Jay, your amazement at having come across carolers singing “Silent Night” on the street in Manhattan last night reminded me of an entry in the “Stuff White People Like” blog from a few years back. (For those unfamiliar with it, it was a satirical blog that regularly mocked the self-aware, guilt-ridden, and irony-padded culture of young liberal elites, more or less).
The post in question, which explains the popularity of ugly-sweater parties during the Christmas season, at one point describes a hypothetical encounter between a party host and guest:
These parties feature festive drinks, Christmas music by Sufjan Stevens, and most importantly, intentionally hideous sweaters. These ugly sweaters provide white people with an invisible shield that protects them from any criticism that might emerge if any Christianity accidentally slips into the evening.
“Hey man, I love that Burl Ives song, but um, you let Silent Night slip into the mix. That’s kind of awkward because, you know, the Crusades?”
White person points to sweater and makes a funny face.
Order is restored.