(WHEATLEY, ON) – The weather is getting colder, the leaves are turning, and festive decorations are appearing in stores. It’s that time of year again; time for war.
The so-called War on Christmas comes around every year when we’re told by the media that Christians are upset that Christmas is being taken out of American culture.
Bill O’Reilly comes out of his cave and claims the war is real, and he’s winning it. His FOX news counterparts claim that Christianity is being outlawed and soon we won’t be allowed to say Merry Christmas in church. And, every news website insists that the biggest holiday of the year is in peril.
The real question is, “Is anybody really offended?”
This year’s festivities started with Starbucks. If you’ve been following the news this week you’ve no doubt heard about the coffee brand’s new cup design. Apparently, plain red sends Americans into a frenzy like the bull from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, or so we’re told to believe.
One of the first to play their outrage card was YouTube vlogger Josh Feuerstein, a conservative Christian who makes intentionally inflammatory videos in order to anger liberals and rake in those sweet, sweet YouTube views.
If you’ve seen his videos before, you’ll know that Feurstein will take anything from coffee cups to Obama’s haircut and spin it so that it’s a threat to his God, his country, or his guns. He’s a provocateur.
He lives to stir up controversy because it’s made him a lot of money on the internet. Outrage is, literally, his business.
And one person is all the media needs to start it’s war coverage.
Within days of Feuerstein’s video, everyone from CNN to CTV Windsor was reporting on people who are enraged by the Starbucks cup design. Forget the fact that basically nobody is actually upset, you can’t get ratings from calm, rational behaviour.
Getting people whipped into a frenzy against an invisible enemy is big business in the media. The more news outlets tell people that, “liberals and Muslims are trying to take Christmas away,” however untrue, makes them more likely to click on more articles, tune in longer, and engage others in comment sections.
Never mind the fact that every time America declares war on abstract concepts they inevitably lose. The war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war on obesity.
While America may be good at winning real wars with real people, when they declare it on ideas the battle rages on and on with no end. Despite conservative news powerhouse Bill O’Reilly’s claims that he personally won the War on Christmas years ago, apparently the fighting has started once again.
Do you know anyone who is actually offended by Starbucks cups? Do you know anyone who has been reprimanded at work for saying Merry Christmas?
The fact is that 80% of Americans celebrate Christmas and the retail industry rakes in over $6 billion in November and December. If you go to your local Wal-Mart you’ll find 800 Santas before you find one menorah.
Nobody is attacking Christmas. It’s not going away. Please, don’t feed into the hype.
A healthy dose of scepticism is essential in the day of click-bait journalism. Celebrate whatever you want, with whomever you want, and don’t let the media tell you you’re a soldier in a fantasy war.