Weekend Update 12/26/2015: Boxing Day links
“Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho’ the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath’ring winter fuel.”
…which most people think is a Christmas song, but was originally simply a traditional song, and was more likely to be sung at Easter and Lent than Christmas.
Today is also Boxing Day, a confusing holiday for many, including the country of its origin. It used to be a day for wealthy people to give boxes of clothes and such to their servants. Don’t confuse it with the modern concept of a gift, though—the clothes in question where those that had belonged to and been worn by the employers. The servants didn’t necessarily keep the clothes themselves, but rather turned around and sold them. Before cheap mass manufacture of clothing became the norm, clothing was handmade and if you weren’t well off you couldn’t afford new clothes. You purchased hand-me-downs. And the custom of giving cast-off clothing to servants became so entrenched that it was virtually a contractural obligation.
I do like the description of the modern observance I’ve seen of, “You spent Boxing Day at the pub celebrating with your friends because you spent Christmas with the family.” My Boxing Day is going to include driving to another town to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens a second time with a different set of friends. So I guess that counts.
Yesterday I did more-or-less my usual weekly collection of links: Friday Links (Ho! Ho! Ho! edition), and as usual after the post had gone up, I came across a few more interesting stories that either relate to things I posted yesterday, or it doesn’t make much sense to wait until next week to link to them, such as Cards Against Humanity Just Blew Everyone Away With This Open Letter. Wow. Paid time off is something that lots of people in the world never get, even in the alleged wealthiest nation on the planet. It would be nice if more people who have the resources thought about that. It’s nice to see someone at least trying to set an example.
Over the course of several editions of Friday Links I’ve posted a couple of stories about some of the Gay rights organizations that have closed down their operations or re-tooled during the last year. There have been a lot of others. It makes sense, just as the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell five years ago made the mission of organizations that were focused solely on allowing gay and lesbian military personnel obsolete, the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality has left those groups whose only missions was marriage equality redundant. A lot of people have lamented these closures, correctly pointing out that there is still a lot of inequality in the laws, and plenty of legal and cultural battles to fight, yet. While it is true that part of the reason for the closures is that most of their donors figure the fight is won, so why donate, that isn’t all that’s happening: Gay Groups Are Not Shutting Down, They Are Clearing the Way for the New LGBT Agenda.
That headline is a bit misleading on two counts. First, yes, several specific organizations are literally shutting down. I get that what the author means is that most of the people involved are moving on to different groups to focus on the next steps in the fight. The other inaccuracy, IMHO, is that idea of the next steps being a new agenda. Maybe the specific battles seem new and different, but the agenda has been for a long, long time quite simply: full equality regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, et cetera, and nothing less. Marriage equality was a significant step because of the thousands (literally) of legal rights that our society ties to marriage (with no other way to obtain those legal protections), as well as the cultural step of recognizing that queers do love, their love matters, and it is the same love non-queers experience. But it was merely another step toward that goal of full equality. And there is still a way to go, including the simple step of securing the right to marry (and everything it entails) against the attempts to limit that right or take it away outright.
The battle isn’t even really new. As Alvin McEwan has pointed out several times, the lies and the tactics used against us have been the same for decades (at least), they just get tweaked and repackaged as social attitudes shift.
Enough about that! Today is also the third day of Christmas. Though most people think that Christmas is all over, so if I don’t want to wait eleven months to get this two things in, now’s my last chance: The Real Attack on the Spirit of Christmas — 2015. It’s the people who scream mostly loudly about the War on Christmas who are actually trampling all over the religious teachings of the man who they claim is the reason for the season. And: Hank at Vlogbrothers talks about why Christmas (and the Holiday Giving Season) often come under such significant fire (from apparently all sides).
Finally, the band Radiohead has given everyone on interesting seasonal gift: Last year we were asked to write a theme tune for the Bond movie Spectre. Yes we were. It didn’t work out, but became something of our own, which we love very much. As the year closes we thought you might like to hear it. Merry Christmas. May the force be with you. I’ve embedded it below. If that doesn’t work, click the previous link to go to their Bandcamp page and give it a listen.
Happy Boxing Day! May the Force be with us, every one!