A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Monday, December 24, 2012

Why I Still Celebrate Christmas

I guess if you had to label me anything (though why you'd want to is beyond me), I'm an atheist. But I still love Christmas. That's because it's such a good story, with virgin and manger and star and wise men and shepherds and angels proclaiming peace on Earth. And stories are what we use to make sense of our lives -- as long as we realize that they are stories. If there were holidays celebrating the courtship of Elizabeth and Darcy, or Ahab's pursuit of the white whale, or Frodo's taking the Ring to Mount Doom, I'd celebrate them too.

Stories are always true, because they come from the rich imagining of the human mind. They only become false when people use them to further their own ends, finding ways to warp and distort them into creeds and causes and religions and ideologies. When an ugly old man in the Vatican uses a Christmas address to proclaim his hatred of gay people, or when a TV network promotes closed-mindedness by claiming that those who want to include all believers and non-believers in their celebration of a holiday are somehow waging war on Christmas, then the stories become false.

So whatever you believe, peace be unto you.