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December 11, 2007


Powers: I get the punchline at the end, but the first thing that struck me as odd was the teacher’s eye roll over the word “secular”. Is it really appropriate to disparage attempts at religious equitableness, considering she has, minimally, a Jew in her class? As I thought about it some more, though, it occurred to me that there’s actually not much non-secular about “A Christmas Carol” anyway. It’s about as secular as a story set at Christmastime could possibly get. Who are these “P.C. Grinches” and what’s their objection to Dickens’s classic? Maybe this could go under “Politically Incorrect Comic of the Week”?

Maybe we should just name Allison Barrows “Irritating Cartoonist of the Week” and not think any more about it? Seriously, I enjoy this strip — but if you’re going to whine about the War Against Christmas, at least go through the motions of putting some thought into it.


  1. Wow, now the Christians are trying to claim A Christmas Carol as their own?? What the…

    The only War Against Christmas is the one being waged by these fundamentalist crazies.

    Comment by Francois Tremblay — December 11, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

  2. A Christmas Carol takes place on Christmas Eve and Christmas, so only Christians can appreciate it.

    My eyes hurt from the rolling!

    Comment by Kaitlyn — December 11, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

  3. I think the Christian portion is contained in the Tiny Tim line at the end.

    “God bless us, every one!”

    Comment by El Santo — December 11, 2007 @ 3:41 pm

  4. I absolutely agree. I generally like this strip, but I disliked last year’s “Holiday Party” jokes (although I was able to interpret those as being about the school’s paranoia, not any larger cultural edict). But this year, so far, is coming off as much more smug and victimized than last year’s did.

    Comment by Cedar — December 11, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  5. Remember that in Victorian times, Christmas was not a big deal. It was a non-event — kind of like The Feast Day of St. Fred would be these days.

    Remember, at the end: there’s a young boy out running errands on Christmas morning, whom Scrooge sends off to buy a turkey at the butcher’s — which was open that day!

    Comment by James — December 11, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

  6. That’s not quite true. Christmas had generally been a time for celebration–admittedly not necessarily of a religious nature. There were some good religious reasons the Puritans banned Christmas!

    Comment by Lord Jubjub — December 11, 2007 @ 5:53 pm

  7. I agree with #6, to an extent. Don’t forget that a lot of the Christmas carols we sing (both religious and secular) were developed from early to late 1800’s. If people weren’t celebrating it, why would they write songs about it?

    I tend to think Christmas got popular in America, though, because for a mainly agrarian society, they wasn’t much to do after all the food was harvested and you were stuck at home in the snow. Why not have a party?

    Comment by El Santo — December 11, 2007 @ 7:10 pm

  8. Hey, I actually think this one is pretty funny.

    Oh, wait, is the joke what a doofus the eye-rolling teacher is? No? Oh, never mind. 🙂

    BTW, I think it’s pretty well agreed that while Christmas was certainly celebrated in the 19th century, it only became as big a deal as it is now (a month-long consumer-fest), when businesses in the 20th century realized it could be used as a giant marketing ploy.

    Comment by Autumnal Harvest — December 11, 2007 @ 8:40 pm

  9. Charles Dickens was a Unitarian — that is why there is no mention of Christ in A Christmas Carol and the ONLY mention of God is Tiny Tim’s generic “God Bless Us Everyone”

    Comment by Nicole — December 11, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

  10. Wait – there are ghosts in the bible?

    Comment by Charles — December 11, 2007 @ 10:29 pm

  11. Maybe the teacher’s eye-rolling is >because< the only thing “religious” about A Christmas Carol is the word in the title. While it does have a decent moral message, it’s completely secular. Ghosts don’t generally appear in the Bible (the appearance of Samuel to Saul and the witch of Endor is the only one I can think of). But people did believe in ghosts – Jesus ate a piece of fish after his resurrection to prove he wasn’t one.

    Comment by dan v — December 11, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

  12. Maybe they could just take the afternoon off to see “The Golden Compass.” Nobody has a problem with that! Oh, wait…

    How old IS that kid, that she doesn’t understand the difference between “secular” and “sexual?” Is this special ed?

    Or is Barrows the one who’s disabled?

    Comment by Happenstance — December 12, 2007 @ 3:02 am

  13. I am confused. Can someone please explain to me how there can be a “War on Christmas” When Christmas decorations for sale appear in stores in September, for the last two and half months of the year we are bombarded with ads reminding us Christmas is coming. Christmas Decorations abound, carols are everywhere, Christmas specials on TV, and finally the ENTIRE nation shuts down for the celebration of Christmas.

    It just doesn’t make sense

    Comment by Nicole — December 12, 2007 @ 8:08 am

  14. See how insidious it is?

    Comment by Hunt — December 12, 2007 @ 9:15 am

  15. Well, not to mention around 85% of the country is Christian and celebrates Christmas. So, more to the point, who is fighting this War on Christmas?

    God, that whole thing just irritates the hell out of me. “I’m so insecure that I can’t stand it when it’s even acknowledged that there are other people who belong to a different religion than me. Also, I’m going to pretend that no one ever said ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings’ before about two years ago when the ‘PC Police’ started making everyone say that. Damn it, it’s offensive if everything isn’t tailored specifically to me at the exclusion of anyone with different beliefs because I’m special, and you should know that!”

    Comment by Count Shrimpula — December 12, 2007 @ 9:27 am

  16. to the Christians who are upset about the lack of mention of Christ at this time of year, see

    Comment by Janice — December 12, 2007 @ 9:55 am

  17. The transformation of Christmas from a minor holiday to a big deal was mostly due to Prince Albert and Charles Dickens. It was a very big deal by the end of the 19th century.
    Yes, there’s a ghost in the Bible, and he’s pretty pissed off at being disturbed. See I Samuel 28 (“Saul and the Witch of Endor”).

    Comment by Mark — December 12, 2007 @ 10:13 am

  18. I was Scrooge in the 6th grade. I was Ben Franklin the year before. I’ve never acted again.

    Comment by Rasheed — December 12, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  19. Sure, Nicole, we have all those things this year, thanks to last year’s successful counterinsurgency in the War on Christmas. But remember 2005, when Christmas was almost cancelled?

    Sadly, it looks like this year the War on Hannukah is heating up. 🙂

    Comment by Autumnal Harvest — December 12, 2007 @ 11:18 am

  20. Also, do not forget the Holy Spirit, a.k.a. “The Holy Ghost.”

    Comment by El Santo — December 12, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  21. Autumnal Harvest — where will it all end ?? First Christmas, then Chanukah can Kwanzaa and Ramadan be far behind, then I am sure they well go ofter the Solstice celebrations. Soon this time of year will be only about crass commercialism — OH wait …

    BTW — Autumnal Harvest thanks for the LOL

    thanks for the LOL

    Comment by Nicole — December 12, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

  22. We can all relax, the war is over

    Comment by Nicole — December 12, 2007 @ 2:30 pm

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