Christmas and Creeping Commercialism

Christmas morning.  Up at 5:55.  Start the coffee.  Try to stretch or shake out the nagging little aches that come with getter older.  Inconvenient or annoying maybe.  But that sure beats the alternative.

Open the door to the chill of winter air.  Pick the newspaper up off of the front porch.  Wow, this has more bulk and weight than usual.  Did something important happen last night?  What could it be?  Did our politicians in Washington return to being “statesmen” as opposed to polarized egomaniacal pawns of special interest groups?  Did they find solutions to the Fiscal Cliff or the proliferation of high capacity semi-automatic weapons?  Did we achieve World peace?  Or put an end to World hunger?

That was way too much to contemplate before my first cup of coffee.  Nonetheless, I laid the newspaper on the kitchen counter and scanned over the headlines.  Above the fold, we had two headlines:
  • “A Woman’s Faith Brings Live-Action Nativity to Rancho Cordova - Every Year Since 1981.”  That certainly is fitting for the holiday.  After all, December 25th is the date selected by the Pope of the Roman Church long ago to celebrate Christ’s birth.  He needed something to compete with the winter solstice celebrations.  By the Fourth Century, the Eastern Church shifted from January 6th to join the fold.
  • “Losing a Home Wasn’t the End.”  It was not necessarily the feel-good story that might be inferred from the headline.  Rather than telling the story of a down-trodden family returning from the brink, the article was about the rebound in the real estate market and the opportunities to buy under today’s favorable conditions.
Below the fold, we had “Marketing for Video Games, Guns Overlaps.”  In seeking out more “reality” in their products, video game manufacturers obtain licenses from gun manufacturers.  In effect, the gaming industry promotes weapon brands.  Now this could be news particularly when the NRA blamed the violent video games for gun violence.  We scoffed at that.  So what Wayne LaPierre of the NRA meant was “You can watch a video game, click on a link, and buy a gun.”  Did you get that from his rant on Friday?  And, by the way, the video games also have links to military recruiters.  The editors of the Sacramento Bee culled the story from the New York Times but kept it below the fold.  Maybe this is not anything new.  Isn’t “news” something new? 

Obviously, Christmas Eve did not offer much on the news front.

By now, the coffee was kicking in.  Sort out the paper into two piles:  One was “News” which includes sports and the “Living Here” section; the other was “Ads.”  The Ads pile won overwhelmingly.  Its margin of victory was close to the Thanksgiving (“Black Friday Eve”) edition.

Aren’t people “shopped out” by now?   Apparently not.  The Holidays shopping season just keeps going.  But at least the season has not engulfed Christmas Day . . . yet.

Then I looked at my email.  Let’s see, some "hot Ukrainian girl" wanted to have a virtual meeting.  Deleted.  Viagra and Cialis were on sale.  Deleted.  The spam was down, however.  Do the spammers also close on Christmas?

One email was “real.”  Guitar Center sent me a coupon for $100 off on any purchase over $499.  Oh, wow, new guitar?  Amp?  Mics?  Then, I read the banner across the trees.

“Just Today”!


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