FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Truth and Christmas

by CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM

So it was Christmas, the pagan sorcerer’s fire festival.   Remember these ancient origins: the tree is lit on December 21, solstice, darkest day of the year, to re-ignite the sun and return the land to warmth.   The red and the white of the big bearded and the jolly, the Donner and the Dancer flying, only find color and fly because of psychedelic mushrooms eaten in the tundra.

The fire festivals of the lit pine trees span the sky.  In Brooklyn we used to drag the trees into the street and set them aflame.   Cops watched and nodded.  The message to the sun is that of life that abides and celebrates its abiding, its return.   The sun answers the bonfire.  We talk about winter starting on December 21, but in fact this is the date winter ends: the darkness lessens every day in the fire of the pine trees.

The old corruption, greasy and tired, tells us not to drag the trees out into the streets and set them aflame.   It says that we have to fetishize the tree, fill its little winking trap with water and prop around its trunk many fool trinkets that glow and blink.   We are supposed to place the tree in our living rooms straight and tall, though it is dying by our placement.

But of course.  We all know this.  So it was Christmas.  I could yadda yadda about Christmas too much stuff useless plastics yadda not needed yadda returns useless thanks so much waste of time I love you so much this sucks completely moronic yes it’s great thanks so much idiot this I love you so it fits me just right I just wanted something you wanted me to want you to want and want and I say you had a chance when you really loved me –

And also: Gawd he doesn’t even understand.  And: how she could she even think. And: calculate purchase price of gift received vs. purchase price of gift given.  And: are we both insane?

The truth about Christmas as celebrated in America is the truth the entire planet embraces.   We are primitive creatures.  We worship idols.  We worship dead objects, and give to these objects a totemic significance.

Erich Fromm had smart words on this matter, which I here paraphrase: The worship of dead objects, the culture of death worship, has its necessary effect in the diminishing of the flesh and blood engaged in the giving and the receiving.  The wretched creatures are mere means for the objects.

For my part, I see the Christmas season as that of the Great Asshole, though I love my family and forgive them for the embrace of the Asshole.  They are well-trained in the act; we have years and years of training.  This Asshole does not merely shit: It sucks, it vacuums, it swallows, it subsumes, though at the same time it fires out the fierce and wicked tide of its effluent, which is acquisition, the tasty object, the thing desired.  The Christmas gathering is that of the many Assholes, dancing though grumpy, taught in the manners, ready for the giving for the getting that’s bigger, the fire high, the smoke ready.   Here is this dark and terrible swelling; here is this fine-grained and scientifically pubic breathing.  (I wonder how many suicides at Christmas are a result of compacted feces.)  Here the gaunt veins, the keening of the fibers; here the shades of black, grey, brown; here the knotted brow, the sweat, the anxious waiting, the readiness of the compunction.   I bid you to think of Christmas Consumerist as sitting on the can trying to shit out whatever will satisfy, our loved ones in the toilet with mouths open.   Freud said shit is a primitive expression of amor.

Christopher Ketcham writes for Harper’s, the American Prospect, Orion, and many other magazines.  He can be reached at cketcham99@mindspring.com

Christopher Ketcham is a freelance writer.  You can write him at cketcham99@mindspring.com or see more of his work at christopherketcham.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 27, 2017
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail