Sunday, 25 December 2016

Humbug

FFS, it's taken over an hour of fannying about with an inexplicably slow laptop to get to the point where I can actually get on with writing this blog post. I forsee Windows 10 being replaced with Linux in the very near future.
The only trouble is that I've completely forgotten what I was going to say, so I'll just wing it and see what happens.

We took ourselves off into Ely today for a walk, expecting it to be pretty well deserted, and apart from a few people who had booked their christmas lunch at assorted pubs and restaurants, those determined to get a bit of fresh air and the occasional dog walker, it was.
It was almost spooky how quiet it was, and I was taken back to those days before the country became a 24/7 culture, when it was like this EVERY Sunday.
How nice it was back then to have just one day a week when the world didn't run around like a toddler who's eaten all the blue Smarties.
Why do people have to wait for the annual commercial festival of greed and gluttony to be able to chill out for 24 hours. Is it too much to ask for just one day off a week from all the bullshit?
Of course it is, because almost everyone insists on continuing to go along with the whole christmas bollocks even though they're not christians and don't go to church, but the idea of having a day of rest more than once a year has become alien to the masses.

In a world where we now expect everything to be available at any time of day, and you can order something from Amazon on Saturday afternoon and it be delivered to your door by a man in a van on Sunday, any notion of actually stopping and just spending a day doing nothing fills the average person with dread - hence people reacting to the supermarkets being closed for one day by panic-buying enough food to feed a small country for a month.

As I've said before, I don't do christmas. Nothing, zip, zilch, nada.
In fact I find the whole thing tasteless, with my biggest bugbear being the rampant commercialism involved.
It usually starts around September with all the adverts for restaurants wanting you to "book now for xmas dinner" and gradually increases in intensity until about mid November by which time the shops are stacked to the gills with all sorts of shit nobody needs.
From then on it's full-throttle in-your-face "BUY! BUY! BUY!" until the big day finally arrives and everyone's faced with the fact that it's not like it's portrayed on the telly and all that's really happened is everyone has eaten so much they feel ill and is vowing to go to the gym in the new year, even though they won't be able to because their massive credit card bill won't allow it.

I'm sure back in Charles Dickens' time when workers earned barely enough to pay the rent and eat one meagre meal a day, went to church every Sunday and christmas was the only day they got off in a year, things would have been very different. It would have meant something and the run-up to it would maybe last a couple of days.
But today, when we can have a big fuck-off roast dinner pretty much whenever we like, don't have to save for a whole year to afford a kid's bicycle, and hardly anyone goes to church - what place does christmas really have?
Tradition? Yeah, right. We used to have Sundays where all the shops were shut, but that got in the way of businesses making more money, so there's one tradition that went out the window easy enough.
Saying something is tradition is no different from saying "we've always done it this way" and ploughing on regardless of the alternatives.
Sure, it's nice to have a few days break in the depths of winter when you don't have to go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, but we can take a week off without the excuse of some outdated religious festival that was supposed to celebrate the birth of the 'son of god' despite the belief that Jesus wasn't even born in December (if at all), and it only happens then because the church wanted to lure people away from the feast of Saturnalia etc to join their cult instead.

As it will have become clear by now, I am not religious, but I do respect other people's right to believe in whatever they like as long as they don't inflict it on others.
I'm not a christian so I consider it wrong for me to celebrate a christian festival.
I despise the way christmas has been turned into a shameless money-making machine, backed up by such a tidal wave of commercial propaganda that nearly everyone gets swept along without questioning why they're doing it.
It stinks.
You don't show your family you love them by giving them a pair of slippers once a year, but by your words and actions every time you see them.
If you see something you know a close friend would really like, just buy it for them as a surprise gift - it will be far more satisfying than running around Debenhams on christmas eve desperately looking for inspiration.
Want a family get-together? Why not arrange a barbecue during the summer?
Like twinkly fairy lights around your windows and a selection of glittery tat on a plastic fir tree? Fine - have it all year round if you like; why sit there clucking like a junkie waiting for his next fix until December 1st rolls around again so you can drag it all out of the loft?

In these supposedly enlightened times, it surprises me that people continue to employ the sheep mentality over christmas, seemingly unable or unwilling to get over the "we've always done it this way" attitude and make their own choices based on reason, but there're little sign of rebellion except for a few individuals who're generally shouted down and accused of being a Grinch or Scrooge.
So although I wouldn't stand up and shout that christmas should be abolished (though it would be nice) I would love to see more people take a step back from it all and think carefully about what christmas really means. How much comes from the bible, and how much comes from big business?
We've been given brains and the ability to use them, so why not do so?

See? Forget the plan and it turns into a rant. Oh well, whatever....