SOME YEARS AGO, I POSTED about a stress-free method for dealing with people who wish you a happy holiday-outside-your-affinity-group. In that spirit, I proffer it again for anyone who, like me, neither celebrates Xmas nor wishes ill on anyone who does. May the appropriate winter light-celebration exceed your expectations, and be filled with more joy than you know what to do with.
AMERICA IS A PLACE WHERE Jewish merchants sell Zen love beads to agnostics for Christmas.”
— John Burton Brimer
– Definition: adj. 1. vigorous or incisive in expression or style. 2. sharply perceptive
– Used in a sentence: What we need is more trenchant male characters, unlike Peter Jackson’s Aragorn or the ubiquitous “Bumbling Dad.”.
– Why: These are not timid times, and our language should reflect that. It shouldn’t go so far in that direction as to become self-parodying, but I think it’s important to “stand for” something — and to understand as well.
AN AWE-INSPIRING WORK, The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events by Bernard Grun is one of those books that have to be seen, and leafed through, to believe. (My own copy, of the 591-page edition First Touchstone Edition which begins at 5000-4001 BCE, only goes up to 1978 CE; revised editions are available through your local independent bookstore.) As the title states, Timetables proffers to the curious what happened in each year (or, in the book’s early parts, each date1-to-date2 era) in seven categories: History and Politics, Literature and Theater, Religion and Philosophy, Visual Arts, Music, Science and Technology, and Daily Life.
IT’S THE BLUE INTERTITLE PROCLAIMING “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” It’s the concept of the Force: nakedly nondual, essentially Taoist, but not preachy about it. It’s the costumes. It’s the sets (even the CGI ones, but especially those of handmade origin). It’s the original spaceship designs. It’s the lightsaber battles, especially the long-awaited-by-fans Darth Vader v. Obi-wan Kenobi duel in Episode III. It’s the way each film ups the special-effects ante for the whole film industry. It’s the details. It’s the recycled sounds; especially for R2D2, the jawas, various droids, etc. (It’s also the Wilhelm Scream.)
GODDESS IS USUALLY THE NAME invoked by people who see the word “God” — and especially Its biblical avatar — as male-gendered and wrathful. “Goddess” is sometimes also characterized as the Nurturer, the Comforter, the Creatrix, the Great Mother; the One in whom one can find solace, inspiration and joy. (It should also be mentioned that Wiccans and neo-pagans often posit both a God and a Goddess to describe what they see as an essentially binary universe, and one that they feel is ill-served by only one deity.) For those seeking a friendlier, gentler god-concept, though, Goddess is hard to beat. Just don’t make Her mad.
I was born in 1962. That makes me, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a Baby Boomer; a member of that generation born after World War II and before 1964. But I don’t feel comfortable with that identification. Not because it’s fashionable to vilify Boomers (actually, it’s always been somewhat fashionable to vilify every generation but one’s own), but because of my tastes and cultural referents.