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Merry Christmas from America’s woke-est Catholic parish: Because it’s hard to top putting the Baby Jesus into a Trump-bashing immigration cage

In St. Susanna Parish's Nativity display, Jesus is placed in a metal cage while the wise men are blocked by a fence.

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a big ol’ politicized Nativity scene.

I started feeling the Christmas spirit already when I read this in the HuffPost:

Leaders at St. Susanna Parish, a Roman Catholic congregation in Dedham, hope the display puts a Christian perspective on controversial actions toward migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and around the world….

The scene shows baby Jesus in a black metal cage, separated from Mary and Joseph. The image of Jesus behind bars is meant to represent the plight of migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border because of White House policies.

To the right of the scene, a fence creates a barrier between the Holy Family and the three wise men. A sign attached to the fence reads, “Deportation.” [parish priest Steven] Josoma said the wall is supposed to represent the southern border and other physical and metaphorical walls that Western countries have created to keep refugees out.

Above the stable, a blue banner reads, “Peace on Earth?”

But wait–isn’t there something missing? Where’s the figurine of Donald J. Trump as King Herod slaughtering little Honduran babies?

Fr. Josoma, by the way, is one woke pastor:

“People think children in diapers getting tear-gassed is OK, but this [Nativity scene] is totally sacrilegious?” Josoma said in response to the criticism. “All we’re trying to do is put the two together.”

And in the race to win the Who’s Got the Woke-est Church? sweepstakes, St. Susanna has the clear lead. Last year gun control was all the religious rage–so the church adorned its Nativity scene with signs listing shooting locales and numbers of victims over the Baby Jesus’ head.

Even when it’s not Christmas you can pray in the “Peace chapel” and there a cool solar farm on top of the rectory roof.

Plus, according to the St. Susanna Facebook page (dig those crazy pink balloons as Easter decorations!), the parish is now a proud member of the Dedham-Westwood-Norwood Coalition for Transgender Equality. You can’t get more woke than transgender.

Oh, and in April 2018 the Facebook page announced “Open Mosque Day” including an “Islam 101 class”–just in case Christianity, even at its most woke-est ever, isn’t doing it for you.

What other church in America can top that?

Karl Marx called religion “the opium of the people”–a way to take their minds off of harsh political reality. But at St. Susanna’s, harsh political reality is the religion. Even, or perhaps especially, on Christmas.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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Merry Christmas from #MeToo: Radio station bans “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” because rape culture

It’s cold outside–so time for the #MeToo crowd to gin up another ban on Baby, It’s Cold Outside…because rape culture.

First to feministically virtue-signal this holiday season: radio station WDOK in Cleveland:

WDOK Christmas 102.1 pulled the song from its around-the-clock rotation of Christmas music this week after receiving a call from a listener who suggested it is inappropriate in 2018.

And that was it for Frank (Guys and Dolls) Loesser’s 1944 seasonal seduction duet:

“People might say, ‘oh, enough with that #MeToo,’ but if you really put that aside and listen to the lyrics, it’s not something I would want my daughter to be in that kind of a situation,” [WDOK midday station manager] Desiray said. “The tune might be catchy, but let’s maybe not promote that sort of an idea.”

And naturally:

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center President and CEO Sondra Miller said the organization supports the decision….

“It really pushed the line of consent,” Miller said. “The character in the song is saying ‘no,’ and they’re saying well, ‘does no really mean yes?’ and I think in 2018 what we know is consent is ‘yes’ and if you get a ‘no,’ it means ‘no’ and you should stop right there.”

Miller said the song is an example of the rape culture in which we live, and the first step to preventing sexual violence is to change that.

Oh my. As I wrote myself about the song for USA Today right around this time in December 2017, the song isn’t about non-consensual sex at all. It’s about a guy who tries to persuade his girl to stay at his place a little longer on a wintry night. But I guess that nowadays that qualifies as “rape.”

The contrapuntal lyrics, in which he puts the moves on her by invoking freezing exterior weather and she tries to think why she ought to go home when she’d really rather not, actually tell a tale of sex at its most pleasantly consensual (or maybe, since this was 1944, after all, just a little kissing and hugging). There’s flirtation, there’s wooing, and above all, there’s a languid lightheartedness. He never forces himself on her, merely persuades her to…stay a little longer (and remember that it’s she who’s arrived to “drop in” on him, not the other way around).

The first duo to perform the song consisted of Loesser himself and his first wife, Lynn Garland (they divorced but not until after another fifteen years had passed). Other celebrity duos to cover the song have included Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, Pearl Bailey and Hot Lips Page, and Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark.

But all that was before #MeToo. Next up for a ban: Guys and Dolls itself. After all, the plot is about a toxically masculine bounder who swooshes a devout Christian street missionary down to Havana and plies her with Bacardi-laced drinks. Talk about rape culture! Furthermore, Loesser’s musical, which ends with the pair happily married, obviouly promotes cisgenderism and heteronormativity, and we can’t have that.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again–because ’tis the season for bashing Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations

Image result for melania trump red trees
Photo: Politico

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again–because ’tis the season to bash Melania Trump’s White House Christmas decorations.

Let’s see: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…the Huffington Post:

The blood red trees reminded many Twitter users of one thing: “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu’s dystopian drama about a society that subjugates women.

That’s the Yuletide spirit! Then, merry gentleman Rick Noack of the Washington Post chimed in:

The first lady was not around to explain the motif, but her office had a ready explanation: “The choice of red is an extension of the pales, or stripes found in the presidential seal designed by our Founding Fathers. It is a symbol of valor and bravery.”

Abroad, however, it’s also the color of sick Christmas trees.

Ukraine renamed the area around the Chernobyl reactor disaster site “Red Forest” after lethal radioactivity turned the green pine trees there red-brownish in 1986. Footage from that forest still serves as a reminder of deadly nuclear risks, especially at a time when threatening nuclear strikes has become more common again.

United Methodist Church pastor and author Stephen A. Rhodes made good Christian men rejoice with:

So Melania decorated the White House for Christmas – with blood red trees right out of The Shining: Holiday Version.

and:

Instead of the Red Wedding, we have the Red Christmas.

Web designer Jack Hutton came a-wassailing:

You’re alone. It’s weird. ‘The People’s House’ but it’s just you—isolated, surrounded by extravagance.

May God bless you and send you a happy new year, too, Jack!

At the U.K. Guardian, columnist Barbara Ellen decked the halls with this bough:

Some of us are already looking forward to Christmas 2019, when Melania will presumably liven up the tired tinsel with a voodoo/human sacrifice theme.

And from the New York Times came these tidings of great joy:

There Will Be Blood-Red Trees.

Of course Melania’s 40 topiary Christmas trees along the East Wing colonnade aren’t “blood-red” at all, but, rather, cranberry-red, and also decorated with cranberries from top to bottom–something like the all-cranberry tabletop trees the Jimmy Carter White House sported in 1975.  But who among our oh-so highly educated and artistically sensitive media can remember that far back?  Or this far back?

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Miracle at the border: U.S. lobs tear gas at women and children but only one woman with kids near-hit–otherwise there would be more photos of more gassed women and kids, right?

Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
Yes fate can be kind, and cosmic justice can exist. Miracles can happen.
And the above photo is proof. Because it’s the only photo on the face of the earth showing a Honduran woman and some children fleeing the tear gas with which the U.S. Border Patrol is said to have targeted them when it pushed back on a crowd of rock-throwing Central Americans trying to storm the U.S. border at Tijuana on Nov. 26 and knock down the fences.
The only photo. Of the only woman with children. Which is why, when you see a news story hand-wringing over the Border Patrol’s barbaric assault on the vulnerable, you see that same one photo wherever you look. Not a single other photo of a single other mother or a single other kid. Oh yes, there’s one other photo that’s appeared here and there. But it’s of the same woman (wearing her signature Frozen T-shirt) and one of the same children–although with no signs of tear-gassing anywhere near them (the photo seems to have been taken in a different locale after the ordeal was over).
Now if you’re a right-wing cynic like the people over at Gateway Pundit, you might be saying that the photo was staged. After all, in the background behind the fleeing woman are dozens of grown men–not a female among them–standing around outside the border wall looking complacently unconcerned about tear gas and taking pictures of each other.
But I don’t believe that. I believe that the gods intervened. The Border Patrol tried its darnedest to make little migrant children cry and the mothers who brought their tykes to the border sob with maternal sorrow, but it managed to gas–or at least sort of try to gas–only one single mother and one single pair of kids.
That paucity of actual women-and-children victims hasn’t stopped the moral condemnations from the high-minded, however. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) tweeted:
Mothers and their children walked hundreds of miles and fled unspeakable horrors in the hope they would find asylum here in America. Instead of being met with compassion, they were tear gassed.
Sen Benjamin Schatz (D-Hawaii) wondered whether “spraying tear gas on children” amounted to chemical warfare in violation of the Geneva Convention.
 Arizona Republic columnist EJ Montini chimed in: “And we get images of women and children being gassed by U.S. border agents.”
Or at least we get one image of one women and two children being gassed, sort of.
Besides recording what was obviously a miracle from heaven, the above photo, now deemed “iconic,” tells us a lot about Honduran parenting styles, and what we are to expect if they bring them up to the U.S. in the name of a rainbow of cultural diversity.
For example, Honduran moms clearly don’t believe in toilet training. Those little twin girls in the photo are five years old, according to news stories, and they’re still wearing diapers. This is a good thing, because Sigmund Freud said that forced potty training can make for a lot of neurotic adults. No neurosis among Hondurans obviously!
On the other hand, Honduran moms clearly believe in tough love. Note the way the mother is holding the girls–a vise-like grip on the forearms–even in the photo taken after the family has fled the gas, where the mother seems to pushing the crying little one into an uncomfortable squat. No hand-holding, kissing boo-boos, or hugs from these tiger mothers!
And according to this NBC News story, the mother, who gave her name as Maria Mesa (now living in a Tijuana shelter), actually brought even more of her five children to the border protest:

Mesa said her 3-year-old son James, who does not appear in the picture, was also with them and fainted after getting a lung-full of gas.

“One of them could have died,” she said.

What? She abandoned a three-year-old while she and the older children skedaddled to safety? James is nowhere to be seen in the quite capacious photo. Where is this toddler badly in need of medical attention?

But that’s Honduran parental tough love for you. James will undoubtedly grow up to be one young man who can take care of himself.

Furthermore, one practical Honduran parental adage must be: Why buy clothes and shoes for your children when you can buy them for yourself? Do five-year-olds really need to wear pants when they look perfectly OK running around half-naked? And how about those bare feet while their mom is shod in sturdy sneakers? According to NBC, Mesa brought one of girls to the border barefoot, and the other one lost her flip-flops in the chaos. But hell, kids can take it; they’re resilient.

We’ve got a lot to look forward to when that Honduran caravan brings its vibrant parenting diversity up to our side of the border.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

For most people Thanksgiving was all about eating a feast and thanking God. At the HuffPost it was all about racism, stress, and cringing at the idea of a turkey “carcass”

Image result for addams family thanksgiving image

For most people Thanksgiving Day meant a tasty spread plus thanking God for your blessings. But for the woke people at the Huffington Post),Thanksgiving was…different.

Psychologists Explain How To Deal With The Nightmare That Is Thanksgiving Dinner

“Just breathe,” you tell yourself, taking 10 seconds to lean over the bathroom sink. The sound of running water temporarily drowns out the chaos that awaits outside the door. But you can’t hide forever: You’re hosting Thanksgiving.

Yikes!

As you slink back into the kitchen to prepare dinner, your predators await. Your chatty aunts hover, never offering help but eagerly suggesting reasons you’re still single. Your brother complains there’s no green bean casserole this year, declaring Thanksgiving just won’t be the same without it. And then there’s the turkey. A giant bird carcass splayed open to you once a year, with the expectation you’ll transform its pale flesh from carrion to comestible….

Yeah, that turkey is pretty creepy. It’s raw until you cook it.

Every Thanksgiving, whether you love or loathe cooking, your kitchen can become a microcosm of your deepest insecurities. It doesn’t matter if your weakness is multitasking, terrible cooking skills or horror-show relatives. Thanksgiving has the uncanny ability to zero in on your vulnerabilities and hammer away at them with brute force, which explains why you end up hiding in the bathroom.

Even worse, Thanksgiving is racist:

Thanksgiving, despite its questionable history and racist origins, is actually meant to be quite pleasant.

Really? No wonder you locked yourself in that bathroom.

But fortunately, “world-renowned meditation teacher” Sharon Salzberg, interviewed by the HuffPost, can get you out of your Thanksgiving Day funk–or least make it a little less funky:

“We can’t prevent stress altogether, but we can keep rebounding from it,” she said. “I really believe in what one of my teachers once called ‘short moments, many times’ where you get all caught up in something and then you take a breath. It’s those intermittent moments when we come back to ourselves, and then remember what we really care about. Don’t despair if you feel overwhelmed, because it’s a process of continual recovery.”

If you’re among the woke at the the Huffington Post, the best thing about Thanksgiving is that pretty soon it’s over.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

NYT’s “Angry Uncle” Thanksgiving bot: You have to agree with him if he’s a liberal and treat him like a dunce if he’s a conservative

Image result for norman rockwell thanksgiving

I love the New York Times‘s “Angry Uncle Bot”–which gives me some canned chatter for dealing with family members who try to impose their political beliefs on me over Thanksgiving dinner.

The interactive bot is the brainchild of Dr. Karen Tamerius, who describes herself as a “former psychiatrist.” She writes:

Our political attitudes and beliefs are intertwined with our most basic human needs – needs for safety, belonging, identity, self-esteem and purpose – and when they’re threatened, we’re biologically wired to respond as if we’re in physical peril.

Dr. Karen gives me the choice of chatting with “Liberal Uncle Bot” or “Conservative Uncle Bot.” I pick “Liberal” because that’s my whole family except me. So here goes from my liberal “uncle”:

We need Medicare for All 👨🏻‍⚕️
Health care is a human right
I get a choice of three responses, and I’m supposed to pick the one I’d give:
Rights are protections, they don’t force some people to pay for other people.
Are jobs a “right” now? You sound like a Communist
OK, can you tell me more about that?
Naturally I pick Answer No. 2.: “You sound like a Communist.” Who wouldn’t pick that one?
Uh-oh, wrong response, because I get this tut-tut feedback from Dr. Karen herself:
Not a good choice. Telling people what they believe and why instead of asking them makes them feel unheard. When people don’t feel heard, they are more likely to fight with you or flee the discussion. Try this response instead:
OK, can you tell me more about that?
Well, that doesn’t sound so hot–sounds like I’m in for a big fat lecture from Uncle Bot on the glories of socialized medicine. Let me try again. I switch to Answer No. 1, and here’s what I get from Dr. Karen:
Not a good choice. Argumentative responses generate resistance and turn conversations into debates where participants dig in and seek to score points to “win” rather than learn from each other or collaborate to elucidate the truth. Try this response instead:
OK, can you tell me more about that?
So it seems that the only correct answer is the one that makes me sit through that lecture on the glories of socialized medicine.
Maybe I’d be better off pretending to be a liberal trying to deal with Conservative Uncle Bot. Let’s hear it from Conservative Bot:
Trump has been great for America!
Just look at the economy, it’s booming.
And here are my three choices as a good liberal niece:
Trump has been good for the rich!
The job numbers are misleading….
So how are you doing financially?
And yup, once again, the only “correct” response is snarky Answer #3. Because poor old Uncle Bot is forced to respond:
How am I doing?
Not that great actually 😒
… But things would have been worse under Hillary!
Gee, that sounds awkward. But I get a big shout-out from Dr. Karen:
Asking people about their own experiences in a nonjudgmental way is an especially good opening because it gives them an opportunity to talk about a subject they care and know more about: themselves.
Right. So in other words, the right way to deal with a liberal relative if you’re a conservative is to agree with everything he says, and the right way to deal with a conservative relative if you’re a liberal is to try to embarrass him about his financial situation at a family gathering.
Because, as Dr. Karen of the New York Times says:
The civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the antiwar movement, the gay rights movement, the struggle for marriage equality – all gained acceptance through difficult conversations among family members who initially disagreed vehemently with one another.
Mmm.
Posted by Charlotte Allen

Out: Social-justice witchcraft. In: Social-Justice astrology

Image result for image chani nicholas

Image: Rolling Stone/ Getty

Out: Social-justice witchcraft:

The government is gridlocked, climate genocide looms, and, almost without our noticing, profoundly unnatural technologies have inserted themselves — malevolently, in now seems — into every corner our lives. There is a sense that today’s problems are so entrenched that it will take something otherworldly to fix them.

Enter the witch.

In: Social-justice astrology:

[Chani] Nicholas, 42, is transforming horoscopes from generalizations about finding true love and stumbling into financial good fortune to pointed calls to action with a left-leaning, social-justice agenda. Based in Los Angeles, she has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and a blog with as many as one million monthly readers. She weaves activism into the majority of her writing, appealing to a generation particularly interested in issues like racism, sexism and gun control.

Nicholas used last November’s mercury retrograde to urge her followers to contact the FCC prior to its vote on net neutrality. She wrote about the new moon in Scorpio representing the need to heal during the initial wave of sexual assault accusations in Hollywood. She’s posted about DACA and the border wall and has even been promoting an online tool called FreeFrom, which was started by her wife Sonya Passi to help victims of domestic violence understand how to pursue financial compensation.

The problem with witchcraft is that it’s so…October 2018. That was when a coven of about 50 witches gathered in a Brooklyn occult bookstore to put a hex on the newly installed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Guess what the effect was? Nada. Despite all the chanting and the nails stuck into the penis-shaped candle symbolizing the evil white male high-court jurist, he’s still there.

And so is Donald Trump, the president who appointed him, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, currently poised to shepherd still more evil judges to the highest court in the land. Both had their own nail-jabbed penis candles at the Brooklyn hex on Oct. 21–to no avail.

But it’s now November 2018, the sun is in Scorpio, Jupiter is in Sagittarius, Uranus is in Taurus, and it’s time for some better social-justice magic. And so we have this eerie Nov. 8 interview with Chani Nicholas on Rewire the same day that Nicholas was slated to receive an award from the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

RW: How would you tie this current socio-political era to past eras astrologically?

CN: Well, you would take a specific topic whether it’s something to do with gender-based violence, war, or fascism being on the rise. The last time Uranus was in Taurus was 83 years ago and that was the rise of fascism in Germany.

Mmm, just like…

Astrologers study these cycles and many noticed that Uranus was going to come back around this time. At the same time, Pluto is in Capricorn, which is where it was when the United States was born.

Uh-oh.

Now, if you click onto Nicholas’s website, you might be tempted to think that astrology is just so much woo. What’s this about “retrogrades”? Didn’t Galileo get burned at the stake or something for denying all that stuff?

But then you read this:

We are, as a global community, awakening to so much, so quickly. Coming to consciousness is not an easy, feel-good experience. We are in the process of trying to grapple with a tremendously long and brutal history, while trying to create a kinder, less harmful current reality.

And you just know that Nicholas is onto something. As Vice recently reported:

Over the past two to three years, astrology has shifted from being a niche interest to a major point of enthusiasm for many women and queer people. Broadly, VICE’s channel geared towards women and the LGBTQ community, gets a huge amount of traffic from astrological features and horoscopes. Other media platforms for women have noticeably ramped up astrology content from filler to the forefront. In the UK, Google searches for “birth chart” doubled between November of 2013 and November of 2018. Since September of 2017, there’s been a steady increase in people searching “astrological compatibility”. All that interest has given publishing a boost: sales of mind, body and spirit books are booming; in 2017, sales rose by 13 percent in just a year.

Social-justice witchcraft was way back in October. Social-justice astrology is now.

Posted by Charlotte Allen