For many years, I’ve written about “Merry Christmas,” and the sensitivity to that phrase, not to say hostility to it. It has been all but rendered verboten. I wrote a piece on this subject ten years ago: “December’s C-Word” (that would be “Christmas”).
You know whom this semi-verbotenization is most insulting of? Non-Christians. Because the implication is they will get the heebie-jeebies if they hear the word “Christmas” — which is ridiculous (as well as insulting).
I was reminded of this last week when reading a column by Dennis Prager: “Mazel Tov, Christians!” I was further reminded when listening to the Christmas greeting of the Israeli prime minister:
We celebrate Christmas with you. We know the importance you attach to our common heritage, to the State of Israel, and to the City of Jerusalem, where so much of our common history was forged.
We have a great past, we have common values, we have the desire to seize a common future of security, prosperity, and peace. So, from the city of peace, Jerusalem, I extend the warmest Christmas greetings to all of you. Merry Christmas.
That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Merry Christmas to you, too, Dennis and Bibi. (Dennis, I know a bit. Netanyahu, I merely affect familiarity with.)
From the sublime to the — less so. I was reading an interview by the Daily Caller of Bill Press, the Democratic broadcaster. They asked him, “Who is your celebrity crush?” He said Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York (Democrat, of course).
I remembered what Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, said about her, at a fundraiser: “We in the Senate refer to Senator Gillibrand as the ‘hottest member.’”
Yowww. I have to wonder how Gillibrand feels about this: being the objet de désir of septuagenarian Democrats.
A news story out of Paris:
Horse riders and trainers are demonstrating against a plan to nearly triple the tax on riding schools in France.
Enthusiasts fear the higher tax will make lessons too expensive, and force many schools to close. And they worry it will further chip away at rural traditions already struggling in a stagnant economy.
I reflected for a moment on left-wing hostility to horse-riding. I thought of the derision Ann Romney faced when it was learned that she worked with horses. (Apparently, she does this as a way of coping with multiple sclerosis. At least, that’s one reason she does it, I believe.) I further thought of Tip O’Neill’s pronouncement on Ronald Reagan:
“The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and the future generations of America, and who likes to ride a horse. He’s cold. He’s mean. He’s got ice water for blood.”
Yes. And did he mention he likes to ride a horse?
The New York Times published an interesting obit of Kalashnikov, the gun guy. I would like to make two points on it. Consider this excerpt: “The weapon, he said, was designed to protect his motherland, not to be used by terrorists or thugs. ‘This is a weapon of defense,’ he said. ‘It is not a weapon for offense.’”
Needless to say, Mikhail Kalashnikov knew much more about guns than I ever will. But I have always thought of a gun as a neutral instrument: used for offense or defense. Used to attack a man or to defend oneself against him (by attacking him).
Next, Kalashnikov appears to have been a great admirer of Stalin: “I never knew him personally, and I regret this.”
There are a thousand things to say about Stalin — but let me quote an article by Daniel Hannan, which I read shortly after I read the Kalashnikov obit: “Josef Stalin . . . arrested virtually the entire Russian Orthodox priesthood — 130,000 men, of whom 95,000 were shot.”