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Keillor in New York City in November, 2008.(Will Ragozzino/Getty Images)

Garrison Keillor, self-appointed cultural representative of regular old Americans, ruffled some feathers yesterday with a mildly xenophobic rant about Christmas. After lambasting a Unitarian church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for “spiritual piracy and cultural elitism”—tweaking the lyrics of “Silent Night” for a singalong, in layman’s terms—he turned his ire in a different direction:

And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write ‘Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we’ll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah’? No, we didn’t. Christmas is a Christian holiday—if you’re not in the club, then buzz off.

The Baltimore Sun got some angry letters about this, and understandably so. Hating on Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” is, in a way, the same thing as the American Family Association’s boycott of the Gap for its “failure” to use the word Christmas in ads: both actions reject a dilution of Christmas by outsiders, just in slightly different ways. It certainly does not accord with the generous holiday spirit. And anyway: “Dreck?” Really? Who’s co-opting whom?

Nonbelievers, Please Leave Christmas Alone [Baltimore Sun]





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