-gazing over it. I have no quarrel with that. Merry Christmas.

      3. “I knew it wasn’t going to play well with certain demographics in the Hit ‘n Runverse”

        People who are bored with hearing their faith’s #2 holiday belched and squeaked at? Will we be getting an article by someone bemoaning their Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv as an atheistic, angst-ridden Zorastorian or a snippy little piece about being an agnostic, ennui-filled Taoist in Kuwait for Ramadan?

        Feh.

        Don’t like the day? Ignore it. I mean, its not like I went around, feeling sorry for myself in Iraq or Afghanistan during Eid al-adha or cried into my MRE during Ashura.

        1. Are you suggesting that, as an atheist Catholic, my opinion on Yom Kippur is not worth exploring?

          1. I’d look forward to Reason publishing just such a piece from that locale, on that date!

            1. The short review would be along the lines of

              …growing up in a mostly-Jewish town meant you got a lot of schooldays off in September. You didn’t really ask why, and just accepted it as the benign charity of another person’s god.

              In fact, you probably didn’t even wonder WTF those holidays were even about about until 7th grade, when you were suddenly required to pony up $100 or more to attend some other kid’s extravagant 13th birthday-party, and the school cafeteria put up a poster of a Leprechaun saying “Mazel Tov!” on St Patricks day.

              At that point you thought, “Alright: enough is enough”, and began to question why you couldn’t get cheese on sandwiches at certain delis.””

          2. Atheist Jew I kinda get because Jewish is also an ethnicity (sort of), but atheist Catholic is not gonna fly.

            1. Well, it could refer to an ex-Catholic, as in someone that comes from that tradition. As in, Catholicism is a religion, but it is also a cultural group.

              1. I’m not ex, I’m lapsed

            2. I don’t know if it’s possible to unjewify oneself after having been a jew for a time, but it’s a plain fact that a Catholic can’t simply stop being one no matter what kind of blasphemies he imposes. It’s made obviouser by the fact that until recently one never encountered anyone claiming to be an ex-Catholic, even people who left the church and rejected everything about it.

              1. Matin Luther says Hi.

                1. With a list, a hammer and a nail.

                2. Mohammed says that you can’t eat any animal the you’ve fucked. That narrows it down to invertebrates.

                  1. *that Love those relative pronouns.

                  2. “Mohammed says that you can’t eat any animal the you’ve fucked. That narrows it down to invertebrates.”

                    The Japanese have shown us that you can fuck invertebrates, or at least be fucked by them.

              2. Jews raised in religion are at least as captive to their culture as Catholics are to theirs. Add to that the fact that, if you are not in NJ/NY/Connecticut, then there are very few people not celebrating Christmas…
                Somewhere I read that 25% of Americans are Catholic, and 25% are ex-Catholic. At least you, as a recovering Catholic, have peers. Jews, meh, not so much.

      4. “”I’m out before this comment section inevitably festers into the pustule it shall become.””

        DONT GETS ME STARTED ON THE MUDS AND THE QUEERS WHAT DONT BELIEVE IN JESUS NEITHER

        1. I think he wanted to dip out before the slut-shaming.

      5. well done…as god fearing Irish Catholics, we’re embracing the Hebrew…Chinese take out & a movie…lot’s less prep & clean up

    2. Authenticity, it is almost needless to say, consists in having a true and lucid consciousness of the situation, in assuming the responsibilities and risks it involves, in accepting it ? sometimes in horror and hate.

      Fuck that shit… tequila is reality!

    3. You can’t self describe as an athiest and AND a jew.. pick one and then please stfu. Or spend some more time in philosophy class. Oh I might suggest looking for better friends. On the upside the days are getting longer woohoo!

  2. “Every time I reread Camus and Sartre, I say to myself: ‘Why does the existential dilemma have to be so damn bleak?’ Yes, life is meaningless, we are alone in the universe and death is inevitable but is that necessarily so depressing? It just puts the burden on us to fill our lives with joy and wonder and weirdness and adventure. Whatever it is that makes your heart pound, your mind expand and your spirit soar.”

    1. Yup. When I was in high school it was the late 80s when all that teen angst goth shit was around and I started reading some French existentialism and relating to it. But after a while, I had those same thoughts. Hey, even though life is pointless and then you die, there’s no reason I can’t enjoy myself. In fact, that’s going to be my entire purpose.

      1. When I retire I’m going to open up a breakfast joint in a college town — the Eggsessential Caf?.

        It will of course have no menu.

        1. It will of course have no menu

          And the staff doesn’t care about you or even notice that you’re there.

          1. Home of the “What’s it all Platter?”

        2. You would do well financially to offer an omelet with a long list of additional toppings – each with an additional charge – people find out they can go there to have you make them one with everything.

        3. Eggistential Cafe.

          Not trying to be a dick.

          Or am I?

        4. Will it have an exit?

        5. I think, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll have the ham and eggs.

      2. I always thought that was the point of existentialism. The Universe doesn’t give a shit, so fuck it, let’s have fun.

        1. I’m actually a Macrocosmicist. I believe that what we call the human spirit or soul is a small part of a greater cosmic Consciousness which devolves and incarnates on this planet as a game, the goal of which is to evolve back to cosmic Consciousness. To me it gives life meaning and is meaningless at the same time. There’s a goal to shoot for but it’s to get back to where we were.

          1. That seems kind of pointless. Is that the point?

      3. I didn’t get that from Camus at all. Rather, what I got was a sense of acknowledging and even embracing the absurdity of existence, rather than stupidly agonising and struggling against it, which is rather what Sartre seems to be doing. Plus, Sartre was an asshole.

        1. It’s just a quote from “Bedazzled’ dude.

    2. Existentialism is a Religionrfor those who have given up religion in their minds, but still yearn for it in their hearts.

      Cast your will to servitude aside and rejoice in your Freedom!

      — Der Einzige

      1. Fuck, you can be religious without bridling against the absurdity of existence. The existentialist, in contrast, can’t get over the fact that some things are not inherently meaningful or that whatever meaning there is in things rests on facts we can’t know and even if we did is too cosmical for our stupid lizard brains to wrap their caudate nuclei around. Most people in history managed to live their fucking lives without ever agonising over this fiddlefaddle. But now it’s like if a person attains some level of intelligence he’s expected to wrestle with this crap. Fuck it to hell. You can wrap this all up with the “problem” of pain and the problem of “evil” while you’re at it. More made up shit philosophy from European dummkopfian rhetoricians. I don’t know how a person can even hold Chanukkah and this crap in his brain at the same time. At best, one should annihilate the other. Worser, they’d both be annihilated in a huge mind-antimind reaction.

  3. Festivus for the Rest of Us !!!!

    1. I thought that Festivus was for the best of us!

  4. Read CSLewis’s What Christmas Means to Me. You can celebrate, or not, #2.

    Dont worry, there is exactly one sentence on the religious aspect of Christmas.

    1. I read What Eid Means to Me and now my entire family just enjoys a nice feast and togetherness in September. Then we do it again for Christmas. Then again at Passover. Thanks, religion for giving us excuses to pig out and hang around, maybe do something charitable from time to time.

      1. It means that you can’t sit around on your ass and chew khat all day anymore.

    2. What Xmas means to me is that Fimbulvinter looks like it going to hold off for another year.

  5. I just woke up. Merry Christmas you rat fucking heathens who hate the children and want the terrorists to win.

    1. I think it’s time for a beer.

      1. Bottle of shiraz to be opened soon.

        Self important, preening article above, aside.

        1. As a mono-kidneyed human, don’t you want to make your drinks count?

          1. As long as I don’t get dehyradated, I am fine. Long and slow goes the race, my friend.

            1. That’s been my motto for some time. No liquor for me, generally. I made an exception in Mexico last week, but there were no kids around.

              Speaking of which, I haven’t had a drink in a week and my brother is bringing a case of Spanish wine to dinner. Mmmmm….

              1. Nice…

                I will still take advantage of single malt whisky, when available…but that is nae so often.

  6. As a family of atheist existentialist Catholics, we have a tradition of Christmas dinner at my sister’s favorite Chinese restaurant. We get together as a family and share some good food and some good conversation, some good laughs and some good memories of the ones who are no longer with us. Carrying on that tradition reminds us that even those who are no longer with us are still with us. Isn’t that what Christmas is about? Being thankful for the things you sometimes need to be reminded to be thankful for, the things you take for granted until you’re reminded they’re a gift?

    1. I thought it was for drinking and eating as much as possible until you fall over. Oh well, I might be confused, but that’s what I’m going to do. My wife has made enough food for 10 people and it’s just her and I today. 2 marinated game hens and too much other things. My cup has runneth over.

      1. isn’t eating till you die Thanksgiving? The upside is you have leftovers of good stuff.

        1. That’s when it begins, then you’re finally up to speed by Christmas and you’re preparing for the grand finale, New Years. It’s like a food/drink marathon.

          1. A whole month to stretch the stomach before the finals.

            1. And get your alcohol tolerance up to snuff.

    2. That is basically what Christmas is to me. Merry Christmas Jerry!

    3. “Isn’t that what Christmas is about? Being thankful for the things you sometimes need to be reminded to be thankful for, the things you take for granted until you’re reminded they’re a gift?”

      I think you’re confusing it with thanksgiving.

      1. Xmas when everybody supposed to sit around pious and grave after getting back from mass, and nobody listens to the radio, and nobody calls or comes visitting.

  7. Merry Newton’s Birthday.

    1. Author of numerous religious tracts?

      1. Dang it…I should have said “you know who else…”

        1. Thank you for not Godwinning Christmas.

          1. “The Grinch Who Hitlered Christmas”

            1. Shut up and giddap, Max.

              1. Max is teh awesome! And Cindy Lou Who isnt bad either.

                1. with some fava beans and a nice chianti?

      2. Jack Chick? Is that you?

  8. I prefer a religion populated by drunken pranksters. Less wear and tear on the fainting couch.

  9. Eh, just remember that it’s Saturnalia and roll with it.

    Merry Christmas from another dumb fanatic Christian to the godless heathenry on this site 🙂

    1. I will wish you Merry Christmas anyway.

    2. Any religion that wants me to get trashed and pig out can’t be all bad.

  10. Doesn’t bother me one bit that some religious folks have co-opted the celebrations for their purposes.
    The days are again getting longer; the renewel is upon us. Be of great cheer!

    1. Whatever, Francis 7. I’d rather run than take my chances on Carousel.

  11. Every year I ask myself: Do I go with the flow? Or is it another holiday season of mu shu pork?

    Jesus. You’re so insecure that you have to ask yourself every year how you’re going to spend a major holiday? You’re in need of help.

    Find a fucking plan and be proud that you’re man enough to have been secure enough in your decision.

    1. Yup. If you’re that wound up, just shaddup and have another beer, ferchristsake.

    2. I’m pretty sure that, based on this story alone, you spend a lot of nights eating Chinese food by yourself.*

      And furthermore, it’s impossible for you to experience the true meaning of Christmas unless you believe in the birth of Christ. That’s what the meaning of it is: a celebration of the birth of Christ (whether he was born on that day or not). Just like I can’t “experience” the true meaning of Hannukah or Ramadan since I’m not an adherent to Judaism or Islam. It’s a requirement.

      *Your many cats excluded, obviously.

      1. Sorry dude, I’ve been away for while. Did you get your Sous Vide or what?

    3. Even better, fuck the plan, and just do whatever in hell pleases you. But either way, if anybody calls or comes over, tell him to get the fuck out, it’s Xmas, and it’s just wrong to pester nebod therabouts.

      Also, it’s hard to grasp how Chanukkah is such a minor and forgettable holiday, since it commemorates like the only decent moment of Jew history, the only time when the Hebrew demeaned himself with honour and refert. Also, the only fun part in the whole fucking Bible.

      Hmmm. Maybe that’s why. It’s something that would resonate with the North Sea cultures, and so probably inconsequential, possibly a little weird, and maybe embarrassing for the Levantine mind.

  12. “”godless Judaism””

    right.

    1. I remember reading someone who commented on the problem with early judaism was polytheism, but the captivity cured that. Now instead of too many, their problem was believing in too few gods.

      1. I just think its cute that people think they’re “Godless” just because they’ve replaced the metaphysical nonsense with an equally irrational and amorphous “Jewishness”…

          1. Very nice.

  13. Can’t we all join together and agree to hate the Mohammedans?

    1. Only if you call them their true name- Mussulmen. Just ask Roland.

      1. Say, you seen my horn anywhere?

  14. Can’t we all join together and agree to hate the Mohammedans?

    1. Look here, mister – I already said no! I WILL turn this comment section around and go home. We don’t HAVE to go to your grandparents. I can always call them and tell them to return the comments they got you…

  15. You know what I got for Christmas? A fucking MRI that says I need surgery on my torn rotator cuff.

    1. And a sous vide cooker, which I’ve already used and which is fucking awesome as shit.

      1. Maybe you could cook your shoulder?

        1. It’s pretty much awesome. Although I need a benzomatic torch and a searzall now.

          1. Get butane. Propane tastes like shit if it isn’t burning cleanly. I have this one:
            http://www.williams-sonoma.com…..hen-torch/

            I also use it to peel poblanos.

            1. But butane doesn’t burn hot enough, does it? Besides, I can get my hands on a couple cases of MAPP gas. The real stuff, not the new MAP Plus bullshit. That burns clean as can be with zero gas smell or taste.

              Also, if you wait till the flame is blue and steady or if you use the searzall, it eliminates the smell completely, right? That’s what I’ve read in a few places.

              1. Butane is heavier (c4) than propane (c3).
                I’m sure they both get the job done.

                I just hate the smell of unburned propane. It smells like rotten garbage and kitty litter boxes.

                1. I just hate the smell of unburned propane. It smells like rotten garbage and kitty litter boxes.

                  That’s not the propane, it’s the thiol they add to give it a smell so that stupid goyim don’t accidentally detonate themselves and possibly take out a Jew in the process.

            2. Applicable: http://www.modernistcookingmad…..ch-reviews

              1. Jesus. Are you running a restaurant or something?

                1. sloopy indulges in no half measures, when it comes to food or procreation.

                2. What Swiss said.

                    1. Didn’t South Park do that episode?

                    2. I think you might have something. So the baby gets dropped out of the womb and into a watertight pouch but still has the umbilical cord attached. The child is then submerged into a sous vide water bath where the temp is gradually brought down to room temperature, all the while you have various religious incantations as well as pagan rituals performed over the chxld.

                      Fuck artisanal mayonnaise. This might be my foray into the Brooklyn business scene.

                    3. Check your liability insurance before you vacuum seal any babies.

          2. I just finished the sous vide pastrami yesterday. It was supposed to be enough for 20-30 people for a late christmas snack, but it’s all gone now. I made it with skirt steak instead of short rib, but after a week of cure, it doesn’t really matter:

            Pastrami Sous Vide

              1. I’m googling the symptoms of nitrite poisoning right now.

            1. I’m in the company of heroes! Maybe outside peering in through a window but close enough.

      1. The miracle will be me getting the surgery in before the end of the year since we’re $600 away from the max out of pocket for the family. That would save us about $3,000.

        1. Im in that spot with our baby. She is free if she arrives this year. But looking like early January.

          1. I’d have the other half doing a lot of jumping jacks and walking. You could give her the old in-out in-out as well. Nothing more depressing than a Jan 1 baby when tax time comes around.

          2. You’ll also miss getting to claim the baby on on your taxes. Get that women of yours walking! I mean seriously, lots and lots of walking.

            1. Listen to Banjos…she’d know!

            2. Bonking is also supposed to be of some use in bringing on labor. And even if it doesn’t work, at least you got laid.

            1. Induction is scheduled for Jan 5, they wont do it any earlier.

              1. It’s an insurance company conspiracy.

          3. I’m a Dec 31st baby. Supposedly Dad took Mom on a ride over a rough road to ensure I showed up before the new year.

            … Hobbit

          4. Children born between early January and early February are more likely to be retarded.

            1. Trust me. I know about this. I was born January 24th.

            2. Also, children whose mothers drink no alcohol during pregnancy are likelier to end up retarded versus those whose mothers drunk in moderation. I?’m thinking the only thing that saved me was my mother drank quite heavily, so it cancelled out the januarial retardism effect.

    2. You know what I got for Christmas? Oh, it was a banner fucking year at the old Bender (other) Spicer family. I got a carton of cigarettes. The old man grabbed me and said, “Hey, smoke up Johnny Banjos.” All right? So go home and cry to your Daddy. Don’t cry here, okay?

    3. All I want for Christmas is a new left hip.

  16. But in the (non-)spirit of the atheist existentialist philosopher Jean Paul-Sartre, I feel a moral imperative to live authentically.

    So you never bathe, don’t wear clothes and only eat food that you grow, hunt or gather yourself?

    Cause if you’re not doing all of those things you are living inauthentically.

    1. The Existential Hunter Gatherer?

        1. *staggers up to give standing ovation*

    2. Trade isnt authentic?

    3. Existentialism sounds like hipsterism without the unicycles and PBR.

      1. Hey, he’s an insufferable douche, but he’s and authentic insufferable douche.

    4. But is he free to gambol?

      1. Are you summoning the Ghost of White Indian Past?!

        1. It’s like a resurrection. Wait, shit, wrong Jesus holiday…

          1. I like to think WI didn’t die, but actually was free to gambol…and did so.

            1. You think fat indian lasted more than a week?

              1. Probably not…maybe as “long pig” to someone?

    5. “So you never bathe, don’t wear clothes and only eat food that you grow, hunt or gather yourself?”

      Man. I been living that way for years. And I fucking hate Jeanpo Sartre.

      1. I just called it lust for life.

      2. Course, why should anybody eat any other kind of food, since the crap litterally grows on trees in this country (I imagine it does elsewhere, but from what I’ve heard in other countries there are more foragers. I guess they’re just more authentic.). And if it doesn’t grow on trees, you can find it just laying round on the ground held in place by snares.

        I would think the metaphysical mindfulness and constant insinuation of meaningfulness in everything required of the existentialist would automaticly obliterate any authenticity in anything he did. If you’re making sure that everything you do is authentic, doesn’t that make it unauthentic? But don’t listen to me. I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about. So far as I can see, there’s no meaning whatever in most events (since they just happen because some previous event caused them), and I can’t really wrap my mind about what in hell people are talking about when they talk about authenticity in this context.

  17. This is one of those articles the author needs to participate in the comments.

    I miss Cavanaugh.

    1. Is this the part where I say I’m still hoping for Festivus to really catch on and unite the Internet in the only two things people of all faiths can agree on, irony and kvetching?

  18. “”You’ve got one day of presents? Ha! We’ve got eight!””

    I have some bad news on that front…

    Oh, and as to being lonely in Chinese restaurants, apparently the restaurant staff are non-Christian Chinese people and aren’t observing Christmas either, why not talk to them?

    1. Seriously, have a chat with them, it could make you less lonely.

      Anyway, Merry Christmas!

      1. They’ll be ress ronery too!

        1. Less ornery?

    2. what self-respecting libertarian talks to staff, next you’ll expect him to make eye contact with his orphans.

      1. Paid staff, right. That should be OK.

        Of course he has to make eye contact with his orphans – how else may one judge if one has instilled the proper amount of fear in them?!?!

        1. Actually the whole eye contact thing is a trap.

          If you can make eye contact with the orphans its pretty obvious that they don’t fear you enough.

          Best to just remove that one’s eyes pour encourager les autres.

      2. It’s Boxing Day in Australia. Give your servant his box you cheapass money-grubbing Capitalist!

    3. Because their English sucks and my Chinese is worse?

    4. In my family we had eight fucking days of presents as well. Twelve days of Xmas altogether, but four were for prayer and meditation and personal morbor.

      1. And gifts were almost always something someone made, and usually something meant to be consumed after a short time. I don’t always stick to the eight days of gifts nemore (usually I cut it down to four or three), but I try to stick to the gifts should be produced by the hand of the giver and should be either consumable or else totally useless fucking pieces of crap art for art’s sake. Like this crasy hand-shaped wooden disk I made my wife one year that has one of the Beatitudes, in Latin, (the one about those that hunger for justice) carved in a Norwegian rune spiral (Curiously, Norwegian runes work fine for inscribing Latin. They also work fine, obviously, for the Scandinavian languages. But it’s almost impossible to reduce any other language to an intelligible inscription in them.), the wood treated with tallow I rendered myself over a wood fire, and stained with dyes I produced from plants I gathered, a sigil of the Norse god of justice I made out of a fragment of compressed volcanic ash infixed in the center. it’s heavy as fuck and has no way of being mounted or hung up anywhere, but I did make it so it feels really neat to be handled. More shit work from Retardo McStupid. This year I did a painting of her name in Byzantine Greek minuscule (using all the most obscure ligatures and pseudo-letters I could think of) stylised as the features of a cow. This is for the fourthnight, so I’ven’t got her reaction yet. The cow ended up with three eyes. No way around it.

        1. Considering this, it occurs to maybe now I’m getting a grasp of what folks mean by authentic here. Is it something close to what regular folk mean refer to as “crap”?

          I’m reminded of when I used to do furniture with my father (We generally made all our furniture ourselves, often from timber we collected ourselves, though we had to borrow time at the neighbour’s mill, since we didn’t have one of our own.). If anything could be described as rustic, he took it as powerful criticism, and tried to obliterate anything that might be perceived as “rustic” from any future designs. I don’t remember his precise wording, but it was something along the lines that rustic was just a fancy word for crap.

          1. Yer one of those Alaskan *reality* peeps. Right?

  19. The funny thing about conspicuous christmas non participants is that Christmas in today’s America is almost entirely areligious. That is unless you think Santa is a god.

    1. Yep. I have 30 family members that I’m going to eat with in about 2 hours. Not a single one of them is religious. Today is like Thanksgiving with a gift exchange.

      1. Much more important, are any of them progs who brought placemats with pre-packaged talking points written on them?

        1. My daughter’s SF boyfriend brought his.

          1. No.fucking.way…

          2. Did you kick him out of the fucking house? That’s….. unacceptable.

            1. You mean kicking him out of the house after bitch slapping him silly and burning the placemat in the fireplace?

            2. I’m turning the other cheek in the spirit of Christmas.

              Plus my wife would be pissed off for weeks if I get into a political debate today (or last night).

              1. nothing wrong with fair warning, like “guy, don’t start down that road. This is a pleasant time and we’re not going to fuck it up with arguments.”

              2. Well, then be nice and just ask him ‘Hey, what is that for, you leave your intellect at home and so pulled that out in lieu of it?’

                1. I rather like that one, H!

                  1. Just tell him that Jesus promised the end of wicked people.
                    Odin promised the end of Ice Giants.

                    I don’t see Ice Giants around, do you?

              3. Yeah well if Joseph and Mary had been into turning the other fucking cheek when baby Jesus was getting born, he would have been fucking dog meat. Think about that.

          3. have you suggested a no political zone or notified him that in the absence of such, there will be hostile return fire? The former is so much nicer but progs seem to insist on politicizing everything.

            1. Why go through all that confrontation? Just send him to the children’s table where he belongs.

              1. Take the placemat and burn it, give him a coloring book and some crayons.

                1. And a barbecued puppy with a Barbie head garnish.

          4. “My daughter’s SF boyfriend brought his.”

            Of course. Progs are the True Believers of this age.

          5. That’s why the Chinese kill their daughters at birth…and I support them by shopping Walmart.

        2. Nope. My family is awesome. Not a single progressive, and the one conservative who married in to the family isn’t going to be there.

          Today is about red meat, booze, and sugary desserts.

          1. Lucky you. Sounds like a Christmas with my Brazilian side of the family. My American family are so disfunctional that spending anytime with them at all is typically bizarre to say the least and no alcohol, too many fundies who believe that they’re going to hell if anyone opens a beer within a hundred yards of them. So, since my wife and I are in Murika, I’m happy that it’s just the two of this year.

            1. Just remind them that the first public miracle Christ pulled off was turing water into high qualitywine…for a party.

              1. They’ll say that it was interpreted wrong and that was just grape juice. Seriously, they will say that or something very close.

                1. I have heard that from Baptists before…and I just smile, nod and go my merry Methodist way…to the liquor store.

                  1. I used to be Methodist.

                    All the salvation, none of the guilt.

                  2. Don’t forget the Methodists were the ones that gave us the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, who brought us the 18th Amendment.

                2. “They’ll say that it was interpreted wrong and that was just grape juice. Seriously, they will say that or something very close.”

                  who the fuck cares? so he turned grape juice into wine… ON THE SPOT. For his mother. It’s still pretty miraculous and slaps the Xtian stamp of approval on giving free booze to one’s elders on demand.

              2. Jesu(i)s Char(donnay)lie Heb(rew)do!

          2. “Today is about red meat”

            A debate that has been ongoing throughout my life.

            My own family-traditions provided no clear guidelines as one was Irish, and the other Southern Baptist. They had no fucking clue what “normal” christmas was supposed to be. One set of grandparents had ham, the other made london-broil.

            Fortunately we had 2 other families to provide a cultural education. One was a british family, and the other were a bizarre group of Southern Anglophiles who out-Britished the brits with their Christmas ritual-stupidity.

            e.g. the latter would do things like serve *christmas pudding* (read: ancient fruitcake with brandy poured on it and then set on fire) with Hard Sauce, wear those stupid Christmas-Cracker hats…the whole shebang….

            …. while the former, actually-English people thought this was retarded to do, disgusting to eat (I shared their view) and silly behavior.

            Anyway, the ongoing disagreement seemed to be whether the traditional Christmas meat-dish was “Goose”, or “Roast Beef”. I never heard any compelling, conclusive argument for either. I usually suggested “do both”

            1. One side of my family is from Norway, and I’m not serving fish for dinner.

              The other side is Scottish/mutt, so it has always been roast beef and mashed potatoes.
              If there’s one thing that the British get right, it’s rare prime rib. When I’m in the desert, I’ll even eat at an English restaurant. Voluntarily.

              1. Addendum:

                Worth noting (because i’m eating one) =

                We Gilmores have also had a longstanding tradition of 2 other Christmas edibles

                – “Sausage bread”… which is basically pizza dough wrapped around some mozzerella and sausage. Delicious when hot, like reinforced concrete on the way out. I think we stole this idea from some other neighborhood Irish NY family when we were kids because it didn’t come from either parents

                – Oyster stew – a traditional appetizer, which comes from my mom’s side. Which i still don’t know the origins or sense of (my mom is very old and getting a straight answer out of her is no longer possible)… as my Old Virginia grandparents hardly ever ate oysters in any other context. I never ate it until my 20s as i was a finnicky little snot. But its pretty damn good.

                1. We used to do oyster stew too. It was always part of our Polack Christmas Eve dinner.

                  Kielbasa, pierogies, oyster stew and for some reason some sort of seafood (lobster or shrimp) made it’s way in.

                  We recently gave up on the stew as both my wife and I would have a couple spoonfuls and be done. More work than it’s worth.

              2. From the menu you get the impression that the place is going for “authentic and classy” country-club cuisine…

                …but then you see the place, and you think, “ahh, california.”

                I’m sure LA has some old joints that do the same very well. Yorkshire pudding is sort of hard to come by. Pete’s Tavern in NY used to have prime-rib on the menu every night, but i think went to doing it just on Thursdays or something, but they did it up right. I would go there to treat myself about once a month and drag a friend. There’s a photo of their prime-rib/pudding/creamed spinach on there somewhere. Not quite the “Kings Plate”, but the same idea, and cheaper. Its really just a bar that also has some food, but its quality in a “very old places that never change the way they do things”-way. Unpretentious meat-&-potatoes, but done right.

            2. The only traditional Xmas food in my family was fish preserved in uncanny ways* and aspic. My father, however, introduced choucroute garni (or however in hell it’s spelt), and it became kind of traditional. Probably come from his father, who spent some time in France (actually had another wife there as well). More recently I met a guy from France who tells me it’s just some kind of peasant food. I’ve made both with applesauce and fresh apples (though they might be pretty wrinkled and elderly sitting in the root cellar several weeks), and fresh apples make it ten times better.

              For instance, marinating fish in whey for three days, to be then served with no further cooking or preparation (except for applying to some stock jelly). And that’s one of the simpler ones. The worst was the whitefish that first got kep in the smokehouse till it was dry as jerky and then pressurecooked till the bones were soft enough to chew and the skin, by then smokey and bitter as fuck, sort of disintegrated and got infused into everything else. The few vitamins outside the head and fins, according to my mother, resided entirely in the bones and skin. The meat of the fish, apparently, is devoid of nutritional value.

              1. Calories are the heart of nutrition. We’ve forgotten that.

            3. Unrelated to Xmas, my mother used also to boil the fuck out of ox necks till it rendered something like meat jelly, pretty much aspic with a few shreds of muscle stuck in it here and there, and make like this meat jelly filled hard corn biscuits out of it. And after thanksgiving, she’d take all the gristle and skin and other disgusting but vaguely edible parts of the turkey and grind it into a mush, mix in some homemade mayonnaise (I never even encountered government mayonnaise till I was in my late teens), some tarragon, a bit of onion, a stick of celery, and call it “Turkey Salad”. It’s one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever had to be forced to eat. She also insisted on cooking all the fishheads and legs that got trimmed off and making a stew out of them, on the basis that that’s where all the vitamins are. Fishhead stew wasn’t really that bad, and the oxjelly biscuits were pretty heavily spiced and seemed impregnable to weather conditions and so could be packed around the fields in the heat of summer to be et as needed. I’m so glad I got away from all that crap though and now I get to live so authentic and pure.

            4. For much of my childhood, I imagined we were poor folk, because compared to other families I was around we rarely bought anything. Looking back I now suspect maybe it was because we so rarely bought anything other than land or machinery that we WEREN’T so bad off, financially. A decent side effect is that nor my siblings nor I is ever going to find ourselves dying of starvation anywhere short of the middle of the fucking Sahara, even if we had no cash. Talking to my sister today, I mentioned how I still go out camping on occasion without bringing along any food other than oil and spices, confident there’ll be plenty to drum up wherever I find myself, like on the trips Father used to take us when we were children. She said something about that’s so much fun. Other people, I’ve mentioned to them about it, and they generally say something about how awful that sounds.

              1. Sounds like your parents had serious Depression Era nostalgia. Privation is Patriotism. It really sticks with some folk.

          3. “Today is about red meat,”

            I go with the “other white meat” as a thumb in the eye to our Jewish Messiah.

            1. Can a Jew pork his wife?

          4. Other than having food, sounds awesome.

      2. Not a single one of them is religious.

        Thank Christ!

        1. About 6 years ago, my SIL (the same one who asked for her prime rib well done) asked when we were going to say grace. There was about 5 minutes of continuous laughter.

          1. Awesome! Group humiliation. Well deserved.

            1. She deserves it for a number of reasons.

          2. “(the same one who asked for her prime rib well done)”

            That blasphemy alone is just cause for total ostracization..

            1. That’s where I agree with Sharia honor killings. [It is a joke NSA, a joke]

    2. Apparently some do. I was in a religious idol shop in Sasebo and I saw a beautiful 10 inch tall ceramic Santa nailed to a cross. I wanted to buy it, but didn’t want to spend two hundred bucks (1982) on it, especially since anything breakable would probably not survive until we got back to base.

    3. “The funny thing about conspicuous christmas non participants is that Christmas in today’s America is almost entirely areligious. That is unless you think Santa is a god.”

      I disagree. American Xmas can also be very religious if you think Satan is a god.

      And as far as St Nick (The similarity between St Nick and Old Nick is always striking as well) goes, pawnbrokers and thieves are pretty prominent in American culture, so really one might not be far off taking him as some sort of a god in this country.

  20. First off, even if you’re an atheist, the fact that you cop to being a Jew means you don’t get to celebrate the day of the birth of the guy you (or rather, your people) murdered.

    Secondly, just do both. I put up Christmas lights, and just came back from dim sum with my wife and her family.

    Some people need to get a life. It’s just a day that a lot of people with faith that isn’t yours celebrate. You live in a majority Christian nation. Don’t navel gaze about it, just fucking suck it up and deal. You want a bunch of Jew existentialism? Move to Israel.

    1. Oh, and, of course, Merry Christmas to everyone.

    2. Move to Israel.

      Or Boca Raton, amirite?

      1. New York? More like Jew York.

    3. It’s just a day that a lot of people with faith that isn’t yours celebrate.

      it’s also a day that people of no faith at all celebrate in various ways, be those time with family, gift swaps, relaxation, enjoying a few days off, etc. There are so many secular components to Christmas that it is about as all-encompassing a day as I can imagine. But agreed on the hand-wringing and the angst; just do something you enjoy. If it’s a Chinese buffet, then that’s what it is.

      1. it’s also a day that people of no faith at all celebrate in various ways

        Because they’re off work and most things are closed, so what else are they gonna do? Happy Federal Holiday.

        1. “Because they’re off work and most things are closed, so what else are they gonna do?”

          Drink rum & eggnog, like the civilized tribes…

          1. Drink rum & eggnog

            Are any of these…uh, tribes, you know….taking in new members?

            1. That’s entirely contingent on the results of your G.O.A.T…

    4. Fuck you, the ITALIANS did it. We just ordered the hit.

      1. Oh sure, blame the Italian Army…

      2. Even back then, your people were pulling the strings, the nefarious power behind the throne.

        It’s why the Jews have never had anything bad happen to them. They’ve always been calling the shots.

        1. This is a cultural feature of ours, and is the same reason why what a JAP makes for dinner is reservations.

          1. DOC: you’ve got six months to live. I recommend you get married again.
            PATIENT: why doc? I’m depressed enough.
            DOC: you’re gonna be in a lot of pain. You’re gonna need help and having a wife will make it all easier. By the way, when you get married, try to insure it’s a Jewish girl.
            PATIENT: why a Jewish girl?
            DOC: it’ll make your last six months seem like a long time.

    5. You get a day off of work and probably get paid for it. Why all the angst?

  21. I’m going to sit here all by myself and watch it snow. Maybe I’ll watch some more Deadwood, later.

    Merry fekkin Christmas, ya eejits.

    1. 70 F here in Balmer, tropical Christmas!

      1. 54, wind advisory.

        The tables will turn soon.

        1. Going to rain here later today. Yesterday was 75 and humid. I still have all my doors and windows open.

          1. 6 (this AM) and snow.

            Good tubbing weather.

            1. 79 here and expected high of 82. Just another day.

            2. We used to use truck intertubes. Fuck, a tub is a better idea. How do you cut the legs off? Torch?

      2. It will be warmer tomorrow. The Ravens will be playing hard for that first draft pick.

    2. +1 San Francisco cocksucka

      I fucking love Deadwood. Hell, I might watch a few episodes now.

  22. Of, FFS, just eat some god damned turkey and STFU.

    1. Do you know how hard it is to find a Kosher turkey?

      1. Why would an atheist Joo be worried about it being Kosher? Isn’t that a religious rather than cultural part of modern Jewry?

        1. His parents might find out and guilt him.

          Other than that, I got nothing.

          1. Like a Jew needs to worry about not eating kosher for his parents to guilt him. I hardly think it’s gonna take that much.

      2. One of the things I like best about not being a Jew. Well, other than not having to wear long sleeves in 90 degree weather, I don’t have to stand around in the grocery store and have long conversations with my friends about what is kosher.

    2. We still have a frozen Turkey from around TG that was like $7 for 15 lbs. Couldn’t pass it up. We’re going to spatchcock it.

      /spatchcock

  23. Woody Allen haz a sad.

    What a bunch of noxious literalist crabapples you people are.

  24. Chinese food in this area is dreadful at best. Ditto where I grew up. So I never got that tradition, despite being a Laplacian Jew. I think it’s a New York thing, just like many things that New Yorkers think are universal because they do it.

    Nonetheless, I made a fiery tom yum for breakfast today and spent lunchtime shitting napalm.

    1. I should add that our families are thousands of miles away, so it’s just me, the wife, my 15 year old, and several pitchers of mimosas. He’s not getting glurge this year, he’s gonna watch Bad Santa.

    2. “spent lunchtime shitting napalm”

      Dude, the USAF could use an ability like that…

      1. So could kink.com, and they pay more.

      2. I was approached by Mossad.

        1. “We want you to take a dump on this particular building in Gaza City…”

          1. Take THAT, Geneva Convention!

    3. Nah, it’s not just a New York thing. Most Jews do Chinese at xmas.

      1. Neither NYer or Jew, and we had Chinese last night. Our feasting plans are on old as both of us have a nasty little cold (what with all of this unseasonably warm weather).

  25. “Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ.”

    1. Whut? I’m pretty sure that Hindus and Muslims don’t do that.

      1. WHIZZZZZ! That’s the sound of the joke flying well over Hyperion’s head.

        1. I took it more as sarcasm and decided to go against the grain.

          1. You’d have to ask Bart Simpson.

    2. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

    3. How many here have read “Nailed”? This is a book by a historian questioning (based on evidence) whether the Jesus might might have been manufactured entirely out of whole cloth.

  26. You misspelled “dollar”.

  27. You misspelled “dollar”.

  28. Look, from the purely secular point of view, stretching the whole thing over 12 days means that each specific day is less stressful.

    Unless you’re the codependent passive-aggressive “true love” in the “12 days of Christmas” song, you don’t have to give a buttload of gifts every day of the 12, you can just spread them out.

  29. As George Washington University history professor Jenna Weissman puts it, Hanukkah is the “penis envy” of Christmas equivalents.

    That’s why you eat Xmas dinner at New Big Wong, nyuck nyuck nyuck.

    1. Sum Ting Wong, Executive Chef?

      1. Ho Lee Fuck and Wee Tu Low.

        1. Those are the ma?tre d’ and bartender, right?

            1. Oh, I remember that fun…just thought we were repurposing them.

              1. Poi Sun Pork: it what for dinner.

  30. Merry Christmas Reasoniods.

    May each of you get exactly what you want out of the day.

    1. Blowjob from an underage girl? YESSSSSS!

    2. I want Old Man to get a blowjob from an underage boy.

      1. Your kids all commented that mine was much bigger than daddy’s.

      2. That would probably jeopardize most of his future political aspirations..

    3. I surprised my wife with a new Apple Watch, the cool solid-black stainless steel version. She took off the wrapping paper, saw it said “Apple Watch” on the packaging and didn’t go further, refusing to even open the box and look at it. She got really pissed.

      “You got me a gadget for Christmas? This is like getting me a vacuum cleaner.”

      “Also, the Apple store is right across the street from fucking Tiffany’s. What is your problem?”

      1. Your female appears defective. Did you buy the extended warranty with the ring?

        1. He should check into the return policy.

          1. The restock fee can be a bitch.

      2. WHAT’S WRONG WITH A VACUUM CLEANER?

        1. Seriously. I put up the money for a good quality one last January and it has been a Godsend with the three babies. Lately, I’ve been nagging Ken for a roomba.

          1. Make him get you a maid, the cheap bastard!

        2. The vacuum in your house doesn’t need cleaning?

        3. Nothing, that’s next years Christmas present.

      3. I know this is a day late but I had the opposite experience. I told my wife she was getting some jewelry from me and the kids (since the kids’ grabby hands tend to destroy necklaces throughout the year). At the bottom of the box of inexpensive costume jewelry was an Apple Watch. She loved it.

        It’s stories like yours that make me realize how lucky I am. My wife hates ‘blood’ diamonds and the few pieces of Tiffany jewelry I’ve gotten her through the years sit in the dresser.

      4. I see a visit to Tiffany’s in your future!

  31. Also, Jean Paul-Sartre was wrong. You shouldn’t be true to yourself if you’re a piece of shit. You should try to overcome it. Being true to yourself is a cop-out for being a whiny bitch.

    And you’re not eating real Chinese food, you’re eating Americanized Chinese. Have some fucking dignity, man.

    1. It’s cultural appropriation all the way down.

    2. Not at New Big Wong. That shit’s authentic.

      1. Hung Lo’s is way more old school.

  32. “Every year I ask myself: Do I go with the flow? Or is it another holiday season of mu shu pork?”

    Confucius say, “If Jewish man willing to eat pork, he should have no problem celebrating Christmas. But if he does, I’m sure some of my countrymen can give him a Christmas meal at one of their fine restaurants.”

  33. A Jew? Eehhr?

  34. New Big Wong kicks ass. If only it weren’t so dirty inside.

  35. Merry Christmas, assholes.

    1. So that would be “Merry Christmas, All of You!”

    2. I read that in Tiny Tim’s voice.

      1. With, or without the ukulele?

        1. *swings crutch at pathogen*

        2. Oh no! Don Ho!

  36. Good Grief.

    The celebration of Christmas is the celebration of being unselfish, of giving, of spending time with loved ones. One doesnt have to be a Christian to enjoy Christmas or engage in celebrating its principles. For intellectually honest atheists there is no shortage of any of that.

    Get over yourself Todd.

    1. You’re not Muslim or Buddhist. Why don’t you celebrate any of their holidays? Aren’t you intellectually honest?

      1. Well Christmas is a combination of holy-days from various cultures. To celebrate it is to celebrate several religion’s days. Part of Christianity’s success comes from its willingness to appropriate and re-brand other culture’s teachings and beliefs.

        1. “Part of Christianity’s success comes from its willingness to appropriate and re-brand other culture’s teachings and beliefs.”

          This is true. And if that doesn’t work, kill them all.

          1. Yeah, there have been several attempts to purify, but that’s like purifying the English language. Mutts tend to be healthier than pure breads. Western culture has a long history of cultural and religious appropriation and Christianity is the moral tradition of Westernism. After all, Christianity started as a Greco- Roman appropriation of Judaism ( which was itself a Hebrew appropriation of some aspects of Persian and Egyptian religions).

            Purity is for the naiveand ignorant.

            1. Purity is for virgins until Old Man gets his dick in them.

        2. “Christmas” is a holy day for Christians. If you’re just celebrating something else around this time of year, you’re not celebrating Christmas. Hey, maybe some Christians just light a Yule log and decorate a Tannenbaum and never even think about Jesus. Then it sure looks like they’re celebrating those other ancient holy days.

          So are you saying that atheists (or whatever) should celebrate Yule or Saturnalia to be intellectually honest?

          1. I’m merely saying that Christmas is an amalgamation of religious observances here in the twenty-first century, and should not bring about so much a angst in those of other belief systems.

            1. Then Chinese New Year.

  37. This author is just envious of other people’s joy, covering it up with philoso-speak about authenticity. Seems like bad faith to me. But then I never understood Sartre’s pessimistic worldview.

    1. Or it may have been, you know, tongue in cheek…

    2. Seems like bad faith to me

      What you did there, was visually noted.

  38. Does the author get holiday pay for posting this on xmas?

    1. That would be inauthentic for an existentialist atheist who abhors holy-days.

    2. Posts can be scheduled, so: no.

      Merry Christmas, everyone! I just got some good family news and some good financial news, so I’m doing OK, even without a girlfriend this year….

  39. The editors of Reason got the the perfect gift for the gaggle of perpetually aggrieved yokeltarians who comment here: something to feel superior to.

    1. It was the Cosmo- existential- atheistic Jew who started with the superiority bit. He just covered up with a little translucent existential angst.

    2. Hugh…I think you have played the yokel card a bit quick.

      A lot more eyerolling than WHYCOME THIS DOOCHE GOTTA BAG ON JESUS BIRFDAY?!?!?!?!

      I was hoping Robby’s hair would have its own post, m’self.

      *raises glass* Cheers to all of you reprobates anyways.

    3. Boy, you really are fucking insecure.

    4. Speak for self. I thought it was a good article. I know little about jewish things, but anyone Christian National Socialism Christian Czarism and the Islamic State has it in for is as close to a natural ally as I’m likely to find anywhere in this vale of tears.

    5. where’s nikki’s nut lick?

  40. As an Atheist Existentialist Atheist, all I can say about this article is WTF?

    Get a grip on yourself Krainen, stop feeling sorry for yourself – this is *America*, celebrate Christmas as an atheist among friends or don’t. But stop whining that you’re still feeling excluded because Christmas is not ‘your culture’.

    You’re confusing ‘culture’ with ‘religion’ – the same way people confuse ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ marriage because they’re both called by the same name. And like marriage, there are two Christmases – the religious observances and the getting together with family and friends to enjoy each others company to alleviate the misery of this part of the year.

  41. “What to the Atheist Existentialist Jew is the Meaning of Christmas?”

    Who fucking cares?

  42. When I was a little Catholic boy living in a largely Jewish neighborhood, around Hanukka I came home from preschool and said “Mommy, I wish we were Jewish!” She didn’t know where that had come from… She started explaining how Jesus had died for our sins, etc. I sat in thoughtful silence for a few seconds and then said “Yeah… But the Jewish kids get these really good chocolate coins!” My mom gave in and bought me some “Hanukka gelt,” which I actually secretly still buy when Hanukka rolls around (forgive the “cultural appropriation!” :p)

    I’m not sure what exactly the lesson from that is, but I’m pretty sure that there is one.

    1. Fell for the old Jew gold trick eh?

  43. Home safe, saints be praised.

    KAILUA, Hawaii ? The latest on President Barack Obama’s annual two-week vacation in Hawaii (all times local):

    12:05 a.m.

    President Barack Obama and his family have returned to their vacation home after spending Christmas Eve at a restaurant with friends in Honolulu.

    The Obamas came back to the home in Kailua, on the east side of Oahu, where they have been staying over the holidays. ___

    Was it a CHINESE Restaurant?

    1. Was it a HALAL restaurant?

      1. New Big Wong restaurant – CHINESE HALAL, No MSG.

        1. Chinese halal?

          Yo, what’s up, Uighur?

          1. *slow clap*

          2. It’s Uigha.

            Not Uighur you lacist.

            1. Stew-fwied Wattlemeron. MmmMmm. You know dat’s white.

  44. On Christmas Eve, President Barack Obama started the morning off by working out at the gym at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe on the island of Oahu.

    Just before he left the Kailua rental home where he’s been staying with his family over the holidays, a rainbow appeared over the neighborhood.

    Gaia herself pays tribute to our ascendant god-king.

    1. Or since it is Kailua it is just another morning on the windward side of a Polynesian island. A day without rainbows is almost impossible.

      1. He’s culturally appropriated the LGBT flag. What a fucking faggot!

    2. I never would have thought that we would have a cult of personality in this country. Seriously, fuck that guy and all of his lickspittle creepy little minions.

    3. It’s not the first time that Obama’s fawning worshippers drew a connection between his presence and rainbows.

      TRIGGER WARNING: Mother Jones

  45. Good Grief.

    US Christmas celebrations are the ultimate cultural appropriation and inversion of Christianity by Atheistic Materialism, as any *serious* Christian will tell you.

    Trust a self proclaimed “Existentialist” to piss in his own cornflakes.

    Victory is Ours!

    Now eat your damned honey glazed ham (take that!, O my “Jewish Savior”) or we’ll excommunicate you from the United Atheist Alliance.

    1. Which is only fair play, since the Christian version was a penultimate cultural appropriation and inversion of Pagan Winter Solstice celebrations.

  46. What now?

  47. Am I the only idiot here who thought this was humor?

    1. Humor, from a self proclaimed existentialist?

      1. Kind of like a good monologue from a mime.

    2. Humor sort of requires that some part of it be, you know, *funny*.

  48. I don’t remember the jews fighting for inderpendence can’t wait for his next article to be about his angst about having to celebrate the 4th of july.

    I’m sure this doucher knows like most of us do that most holidays have been whitewashed and are borrowed from other holidays anyways. it should make him feel better at least.
    It’s a time to see family, friends, and a welcome break from repetitive work that the average worker deals with year in and year out.

    Perhaps instead of pondering his doucherness he should go work in a factory, warehouse, trade, gas station, department store during christmas. Then he might understand the point of a holiday.

    1. Did someone accidentally leave the Yokel gate open?

        1. He expected a full on infestation. This poor little screed barely counts.

        2. Oh noes! Muh sekret club!

          You stupid twats filling half the thread predicting this ONE post is about 50 times more obnoxious than the ONE post.

    2. Exactly. Holy-days, or sacred days, are just days set aside. The observer can choose the metaphysical why and wherefore for themselves. Christmas is a celebration of rebirth, or new beginnings. Even an atheistic, existentialist Jew should be able to celebrate that– or maybe not.

      1. Set aside by The Federal Government, in its infinite majesty and wisdom… because superstition votes with nary a thought for evidence.

        1. Methinks you are a tad too materialistic, Hank. Metaphysics is about Truth–not Fact. For example, Moses may not have existed, yet he is still the Law Bringer.

          Many Jews and Christians* realize that the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Torah likely evolved. But the human psyche–specifically the subconscious–responds better to imagery than to facts and figures. Therefore we have story systems, or myths. You lump all this together under superstition out of ignorance. Others are able to understand the genre and glean useful truths from it.

          *Those who’ve studied some religion and religious history

  49. So, I decided to make some mulled wine for this evening.

    Now I’m reconsidering. Its a cold weather drink and well, this is Yuma, AZ . . .

    Maybe I’ll leave all the doors and windows open for the next 6 hours.

    1. You live in Yuma? You poor, poor bastard.

      1. This ain’t the 1980’s – its actually a pretty decent place now. And with the internet I don’t have to go without anything I want.

        I would have killed myself having to grow up here – but in my mid-40’s its a pretty good place.

        1. You should’ve taken the 3:10 outta there..

        2. My wife live in Yuma for a while as a teen back in the 80s. She thought it a hell hole.

      2. Do you have Abert’s Towhee on your life list?

  50. I hope you people are spending your Federal Holiday voting for The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Assistant U.S. Attorney Niketh Velamoor as Popehat’s Censorious Asshat of the Year.

    You can “legitimately” vote more the once too.

  51. Oy vey! It’s another Holocaust?! SHUT IT DOWN!!

    1. Do you think that the good Chinese-American folks who keep their restaurants open for the Christian hating Jewish lefties spend this much time agonizing over the fact that it’s a holiday that isn’t part of their culture?

      Somehow, I seriously doubt it.

      1. They did it for the money.

  52. My timing may be off here, but with the copious spare change you have at Christmas, maybe you could provide something to the poor in Ukraine (check the charity’s evaluation at Charity Navigator).

    As I’ve said before, I will compensate you by *not* posting, over the weekend, any links about

    (a) circumcision
    (b) deep-dish pizza
    (c) Abraham Lincoln
    (d) the Civil War
    (e) Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War
    (f) A circumcized Abraham Lincoln eating deep-dish pizza during the Civil War.

    1. Done. Merry Christmas, Eddie.

      1. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!

  53. So, how merry is everyone?

    1. I just started getting merry. I can’t drink all day anymore.

    2. This bottle of shiraz says “quite” 🙂

      Of course, I am just some dumb GODBAG CHRISTFAG who has stolen various pagan holidays and made people feel bad because I am daring to be happy about a remembrance of a major event in my faith. So I will just be happy to sit here with a glass and think as fondly of all of you as I can, and hope for the best for you…whether you like it or not! If I am supposed to love my enemies (considering that has been the HIG, JAM, AQ and Talib) how could I think any less of the H&R commentariat?

    3. Had some Victory 12 a couple Storm Kings and a couple Crabbies. Feeling nice. Probably done though.

  54. Why American Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas

    “Chinese restaurants were the easiest place to trick yourself into thinking you were eating Kosher food,” Ed Schoenfeld, the owner of RedFarm, one of the most laureled Chinese restaurants in New York, said…

    Schoenfeld, whose restaurant features an egg roll made with pastrami from Katz’s Deli, shrugs off the idea that Americanized Chinese food is somehow an affront to cultural virtue.

    I want one right now.

    1. “an egg roll made with pastrami from Katz’s Deli”

      USA! USA! USA!

      1. Damn straight! God bless America!

        1. Hey Ed, wanna grab a bag of eggrolls and do a road trip to Oberlin for the LULZ?

          1. Y’all gonna make some eggroll poopstickas?

            1. Ed and I are all outlaw like that. But we ain’t been to Missouri.

              1. Ya’ll think the folks in the Ohio don’t deserve some nice poopstickas to get their offended on like those Missouri snobs, huh?. Grinch/libertarians, what’s the real difference?

                1. Fine, be that way.

                  *Poops a swirly into a FedEx envelope addressed to John Kasich.*

            2. No, just a few Hannukkenkruzes.

    2. Always got a kick out of the SNL short Christmas time for the Jews.

  55. Today I grilled a rack of pork stuffed with broccoli, bacon, cheese, and fennel for my Jew woman, and then the little one danced to Michael Jackson and banged on her new drums until everyone prayed to be struck deaf. But Jesus didn’t deafen us. Jesus never deafens anyone. Fuck Jesus, and fuck Yahweh too.

      1. Don’t worry, I fulfilled my ancestors’ traditions by getting hammered. Maybe later I’ll nail a bull”s head over my door to honor Wotan or whatever. Or maybe I’ll just watch Buffy.

        1. We just had herring and beer.

        2. I’m not sure if anything is more awesome than nailing a bullhead over your door. *Gets fishing equip and goes to sit by muddy river, takes along much alcohol. Wife ‘you’re going to catch a what? What…’*.

    1. Who bought her the drums?

  56. Bah humbug

    *threatens kids with becoming JW converts before next Xmas again*

    1. I say the butler did it…

    2. Spirit of Christmas right there…

    3. Hillary caught on tape lighting it up for insurance money would be greatest Christmas gift ever.

      1. The email was erased…

    4. “It will be investigated and handled as a potential arson fire.”

      But *not* as a potential terrorist attack?!

  57. Merry X-Mas Peanuts! (where X is a variable).

    I am sorry to have been so busy lately. But I will make it up with pure reason – no GOP VoodDoo (and no Moonbattery either).

    1. Lick those cankles, loser.

    2. You should liek Trump, buttplug, he’s giving it hard to TEAM RED with a sandpaper prophylactic.

  58. Todd. As a fellow Atheist, I would advise you to not overthink it. If you and yours are healthy then be happy. Have some booze. Have some sex. Enjoy yourself. Christmas hasn’t been about religion for a long time for most people including most Christians. Relax. Also, Merry Christmas.

    1. I’m a rationalist but Christmas is just a date on the calander.

      Merry Christmas all!

      1. Palin’s Buttplug|12.25.15 @ 10:57PM|#
        “I’m a rationalist but Christmas is just a date on the calander.”

        “Rationalist” =/= ignoramus. You’re the latter.
        A celebration of the annual renewel is the time to wish the best to even those with whom you disagree.
        It is not the time, and there is none, to wish anything other than the worst to those who would enslave you.

    2. “Atheist” is a derogatory and misleading expletive for anyone not terrified by superstition. If evidence has convinced you of the value of life, truth, goodness and reason, that fact makes you different from superstitious, birth-forcing, collectivist fanatics running on revealed faith. So why use their n-word to help altruists make you into a pariah?

      1. I don’t consider it derogatory. I suppose some people say it in a derogatory manner but those people’s opinion on the subject is of no interest or concern to me.

      2. do you prefer douche-bag?

  59. I just got back from the creek, and I nailed a bullhead above my door. My neighbors were looking at me sort of funny. Maybe cause I forgot to wear pants to the creek. Is Santa coming now…. what was it he’s supposed to bringing? Fuck, I forgot what I’m supposed to do now…

  60. I am atheist, but I am content just spending the day with family and enjoying the traditions, most of which are about as secular as it gets in my family, that’s authentic enough for me.

    1. TomW|12.25.15 @ 11:13PM|#
      “I am atheist,”

      There are plenty atheists here, and looking up-thread, I didn’t notice a single one griping about Christmas.
      I hope the day was cheerful for you and yours, that you spread and received joy, that you and yours ate and drank well.

      1. Ah, a teevee-absorbing Homeland fan…

    2. Christmas is a secular holiday. Why do some Jews/Atheists/Buddhists hate annual gift man so much? I can kinda understand if you’re a depressed person who had an immediate family relative check out on the anniversary, particularly if by their own hand, but otherwise celebrate the solstice, Jesus’s birthday, stretching the lamp oil, college football bowl season or whatever end/new year occasion you particular faith approves of even if it is off a month or two.
      The Sun died and it is really nice, despite all the shivering, it is on its way back. Celebrate!

  61. My gawd, I was just on Steam forums listening to people whine and bitch about how evil Bethesda is for not putting Fallout 4 on sale today because it’s Christmas and evil corporashunz. I spent a few moments trying to explain to them how markets work and it just make them more stupid. Fuck, they want a repeat of the Soviet Union, they really do, they think that’s what it will take for them to be able to play new video games (which will no longer exist) for free.

    1. Why, the USSR was widely noted as the home of many game developers, much as Venezuela is the source of wood-pulp processors turning out toilet tissue.
      With the same result.

      1. I just wished them a Merry Christmas and left. They really cannot understand why they cannot emote things into becoming reality.

        1. Living in SF, that’s a battle I could fight several times a day if I wanted to.
          We have a recently elected member of the Board of Supes who is fervently in favor of ‘affordable housing’, meaning (as I’m sure you guessed) providing subsidized housing for those who can’t afford to live here and, coincidentally, might vote for this brain-dead lefty and others like him.
          So one of his plans is to make *all* rental subject to ‘rent-control’, rather than the pre-’75 units now covered. Kinda like raising the minimum wage to $100/hr, even the brain-damaged lefties are questioning this.
          A $1Bn ‘partner’ (developer) just pulled out of a public project when the gov’t upped the ‘affordable housing’ ratio to more than had been agreed; it has raised some eyebrows, and perhaps some ‘consciousness’.

          1. I don’t think it occurs to most people that their rent might not be so high and going up each year if it wasn’t for the government constantly raising taxes and regulation fees on the owners of the rentals.

            Here in MD, most people don’t seem to notice that their property taxes are almost as much as their mortgage or that the government might be somewhat responsible for the huge bubble in real estate values, they seem to think that evil capitalists are to blame for all of that. Go figure, I’m going to refer to juris imprudent’s post below about not being able to fix stupid.

      2. USSR did give us Tetris. And I think we can thank them for Thermonuclear War as well.

      3. Hey, they gave us Tetris.

      1. Pretty much explains team purple.

      2. Years ago, I caught one of his shows on TV; he riffed on an LEO wanting to inspect his private plane (for which plane he thanked the audience; ‘you bought that for me’, nice touch).
        More or less admitted to having medical dope (‘yeah, doc, I get nervous when I run low’), and it seems ran the gestapo off, regardless of a dog which was humping his leg or something.
        I like the guy.

    2. Eh, software is kind of a thorny issue though. The government has taken away consumer’s rights and given it to corporations.

      For instance, you can’t buy a game on Steam, finish it, then sell it to someone else.

      These days, you can’t buy a game in a region where it’s cheaper.

      Free market, it’s not.

      1. Really? You chose a Steam-licensed game as your example?

      2. Wow. Just wow.

        Please, point me to the legislation that made reselling Steam games illegal.

        Oh, that’s right – there isn’t one.

        And you can buy it in a region where its cheaper – but Steam doesn’t have to let you run it through their platform.

        So its not *government* who’s taken away any rights, but simply the loss of a privilege previously enjoyed by license holders – IOW, *exactly the free market*.

        1. Right. You are free to buy the game on dvd or buy it for a PlayStation and resell it later. If it is more convenient to buy a streaming copy, then the trade off is that you don’t have a physical copy to sell later. We live in the most amazing time for video games and everyone is a whiny bitch about it.

  62. Jesus is the reason for the season!

      1. Reason is the Jesus for the season.

  63. Nope, not gonna read the comments, it’s Xmas and we have my brothers home brew, wine and Crown to drink after a fine locally grown ham dinner.

    362 comments on 12/25….pretty impressive.

    1. That’s because of the missing lynx.

  64. And with the Waltz of the Flowers, I bid you a pleasant good evening:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg1dMpu4v7M

  65. I tried to order Chinese delivery for Christmas Dinner… but the place I order from was closed.

    Curse you, globalization and secularization!!! *shakes fist*

    1. I always use FedEx during the Holidays.

  66. Prepare for interesting times. Closing in on Jesus-tag the reality control telescreen operators scripting “Homeland” saw fit to have a terrorist plotting to nerve-gas a terminal full of German travelers declare “I am an atheist!” Birth-forcing ‘Murrican christianofascism is evidently putting out feelers for an alliance with islamofascism and conservative National Socialism toward finding a Final Solution against “deniers” who insist on quibbling over evidence instead of accepting the Revealed Word.

    Note to foreign readers: “Homeland” is an agitprop telescreen drama in which blonde, blue-eyed Aryans–hobbled in their efforts by disloyal “liberals” weilding an outdated Bill of Rights–struggle against selfish plutocrats and heretical non-Christians to make their world safe for Faith-based altruism and Creation Science.

  67. Okay, Reason, Christmas holidays are over. Get to work. Posters need to post.

  68. Sounds like one heck of a plan to me dude.

    http://www.GoneAnon.tk

  69. How do existential Jewish atheists deal with the only gift I was expecting lost in transit?

  70. was lost in transit

  71. If you were an atheist Yogi as myself you would understand that it is important to honor others beliefs. It is not one’s purpose in life to retain a fixed set of belief and ruin everyone else holiday by objecting to their beliefs. It is our mission to honor the eternal in all creation while putting aside you petty beliefs for a day or two.

  72. It’s a X-mas miracle! I, a self-proclaimed Grinchy McScroogerson, awoke filled with the holiday spirit, my cold shrivelled heart has been embiggened with love and ho….huh, what’s that…it was yesterday… Oh well fuck it then.
    *goes back to being a miserable misanthrope*

  73. Family, friends, food and presents — oh yes, and world peace . . . what better way to end one year and start another?

  74. “What to the Atheist Existentialist Jew is the Meaning of Christmas?”

    I’ll take “Questions nobody is asking for $100. Alex!”

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