December 21, 2007

Secular Specials

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,The Occasional Godliness — Katrina @ 11:53 pm

So the other night, my dad was commenting about the Charlie Brown Christmas special, and how it’s different from all the other specials in that it mentions Jesus. This was, of course, accompanied with some whining about “oh noes, Jesus can’t be mentioned because the Jews and Muslims would complain!”

I told him that, first of all, there is nothing stopping other specials from mentioning Jesus, and that it’s not just the fear of offending non-Christians preventing producers from choosing to. There’s that secular Christmas characters are much more profitable. Also, if a nativity special were done, you’d also have to worry about Christians themselves bitching about it. Staying secular, you’re not treading on sacred ground, so no harm there. Do a religious one, and you risk portraying something “wrong”.

But, as I also told my dad, in spite of this, he’s wrong about that in the first place. Charlie Brown Christmas is far from the only special that even mentions Jesus. It’s just the only one that gets played on primetime network TV that does.

Simpsons, South Park, King of the Hill, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, and many other shows of the like have included the nativity in some way in their Christmas episodes. Of course, they’re all shows that are in no way out to impress people in a general sort, they exist to entertain and don’t care whose toes they step on. So it’s safe for them.

Then I remembered Animaniacs. It’s been SO many years since I’ve seen it, but I recall they had a Christmas episode which had a nativity segment. Yakko, Wakko, and Dot were poor shepherds wandering the desert to go visit the manger. Wakko was the Little Drummer Boy, and they did a few musical scenes. Something like that. So, yeah, for a daytime cartoon within the past fifteen years, one made by Steven Spielburg no less, to feature the nativity, I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a dying Christmas story.

So, really, where is this idea of “you’re not allowed to associate Christmas with Jesus anymore” even coming from? Oh, wait, that’s right, my dad, your typical persecution-complex stricken baby boomer who is only “Christian” when he’s using it as a point to make himself seem better than Jews or Muslims. Sadly, he’s hardly the only person like that.

I mean, I’m not saying there isn’t some degree of fear of mentioning the religious aspects of Christmas, but I think it’s greatly exaggerated. And even for what there is, there’s no shortage of intelligent people calling bullshit. So everything’s fine.

1 Comment

  1. Your dad sounds like my pastor

    Comment by Phantom777 — December 24, 2007 @ 5:40 pm

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