Thursday, December 22, 2011

God Hates the Mayan Calendar

I stole the title from a satiric news item issued by a UU friend, Bob Parks, who is a pleasure to be on Facebook with.  Now, I could have said "with whom it is a pleasure . . ." but I have never used the word whom knowingly in my life.  I was an English major, so there is some weight and knowledge behind this preference of mine.  Long ago I learned there are roughly two kinds of grammar - prescriptive and descriptive.  Prescriptive is what grownups told you, like "Don't say ain't."  It is often a way to distinguish class. Descriptive grammar - it's obvious what it means - it tells us how we actually talk.  It is not about should, a mean jaggy acid-green word, but rather about is, a pleasant little earth-brown word.

Where was I?  At first I thought Bob was reprinting an actual news item titled "Christian Objects to Mayan Calendar."  Then the satire got obvious.  Point being, it is very difficult to satirize some things because they are already bending reality quite a bit.  I would be surprised if you could not find somewhere a fundamentalist who is denouncing the belief in the Mayan Calendar as unGodly.  And yeah, it is.  Here's news:  most of the people in the world do not hold to your particular belief system.

As someone who is always on the outskirts of things, practicing the steps my own way, I am fascinated by the amount of in-group stuff I see.  In the fundamentalist Buddhist community, furious discussion about whether we can prove the Buddha existed, some of it from people who clearly have no interest in working on Right Speech (well, if there's no Buddha, there are not precepts - maybe that's the point).  From fundamental Christian friends, Boycott Target because the store is using Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  So as I get it, when you are spending hundreds of dollars on toys for the kids to umm, celebrate the sacred birth, you want it to be from a retailer who does not hesitate to offend Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim etc. customers by focusing on Christians.

What is this?  Can't you people just enjoy your cookies without making the point that you are superior to the rest of the world?  Isn't the larger point of all these celebrations this time of year that the sun also rises, that the days will be longer now, that there is a miraculous birth over and over?  That we can feast?

Well, maybe it's their version of the holiday blues.  Some people fight depression with anger.  I know how it is.  You're not lonely, you're special.  Like that.  Myself, I like festivities that do not center around gorging yourself or drinking and making loud noises or drinking and marching through city streets and dying the river green.  This is it - a time of year when we think about giving and being connected, as in fact, we are.


  1. Once again, you speak my thoughts.
    Thank you!

  2. Interesting stuff. Too frightened to say much else as I am not too sure about the grammar thing. :-/

  3. Jeanne, what a good post. You summed up exactly how I feel about the whole "fiasco."

    On a side note, grammar is always interesting to me (English nerd here), so I like to make my path somewhere down the middle of prescriptive and DESCRIPTIVE grammar. So fun.

    Loved this: "most of the people in the world do not hold to your particular belief system."

    Amen, sister.

  4. Pix, I know you don't mean it about the grammar thing - I am retired, I don't grade people. Karen, thank you. Seems like a lot of good bloggers are English nerds (doing something other than write the Great American (or Canadian) novel. And thank you, Colette. I love your continuous art-making.

  5. Amen sista and have a very merry christmas , joy to the world....i have a bird in the hand on my google reader ...

    hugz bev

  6. I was in the American Embassy getting new pages in my passport, and on one side of me were two Mormon missionaries, and the other an ex-Iraq and Afghanistan War Viet. He turned to me and said, "Of all the people in the world, picking on the peaceful Buddhists is the wrong ones to convert. They only listen to them because they are kind. The missionaries should go try that in any Muslim country!" And after a chuckle, we became friends and I showed him a temple in Bangkok after we had lunch.
    But again we pick sides, further drawing lines between us and others and I am guilty of this as well.