Religion

Ho Ho No

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Memo to Holiday Irrationalists: DEAL WITH IT.

As holidays go, it was not a fantastic one for the rational and/or multicultural of us, as evidenced by a pair of stories that clogged my Yuletide RSS feed.

The first was an unpleasant incident on an American Airlines flight in which a passenger was kicked off the plane after loudly objecting to being wished a "Merry Christmas" by a flight attendant. News stories describe the man as "losing it", yelling, barking, and generally being a dick about the holiday greeting.

Now, I do not actually support being argumentative over this shit in public. You'll never win, and people will look at you funny, and we'll end up looking bad even when we're not in the wrong. For example, this guy. He got hit with a Merry Christmas at the gate, said something about it, and then got hit with it again by a flight attendant. That's two potentially inappropriate Christmas greetings in the span of half-an-hour.

And, you know, it's not like this is some motherfucking Midwestern Hobby Lobby cashier. This is American Airlines, flying out of New York City, one of the most metropolitan cities of the world. So if you're telling your passengers "Merry Christmas", you're playing with quite possibly the worst odds in the Western world.. So, yeah, the guy was inescapably belligerent, but in a way, so was American Airlines.

You know who wasn't belligerent, even though a bunch of people are saying he was? Neil deGrasse Tyson. Did he Tweet some secular humanist stuff on Christmas Day? Yes he did. One thing about a man born on Christmas who changed the world by the time he was 30 (Isaac Newton, of course); and a bit about Christmas being pagan, then religious, then commercial; and something that could have reminded some American Airlines employees that not everyone celebrates Christmas.

These are all facts. Facts that should not be a problem to anyone who follows NdT on Twitter. Of course, social media is by its very nature social, and so his Tweets were seen by people who were under the impression that he was targeting their faith on their holiest of days.

But really, media? Sparking an Internet fight? Setting the Twittersphere in motion? A bunch of people saw something not aimed (directly) at them that they didn't like and lost their shit over it. When it happens on a plane, to a guy who had something directly aimed at him, it's his fault for reacting. But in Tyson's case, it's totally his fault for provoking a reaction.

Nice of Santa to leave an extra standard in everyone's stockings this year.

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