Wednesday, December 22, 2004

CARRIERS. James Lileks was tweaked for his part in the great Save Christmas From Liberals scam by James Wolcott, and now responds at great length. This is described by the feeder-streams as a "Fisking," the etymology of which is meant to imply that the rebuke went straight up Wolcott's ass, though in this case I am put more in mind of fists ragefully pummelling the heated air of a home office.

Llieks' defense of Lileks consists mainly of accusations of elitism ("coastal types who think the rest of America truly gives a shite whether Lindsay Lohan lost her Blackbird at a party last week" -- well, I guess that lets me out), and of misapprehension by elitists of the mystery of the Bleat, whose author is not, he asserts, a crazy man "who wants to tamp the thick bristling wad of God down everyone’s throat with a miter," but a sensible fellow patiently working the microfiche machines to prove that sometime after the Second World War newspapers started running "Season's Greetings" ads, Entertainment Weekly started running sacreligious imagery, and James Wolcott started making fun of Jesus. "I don’t think people in the Evil Coastal Godless Baal-Loving Media hate Christianity," he writes. "I’m sure some hold it in disinterested contempt, the way they view NASCAR and Simplicity dress patterns" etc.

So it is really just more ornate guff about our lack of resemblance to Lilek's little slice of suburban heaven, with a fresh overlay of self-pity. People like Wolcott have James Lileks all wrong, as the author's numerous comical renderings of the way his critics see him are meant to show. He's no Jesus freak; just a guy who wants to show you an old radio program and ask if you don't find it interesting that back then they talked about God in an approving manner, while today floorwalkers reel and James Wolcott watches birds.

All good fun for Wolcott and Lileks and me. Of course, the context is that, throughout the land of Citizen Journalists, it is reported that Christmas is to liberals as garlic is to vampires. The Citizen Journalists are industrious in their propagation of this myth; you can even see it peddled on movie discussion boards. The idea is a great deal newer than "Happy Holidays," but its dissemination, enabled by technology and a horde of unpaid assistants, has been miraculously swift and thorough, and I wouldn't be surprised if it quickly attained Classic status, like the Burl Ives snowman or the Ballad of Foster Barton.

Lileks may not be aware of the trend of which his writings are a prominent part, but given that he can pick up from a great distance New Yorkers' interest in Lindsay Lohan's Blackberry, this seems far-fetched. I do take him at his word that he doesn't want to bring Jesus into my Winter Holiday. The job he and his comrades are doing isn't quite that inclusive.

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