Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘supporting the troops

‘Meanwhile, the Holiday-Industrial Complex Has Expanded to Fill the Entire Last Third of the Year’

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Whereas previously Thanksgiving was a kind of warm-up for Christmas, inaugurating the holiday season, we now have to contend with a new abomination: Halloween as a holiday for adults.

The regressive childishness that the adult Halloween encourages serves to reinforce the sentimentality surrounding Christmas, while the emphasis on “sexy” costumes reproduces one of the most oppressive aspects of Christmas, namely, the degree to which it totally and utterly sucks to be single during the holiday season. For most of the year, one has a normal reaction to a state of singleness — perhaps it’s a welcome break, perhaps it leaves one feeling lonely, etc. — but during the holiday season, one invariably feels like a failure. The sexualization of a childhood activity lays the groundwork for these feelings by reinforcing the link — which has always struck me as strange and creepy — between the childhood nostalgia of Christmas and the imperative of romance.

The inclusion of Halloween into the holiday season also brings the oppressive spectacle of New Year’s Eve more sharply into focus. Not only are we obligated to have fun on that night — ensuring that we won’t — but the hapless single person gets one last kick in the teeth, as they ring in the New Year with no one to kiss.

Building off Natalie Cecire’s piece on Scroogism and reproductive futurity that I linked yesterday, Adam Kotsko has some thoughts on the expansion of the Holiday-Industrial Complex:

One can already see efforts to bring Thanksgiving more fully within the orbit of the holiday-industrial complex. The creation of a new quasi-holiday known as “Black Friday” out of what was formerly known as “the day after Thanksgiving” certainly helps here, but even more insidious is the sense that the “thanks” we should be “giving” is owed to “the troops” — integrating nationalism more firmly into the celebrations. This element of nationalism is obviously also present in the summer “eating” holidays that otherwise share many of the desirable attributes I’ve pointed out in Thanksgiving, but the gesture toward the troops is often superficial. The advantage of eliciting such feelings on Thanksgiving is that it is folded into the totalitarian atmosphere of the holidays, where sentiments must be sincerely present or, at worst, their absence must be explicitly marked by replacement feelings of guilt.

One should probably expect troop-focused piety to increasingly characterize Thanksgiving in coming years, and it is likely that “Black Friday” shopping will also come to encroach more and more on Thanksgiving Day itself — I wouldn’t be surprised if we even learned that shopping is a great way to work off those Thanksgiving calories. Those of us seeking low-key holidays with simple and clear obligations will have to wait until summertime, when we can enjoy our grilled meats and fireworks without feeling guilty for not loving our family enough or not having found true love or not having enough fun.

National Stupid Day

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Links for Wednesday

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* Domestic terrorism watch: a gas line was cut at the home of Virginia Representative Tom Perriello’s brother one day after the address was posted on a Tea Party blog advising those angry about the health care decision to “drop by.” The FBI is investigating. Bart Stupak has also been receiving death threats. Ten members of Congress have received increased security protection in the wake of the health care passage.

* Of course, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are continuing to egg these nuts on.

* Fox News continues to devote its august attention to the real stories, like the possibility that terrorists could use breast implants to bring down airplanes.

* Insane GOP obstructionism brings Senate reform closer. Today they invoked the ridiculous “2 PM” rule to block a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Supporting the troops! Because, you know, country first.

* Leading GOP Congressmen are already seeking to take credit for the health care bill they spent the last 18 months demonizing—even while other factions in the party continue to demonize it:

What House Minority Leader John A. Boehner has called the Battle of Capitol Hill is over. I expect that the Battle of the Electorate is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of a nonsocialist America. Upon it depends our own American way of life and the long continuity of our institutions and our history. The whole fury and might of the media and the Democratic party must very soon be trained on the electorate.

If they can stand up to the coming propaganda, America may be free, and the life of the wider free world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if the voters succumb to those seven months of blandishments and deceptions, then free America — including all that we have known and cared for — will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Oh, no! Not perverted science!

* Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?The paper reviews the relevant features of the legislation, Congress‟ rationale and record supporting the requirement (generally called the “individual mandate”), relevant constitutional provisions and judicial precedents, and reform opponents‟ arguments challenging the lawfulness of the mandate. The paper concludes that the mandate is lawful and clearly so – pursuant either to Congress‟ authority to “regulate commerce among the several states,” or to its authority to “lay and collect taxes to provide for the General Welfare.”1 With respect to Congress‟ interstate commerce authority, the goals that drive this legislation – including achieving universal coverage, eliminating adverse selection, eliminating pre-existing conditions as a prerequisite for coverage, facilitating broad-scale pooling of individuals not covered by group health plans, and radically reducing costly emergency room visits by uninsured individuals – are eminently lawful objects for the exercise of that power. In the context of current health insurance market circumstances and the framework of the legislation, the use of an individual mandate, structured as it is to ensure affordability for all who are subject to it, is likewise an eminently rational and well-supported (“necessary and proper” in the words of Article I, §8) means for achieving these goals. The same goals and choice of means fit the mandate snugly within precedents broadly defining Congress‟ authority to tax and spend. (via Ezra Klein)

* Why so many colleges (including Duke!) are teaching The Wire.

* 1,000 days of embargo in Gaza.

* Headlines I can believe in: “James Cameron: Glenn Beck Is A ‘Madman’ & ‘F**king A**hole.'”

* A brief history of whiteness.

* And Jim DeMint gets Waterlooed. Hasn’t happened to a nicer guy since Mr. Burns. (Sorry, German and Spanish only!)

Lots of Monday Links

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* Game of the day: Every Day the Same Dream. (via)

* Building the best lede ever: A self-styled Nevada codebreaker [check] convinced the CIA [check] he could decode secret terrorist targeting information sent through Al Jazeera broadcasts [check], prompting the Bush White House [check] to raise the terror alert level to Orange (high) in December 2003, [check] with Tom Ridge warning of “near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experience on September 11,” [check] according to a new report in Playboy. [and mate]

* Al Franken tries to convince the Kossacks that the health care bill is good. So does Jonathan Cohn. Jane Hamsher’s 10 Reasons to Kill the Senate Bill. Harry Reid, progressive hero? Progressive senators are still grumbling. What could still be sped up. What could still go wrong. Health care winners and losers (and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line).

* Monster post at MyDD on our broken Senate.

* Good Christians pray for the death of Robert Byrd. Jesus wept.

* It’s only treason when Democrats do it.

* After 20 years, Sen. Whitehouse has finally figured out the Republican Party is not negotiating in good faith.

* Grist considers whether or not climate debt is a workable frame for ecological politics.

* Laredo, Texas, is now the country’s largest book desert.

* Sumerians Look On In Confusion As God Creates World. Via the Onion‘s top ten stories of the last 4.5 billion years, which I think I already linked to once with the dinosaurs story.

* And the stolen ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign has been recovered.