Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I fear of living in a land where the act of offending someone else is a crime. To be honest, I don't much like having to be careful about uttering "Merry Christmas" to a Jew or an atheist either. It simply takes too much mental work, and besides, why should my own personal happiness over this wonderful season be subjugated to the whims of someone who gets hacked off over a nativity scene?

Oh, by golly, if I want to wish you holly, jolly Christmas this year, you had better have one, even if I do offer you the option, as an interpreter of what I'm saying, to interject Happy Holidays over top of my insensitive wishes. I can be a jerk that way.

So, I'll just kindly wish you a Merry Christmas and you can cordially wish me Happy Holidays! Neither of us needs to be offended over the ordeal, and honestly, someone who is so predisposed to offense should maybe lighten up a bit.

I believe in America that we are of a bit more hearty stock. Perhaps it was our nation's early embrace of the Melting Pot theme that has allowed us to develop as a people in a way that predisposes us to more or less get along.

A generation ago, today's American Catholics and Protestants living side by side from coast to coast would have taken up arms against each other in Northern Ireland. The French and Germans have stacked up millions of each others corpses along their common border over social and political differences, but in this country these old world national interests seem irrelevant. And the Baptists...okay, bad example. They still don't get along with anyone.

If we Americans sought out reasons to become offended over the behaviors and beliefs of others we wouldn't have to look very far--pants sag too far in the butt, too many people waste their time watching American Idol, and who can stand a New York Yankee fan anyway?

But most of us don't go around seeking to be offended. Most of us look at ourselves as being individuals who can operate and believe largely within our own decided parameters and we accept that others can look at themselves in the same way.

Which brings me to this:

The parents of a Muslim boy who attends a secondary school in La Línea, Cádiz province, have reported their son's teacher for an incident in the boy's geography class which the child said caused him offence as a Muslim.

The teacher, José Reyes Fernández, with more than 20 years in the profession, was explaining to the class how the cold climate in Trevélez, Granada province, aided in the curing of the village's most famous local product, jamón serrano. The boy told his teacher that hearing the word 'ham' in class was offensive to him because of his religion and asked his geography teacher to stop referring to the product which caused him offence.

El Mundo newspaper reports that the boy's parents then reported the teacher to both the National Police and to the courts. They placed a denuncia against the teacher for psychological ill-treatment in the context of xenophobia and racism.
This kid and his parents need to be offended once in a while. It will toughen them up.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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