Friday, November 11, 2005

Happy Holidaze

This is ridiculous. WalMart, ever attempting to burnish its tarnished image, fired a new employee for honestly answering a customer's complaint about the store using a Happy Holidays theme instead of caving in to this emerging obsession among the fundie fruitcakes who think only their religion counts and the store should kowtow to them by proudly declaring Merry Christmas and the hell with those "other heathens" who don't celebrate the holiday.

Personally I always liked Happy Holidays. For one thing there's so many darn events clustered together from Thanksgiving through to New Year's that it always seemed more expansive. I mean you wish someone Merry Christmas, that doesn't include New Years as well, you know what I mean? But the idiocy of the controversy aside, I thought the now terminated employee, Kirby, gave a respectful and informative answer.

The e-mail, which Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman said was genuine, said Wal-Mart had to act as a global organization in a world with many different practices.

''The colors associated with Christmas red and white are actually a representation of the aminita mascera (sic) mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses (sic), mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal. It is a wide wide world,'' said the e-mail, from a customer service worker identified only as Kirby.

WalMart called it inflammatory and disavowed any support for it's entirely factual contents. I thought Kirby gave a brilliant answer, but I suppose such critical thinking would feel threatening to WalMart. They much prefer obedient automatons. Kirby's better off out of there but his answer did remind me of the old Christmas cards and other European holiday themes where amanita mushrooms are prominently featured. It never occurred to me to find out why until now.

I'm not so sure this explains why it's lucky but as the author points out,
It appears that Amanita muscaria, commonly called “deadly” in our part of the world, is probably humanity’s oldest entheogen, or connection to the gods. During its long history it has been used to induce visions in mystic and magical practices, some of them dating back 4,000 years. These psychedelic properties were applied in our millennium by Siberian shamans, among others, who apparently ingested small amounts to bring on their trances.
It could explain the visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads....


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