Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mammon Christmas Everybody!

This morning on the radio, they told the story of a man in Rhode Island, I believe it was, who had set up his Christmas display in his yard as a tribute to Paris Hilton. Now I know that Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus now, when people set up idolatry to weasel faced publicity whores all Holiness is removed form the table.
Christmas has become of celebration of Mammon, the evil God of material things. Sure, it's about getting together with family, but wouldn't the Holidays be a little better if you had a new furniture set to impress visiting relatives? If your husband really loved you, he'd refinance the house to buy you some of our fine jewelry. Visit relatives in your new car! Whip up a lovely Christmas dinner on some new kitchen appliances. If you shop at our store, you'll save enough money to buy more presents!
Meijer, the local Wal-Mart wannbe even has signs throughout the store with two children bearing the caption "The More The Merrier". These are the values we a re teaching our children greed. I even know of some brain damaged sickos who tell their children that if you leave Santa Coke and cookies instead of milk and cookies, you'll get more presents! As if instilling greed in them isn't bad enough, they have to replace milk (which has some nutritional value) with toxic sludge manufactured by a soulless multinational corporation. Way to imprint!
I, too, used to like things, pointless things, but after having to move twice in the last two years, I feel much better getting intangibles from my loved ones as opposed to showering them with gifts because I'll feel guilty if I don't. If you haven't done any thing wrong you can't feel guilty. And I also know that you can't worship materialism and call yourself any kind of a Christian (not that I call myself one) as a servant cannot have two masters (thank you CS Lewis), and if you're serving Mammon, you are not serving Jesus.
All day at work I am forced to listen to the Christmas music station on the radio, and the commercials are all obscene. But even more obscene is something called (I think) "A Soldier's Night Before Christmas". What really annoys me is when "Santa" refers to the soldier as a hero. Let me see, aiding and abetting the Bush administration while they steal Iraqi oil, torturing prisoners of war, using chemical weapons against innocent civilians, raping Iraqi women and children, stop me when I get to something heroic. Hearing that song makes me wish I had a "I Support The Insurgency!" magnetic ribbon on my vehicle. It's nice that there is some soulless music producer to put together this kind of sap to exploit the war and make a few bucks. It's what Christmas is about.

15 comments:

Lily said...

Well Lew I am with you except for the insurgency part, because I do not support violence on either side. I think you said that out of frustration? Perhaps what you mean to say is that you do not blame those that take up arms against those that threaten them without just cause. Perhaps you mean that their response to is understandable but certainly I don't think you mean to say you support killing...
I am what you would call a conditional pacifist, while many I know would call themselves total pacifists meaning no violence under any circumstance at any time, a conditional pacifist would say that there are some very extreme situations- but the bar must be held awfully high.
These refer to self defense situations. A total pacifist would say that if their baby was about to be attacked that they would use words and not resort to violence. I suspect that I could not do that, and in fact when faced with danger I have responded with violence (quite effectively) resulting in my safety.
I would like to say that I would lay down and chant- but now that I know my response better, I have to admit that to save my life I would turn to violence which really fucks up my view of peace. I do not see violence as a means to an end where there are alternatives. But I cannot say that there is NEVER a case for violence at least for me.
Much of what we say about violence is hypothetical, and possibly the people that say they would NEVER resort to violence don't know this for sure. But back to insurgents: how are they viewing their violence, and what standard do we hold them to? You suggest that the soldiers are not justified. Are either justified? Are either to be supported?
Now some say that the soldiers have recourse, they are voluntary soldiers and can refuse or object, or not join whereas the insurgents are being forced to defend their communities. Taking this view, some say that the moral upper hand lies with them.
I think that violence begets violence though, and it becomes hard to figure out who was right when both are killing. Try to trace anything to its roots, and it becomes harder than we think. Somebody has to stop being violent- who? The soldiers who believe that they are liberating or the insurgents that believe that they are defending? The jihadists who see the evil in the infidels or those who fostered their hatred in the first place?
When the earth hangs in the balance, when America uses so much and destroys so much, to what extent do we rationalize extremism?
I don't claim to have the answers but think your post begs some reflection.

Michael said...

Insurgency. Websters definition is: " insurgency is an armed rebellion by any irregular armed force that rises up against an established authority, government, or administration. Those carrying out an insurgency are "insurgents". Insurgents conduct sabotage and harassment. Insurgents usually are in opposition to a civil authority or government primarily in the hope of improving their condition."
The X-Mas song of which you speak should recognize these men as the true hero's, not the ranks of the opressors. It is these men who give there lives for those of the innocent and unprotected of Iraq. It is these men who only wish to preserve a nation rich in culture and beliefs. Lily said "I do not support violence on either side. I think you said that out of frustration?" I ask lily what would she be willing to do if her country was invaded by bull headed facists who were there to steal her only precious natural resource and rape and inseminate her with there liniage, while they kill her un-kristian children and male lovers ? This is what the united states is doing to this once and still sacred land. killing the males one by one, imprisoning the rest, and then lying with there women while drinking champagne off the wealth of selling there oil. To train an american soldier cost's 60,000.00 before they are ready to fight in Iraq, only 4,000.00 is spent on each iraqi traitor who helps defend the amerikan imperialstic invasion. These cowardly Iraqi's are so poorly trained so that the usa have an excuswe to stay and guard there oil, whose sales deepen there control over the European Union. Although the uk is present in Iraq, they do not recognize the euro...coincidence, or are they just there to supervise the domination of the new socialist Union which they oppose. I think the latter.
Lily also asks "The soldiers who believe that they are liberating or the insurgents that believe that they are defending?" The soldiers do not believe they are fighting to liberate a nation, they just enjoy causing harm to those weaker then them. I am forced to look ar a lowered flag for these over paid cowards/killers, when the same flag I would be beaten for burning. Lily enjoys the perks of here imperialistic nation and then throws "soft" stones at it when it flexes it's might. She is part of a machine that she enjoys, but refuses to agree with, she is what Pink Floyd was writing about.

Lew Scannon said...

It is the duty of every good citizen to defend their country from a foreign invader. Diplomacy will not work in this case because terorists like the Bush administration do not believe in diplomacy. I'm not saying that it's good they are attacking Americans, I am saying they are right to defend their nation, just as any good citizen would defend this country should it ever be invaded.
the Iraqis never attacked us, or even threatened to attack us. Of the three justifications for going to war under international law, not one was met in this situation. It's a shame that our president put so many of our soldiers in this situation, they have families and friends who would rather have them home for Christmas than sitting in a far away country abetting an international crime. I certainly do not wish them to be killed, but I did not ask them to go there and defend the interests of rich men, in fact, I did everything in my power (as I'm sure you did as well, Lil) to stop this war based on lies.
Pacifism, while a noble ideal, does not work in the real world, as this planet is infected with creatures called humans. Some of them are kind and considerate and reasonable and intelligent; most of them are not. Violence is all they understand, more so than the capacity to see things your way. I didn't create the insurgency, I merely recognized it's right to exist.

jason of the jungle said...

"I did everything in my power (as I'm sure you did as well, Lil) to stop this war based on lies."


Like what Lew? Tell us in detail how you fought to stop this illegal war. Voting does not count in this "case study" of an anti-war activist.

Lily said...

Well I suppose I asked for it here and do not mean to give your comments short-shrift, but your issues are lengthy and my responses are not easy to condense.
However, let me start by saying that the actions of the soldiers in Iraq are not being done 'in our name" they are being done *despite* extensive opposition of which yes, I was an organizer and remain an organizer. I have been an organizer, activist, and involved on many levels since before I was old enough to vote and while I cannot claim to ever do enough, I can say that I tried to the extent I could. Are you asking what I have done to stop the actions of my government? Are you suggesting that because I do not have the power of billion dollar private interests that I cannot comment on the state of things? Thats a nod to elitism!
Are you asking for my resume'? My positions in organizations, are you asking me to substantiate every march or act of protest to demonstrate that I do not sit back while my government wages unjust war? THEN I can say that I am a conditional pacifist? I am an American and beleive my right to voice dissent is NEVER conditional. I have the right to scream about whatever Iw ant by virtue of the fact that I fucking feel like it. And its good for us, the more the better.
The enemy lies within the silent and the stupid, and you'd do better pitching your bitch to them.
This is the nature of power imbalance, and these are the means by which corrupt actions by government become so widely accepted. They have the power, the media, the voice- and the people follow. I am not one of those people- but clearly YOU can describe for us a course of action that would have stopped this war- and by all means, lets hear it!! And why have you not worked your magic? I believe you are throwing the soft stones and with the added bonus of rejecting those with which you might find alliance. Perhaps if we spent less time whining about who has done what and pulled together we could accomplish something productive, no?
"Soft stones"? I believe every one of us in our warm homes tonight on computers are enjoying the imperialistic exploitation of our government. Some far more than others. Everyone living in an oil addicted suburb, every soccer mom in a giant SUV, every box store shopper and slave-trade product buyer...all have blood on their hands.
With all due respect, you cannot really evaluate the extent to which I partake or reject materialism based on what I wrote above. My profile does not list my possessions or my contribution to the GNP!
We are all participants, it is a matter of degree.It would take quite a while to address these points even further, and I am sure you can understand that. I respect the spirit with which you stated them, and appreciate them. But they seem to beg my defense, you seem to want to engage me in a discussion on whether or not the insurgents are justified. Just because violence is reasonable,understandable, and appears to be a legitimate response- does not mean it is the only response. Two different points. I am not at all disputing the validity of their anger. Not at all. But-
Did Gandhi use violence? He was 'justified'. He had just cause to view himself as defender.But it did not make it the only option. The choice to use violence is not predicated on the degree of righteousness but rather on the availability of alternatives. There were alternatives for the US and there are alternatives for the insurgents.
I do have a blog Lose the Noose and perhaps it would be more fair to bicker there instead of taking up so much of Lew's comment space.(love ya, Lew) No question, you raise good points.
I do hear you about the behaviors in Iraq and what we are doing, my point was not to weigh in on who is more or less moral. I was making the point that at some point the violence has to end, and killing does not get us far toward that aim.
With each generation, the violence will be further embedded, the hatred more indoctrinated. As we destroy the planet and head to peak oil, we will continue to wage resource wars and as long as we live a gluttonous lifestyle of disproportionate consumption and pollution, we remain to blame. We can yell about the government but whose vacuous culture are they protecting? Our fear of China, our fear of the EU- we won't say we are nervous financially, but we all know that policy is based on perpetuating the American way! Thats what the "Bush Doctrine" is, "to protect the material and strategic interests of the US". At any price.
Thats the motivation, and we ALL need to own up to that.

Lew Scannon said...

Lil,
I believe that Jason was refering to a statement I made in my response. I wrote my congressman. I called the White House (1-202-456-1111 M-F 9am-5pm). I wrote so many letters to the local paper that I was effectively banned from writing any more. I stood out in the freezing cold on January 15, 2003, with the rest of the opposition in the world's largest protest ever to try to stop an inevitable war that had not yet begun. I attended meetings.
I did this because I knew the reasons being given for the neccessity to commit an illegal invasion were false, I knew it and the rest of the world save for the US people knew it, so I have to believe that Bush knew he was lying when he tried to link Saddam to 9/11, alQaeda, and WMD.
The truth is, you can't stop someone from doing something they are intent on doing.
So tell me Jason, what did you do? I'm sure if you opposed the war, you made some sort of effort to stop It? Or were you one of the many chemically imbalanced brain damaged beer swilling flag waving monkeys who support a war based on lies?

jason of the jungle said...

Lew I too have opposed the war, and I apologize to both you and Lily for my tone, as I was hot last night. I have been an active participant in anti-miltary activities here in Eureka california for some time now. I have stood on the steps of recruiting offices, handed out literature on how to become a CO, as well as info on depleted uranium, which, by a google search, is how I found your blog.
I am sorry for offending both of you, it is not what I meant to do, only open conversation, that is all. PEACE. My site is not on blogger, but if you care to visit it go here.


http://www.asis.com/~edenson/edhome.html


again PEACE.

Lew Scannon said...

My apologies, too, for my response, jason. I was tired last night after working for thirtenn hours and had you pegged for a war supporter. It's fairly evident we did as much as possible, but I work a lot and have two kids every weekend.
It's also evident that after talking to you and just about everybody I know that few people support the war, and a lot of people didn't going in. So if the people of the country which is supposed to be a representative democracy cannot get their elected officials to act in their best interest, it's obvious that we all need to agree to some change instead of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Anonymous said...

I found your site via a link to another site from whatreallyhappened.com-and I'm impressed. Your ideas are excellent. It's good to hear from another person who has this rotten culture nailed.

Lily said...

Who was offended? I meant not to be defensive about my actions, I simply wanted you to understand that it is not fair to say that because we could not stop the actions of our government that we support those actions. Thats all I meant.
I was addressing the accusations that I am part of the machine, with the perks of American life and I admitted that to be true.
I was attacked on many levels, much of it related to things that the person writing could not really know about me or my actions, lifestyle, etc. Assumptions really never help dialogue, in my opinion.
The comments by this Michael were written in a way that sought to draw conclusions that were not based on what I said. For example, I did not say that ALL soldiers believe their cause to be noble and their actions to be liberating. But we cannot say that NONE of them do. They are being lied to and used by the government and are just as susceptible to the propaganda as the rest of our society.
I'm glad that depleted uranium was mentioned, because that is a subject I have been writing on in the blogosphere probably more than any other these past few months and am working on a forum about it in March.
Its amazing how many people do not understand what is happening with DU.

Lily said...

And how can a paper ban you? Thats ridiculous. What wrong with them? Now many of our papers do have a 'once a month' rule. If I am in an article, or quoted, or involved in something covered, I typically ask other people to write to support instead of also trying to get in a letter. I don't think its a formal policy, but their way of not letting a few people monopolize. Some of our papers have been pretty good to our causes and have printed some controversial things, that have gotten me some personal responses from high level politicians that were troubled by the accusations. And that is a GOOD thing, if they take the trouble to personally address a question or complaint in any media, that means they care about the impression and the potential for people to believe it. Letters to the Editor are extremely important and I don't think you should accept being banned. Perhaps you can talk to an editor and find out what the issue is. Are they too inflammatory maybe? Don't accept this on principle.

Lew Scannon said...

Well, I haven't accepted being banned, that's when I became Lew Scannon. Now I find when I write the editor, i have to prove the facts I state (such as providing the editor with a link to the Downing Street Minutes)while the paper prints the lies of the Bush administration verbatim, with out checking any of their facts. It has become journalism in reverse, where nothing is challenged unless it goes against the official propaganda. But we are talking about the Grand Rapids Press here, a paper sure to endorse Dick DeVos as governor in '06....
nice picture by the way!

Lily said...

Well it seems that the object of your scrutiny might become the paper itself! I know what you mean as I have become a careful fact checker where that is concerned.
Sadly our local papers are being gobbled up by remote, detached corporations that shove propaganda downward to the puppet editors.
Not mass media- rather,mass produced media!!! You need perhaps a different strategy with your writing.
I know that in a letter I wrote about balanced coverage (or lack thereof) I cc'd the letter to every organizational leader/activist/neighbor etc. I could find so that the paper would be aware that their readership would be watching to see what happened with my letter and if it would be printed because it challenged the paper itself. An editor from the paper called me and I was able to at least have a conversation about what the readers expect from them and informed them that we would be monitoring their coverage and would work to demonstrate patterns of reporting. I simply asked the question: why did so many weeks go by without a single report on genocide in the Sudan? Why do we see coverage ratios of 31:1 on Jessica Simpson compared to the Sudan? Do the editors believe these to be the priorities of its readers? Do they feel comfortable publically categorizing the residents this way? If you look at your media and you pick just one thing that is important to you, and you calculate the coverage frequency compared to any arbitrary person or thing, it gives you an admittedly silly number but one that instantly gives potential readers a snapshot of what kind of paper it is. One sentence: you cover (blank) 766% more than (blank) Why?
Will they tell you that this is policy, that they do not think genocide is newsworthy? They can't say that. Will they tell you that they simply follow what they are being told, without any journalistic integrity? With no editorial ethic? I think these questions can elicit some interesting answers. I also say "hold on, I'm taking notes"...
As for the pic, well- I don't really see the point of a pic in a profile really (who gies a damn what we look like anyway?) but feel that it adds a sense of friendship, familiarity, like I am a real person. That we are not people throwing around hypotheticals but people who live with these actions, a community of concerned people. If that makes sense.
I feel that we must connect on the human level.

Lily said...

PS I did check out "Jason's" website (and I repeat my comments had to do with the previous post of the other fellow)and found it to be quite fascinating actually! As there is no way to interact with you there, I hope you come back. I would love to hear more about some of the things you mentioned and the radio show as well. I have a weakness for bluegrass,not sure where it came from since I'm from New York!!! We have an excellent public radio station and one show "Gumbo Shop" features Hazel Dickens in the intro, you'd love it.
Thanks for posting your Website

Samurai joe said...

December 20
Mammon-mass
Mammon
Webster (1977) defines 'mammon' as: 1) the false god of riches and avarice. 2) riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy pursuit; wealth as an evil, more or less personified. Winston (1954) defines: 1) wealth, worldly gain; 2) greed for riches; cupidity. Oxford (1992) defines: god of wealth, regarded as evil or immoral; 'those who worship mammon' = greedy people who value money too highlyMammon is a term that was used to describe riches, avarice, and worldly gain in Biblical literature. It was personified as a false god in the New Testament. The term is often used to refer to excessive materialism or greed as a negative influence. Why Do I bring this up? Each year I look at the world ( the western world) I see billions of people worshiping Mammon In my native country his holiday Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, where it is the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Since Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday may be as early as the 23rd and as late as the 29th of November. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many employers give the day off, increasing the number of potential shoppers. Retailers often decorate for the Christmas season weeks beforehand. Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am or even earlier) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores.Christmas is used to market everything from home appliances to porn,People are convinced that there is something that their hard earned money need to purchace and meal that their fat asses needs to over consume a babble that need to distract them from the normal hum drum of their existance. and it is all done in the name of Jesus... Well aint that swell. Where did we that from? Nowhere is it written that we must light up our homes and waste billions of kiowatt hours of natural resourses on flashing lights and lit up plastic santas( satans) and reeindeer, or bright flashing lights or anything else for that matter. It isnt even written that we must celebrate the birth of our savior. first of all he wasnt born in December It is believed that Christ was born on the 25th, although the exact month is unknown. December was likely chosen so the Catholic Church could compete with rival pagan rituals held at that time of year and because of its closeness with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, a traditional time of celebration among many ancient cultures. So this is manufacutred by man not God, But Im not here to be a spoil sport. Eating a meal and singing some songs is ok for Jesus. But wait ,did I say Jesus? who is that guy, I dont see much of him around these days. I see fat white man in red suit and reindeer and some elves and trolls and thirteen miscreants with some serious 12 step program issues ranging from over eating to theft, breaking and entering and being a peeping tom.but I dont see much about Jesus these days Kids are told that inorder to celebrate the birth in our savior that they have to dance around a pine tree and sing songs about trolls elves and these 13 miscreants and that if their good some one will give them something as a reward. What ever happened to being good was its own reward? but that is being to moralistic isnt it Sorry my bad.But I cant resist, Basically we tell our children that if they have been good all year long they some old fat white dude who hangs out with elves and rides reindeer is going to break into their house and give them stuff that they want. but beleiving in Jesus is a too far of a strech? But back to Mammon. Christmas is all about stuff these days what did you get what are you going to give? what are you going to eat? who are you going to share all of the stuff and food with? Mammon is the Diety of the worship of riches and wealth. what is it to worship? I knw most of you think of some type of religious service and to some extent that is correct and All that I have described in one form or anothe ris very Religious in its traditions and scope. but the part of the definiation that Id like to address is this...Worship:idolize: love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess; venerate as an idol. we worship the wealth that we aqquire at christmas, we give gifts that we receive on this day how many of you have held up a prized gift and said " It has special meaning to me becasue my ( fill in that special person of your choice) gave it to me as a Christmas present" We want as many or as expensive as possible and sometimes more than is possible( post holiday credit card debt anyone) all in the name of who? we say "jesus" but it has nothing to do with him I mean Athiest celebrate gift giving dont they?and very few people regardless of what deity they worship is going to flat out refuse a brightly wrapped package being shoved in their face by a zealous idiot who is filled with the christmas spirit or what ever is in the punch bowl at the office party, why becasue we all like to get something for seemingly nothing. we unquestionly accept the aqqusition of wealth= ie worship.Npw at about this time some of you are going to say " But Christmas is about giving!" yeah right! how many of you gave a gift out of pride? you exersized your plutocratic powers and bought some one something to show off your own abilities as a provider, or to win over the love of someone ( common guys the wife wanted the ear rings and you want to get laid on christmas) ..never not even once? "but, but" the children" you cry, ladies, little suzie down the street got the I love me doll that eats sleeps cries , poops and has rashes, by God you s+dont want to see that smug look on her face if you didnt get your little darling one. again it is pride dont feel bad, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and that cruise ship that we are all sailing down the river styx on will soon be stopping at a mall near you ;)