There's a point at the end of Sesame Street where Slimy the Worm, bedecked in a sleeping cap (when did we stop using those?) implores to Oscar the Grouch: "Read more, read more! Read more Trash!" Oscar replies, "N0, Slimy. That was enough excitement for such a small worm. We'll read more tomorrow!"
Now when my son starts whining at us for something (yes, much of the time, books, but other stuff, too), we call him Slimy. "More, more, more!" we croon. It always makes him laugh. Now he's starting to use this mantra as well, and his two-year-old approximation of Slimy's voice, whenever he whines. Somehow it makes the whining more fun for both of us.
Now that it's getting dark out so early, we are often driving after dark, when Christmas lights are in their full bloom. He's in the back yelling, "More Christmas lights! More lights!" and I have to point them out to him as we pass. To tell the truth, I like looking at the lights, too. It's one of the least conflicted feelings I have about the season which is upon us.
I was somewhat dumbfounded by this rant on Slate.com by Christopher Hitchens, the notorious God-hater. I mean, I can understand the instinct to want strict separation of church and state. No government-sponsored Christmas trees or holiday programs or whatnot. I, personally, am not offended by them, but do acknowledge the criticism that they can be seen as endorsement of one religion over another.
Still, this guy really strikes me as joyless. And that's about the harshest thing I can say about anyone. He seems like a miserable human being. And his arguments, while some of them are not altogether without merit, are mirthless and unhuman.
Well, now he's taking potshots at Hanukkah. Not that I should be surprised, but I am taken aback. I wonder if it's because in general, I think public criticism of anything Jewish or even mildly Jewish is usually pounced upon and torn apart by the media. And while I think that some of that instinct is perhaps a little overdone (especially when it comes to legitimate criticism of Israeli policies or politics), I am also adamantly opposed to protecting hate speech. Period. That's why I could never join the ACLU.
Now, mind you, I know that this opinion is a controversial one. "Where do you draw the line?" people ask. Truth is, I'm not sure. But a line does have to be drawn somewhere for the health of our society, and it behooves us to think about this issue and debate it.
Anyhow, whether or not this rant constitutes hate speech (which I think it doesn't), it is still shocking and disconcerting. After reading it I felt horrible. Just horrible. Partially because I felt that he used an arithmetic which is not humane in its logic.
Then I found this response and felt better about the world again. Yes, thinking and feeling and knowing. Not to be warm and fuzzy about it, but looking for the light isn't that bad.
More light! Want more, MORE!