I have just three and a half days left of ‘The Unpleasantness’ before I can put my feet up for Christmas. By mutual agreement, this year in this house turkey, mince pies, Christmas cake, and Christmas puddings have all been banned and our duty to other relatives is met by giving them lunch in a restaurant run by friends. Then it will be back home, lock the doors, take the phone off the hook and not watch Madge’s speech or the usual soul-destroying Christmas specials starring bargain bin celebrity nobodies. It will, in fact, be absolute heaven for a week or more as none of us do that awful stuff drabs in their sad Christmas jumpers want to make obligatory.
But before I go, I cannot resist one last trawl of the Manx Yuletide disaster zone.
For example, this (see http://www.isleofman.com/News/details/75596/simple-steps-to-a-more-sustainable-christmas ) had me howling in merriment. As it happens, by choice The Management and I stopped getting Christmas presents years ago, but if we did get one from such a berk we would have great fun working out the most environmentally unfriendly way to dispose of the wrapper and contents. Seriously, what kind of virtue-signalling twonk wastes their life thinking up such nonsense? Just… get a job, and preferably not one the public have to subsidise.
Then there was http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/traditional-christmas-carols-at-the-sea-terminal-1-7633414 . If this event depends so heavily upon the general public that might be because it is organised by a public employee commonly blamed for running down the Manx government’s music services and putting off most of the best teachers and players.
Other government interventions into the festive season include http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/children-celebrate-a-manx-victorian-christmas-1-7625172 . Surely if this was an authentic Victorian Christmas most of the participants would be dead or have rickets. Come to think of it, the way Manx health and social services is going they might have anyway – or be lucky to see the New Year in.
If I could be bothered to get serious about the antics of career losers and timewasters the current Manx arts and culture industry obsession with Christianity and plastic patriotism would be a major worry.
Take http://www.iomarts.com/news/articles/no-king-but-god-tells-eye-opening-perspective-of-life-on-the-margins/ or the decision to award grants to amateur/semi-pro music groups to put on explicitly Christian carol concerts (rather than Christmas concerts). Then there is the backdoor subsidy of ever more desperate Christian recruitment drives at Peel Cathedral as ‘education’ projects, such as bringing over professional Christian composer John Rutter next year.
Apparently the Arts Council and Culture Vannin see their main role as providing life support to brain-dead entities it would be kinder to pull the plug on. All this mixed with deceptions or outright lies about ‘traditions’ which have had to be invented.
Because the sad truth is, if you peddle a folk myth long enough it becomes tradition. For example, back in their goose-stepping days early cultural revivalists were pinching costumes and moves from their ruritanian Mittel European cousins-in-crime to ‘discover’ Manx folk dance. The Folklore Society, with which ‘Serious Academic Me’ was associated for a few years, has since the late 20th century been debunking and tearing up acres of such ‘research’ from around the world by the classic folksong collectors.
The turning point was probably back in the late 1980’s, at the height of the Satanic Verses saga, when two Anglo-Indian academics, Bhikhu Parekh and Homi Bhabha, argued that what most Brits misunderstand about Muslim fundamentalism is that it is not a return to the middle ages, but using a culture or tradition whose very existence is dubious to excuse a very modern agenda, i.e. an Islamic version of fascism.
Hitler & Co did the same thing in the 1930’s, appealing to both a fake religious tradition and a fake modernism to argue (simultaneously and to different audiences according to the need in a particular time or place) that both were necessary and that only the Nazis could deliver them. They played on the weaknesses or arrogance of those they needed to carry along. Examined forensically, neither appeal was consistent, or based on fact.
It was pure short term opportunism, which will continue as long as there is a ready market of insecure folk who need historical ‘evidence’ to validate their lives, instead of having the courage to just go out and create them. And which will get funded as long as there are shady corporations who need to hoodwink the public into thinking their plans for world domination continue entirely bogus historic tradition or support some local variant, and academics willing to write them into it because government will not fund independent research. And it will get laughed at here and elsewhere by me, because nonsense simply does not deserve more serious criticism.