FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – An Arizona man is sounding off over his daughter’s “Festivus Extravaganza” – a politically correct winter celebration that replaced Christmas – and he isn’t pulling any punches.
Flagstaff parent R.T. Kelley submitted an editorial to AZCentral.com about a notice he received from Marshall Elementary School about its make-believe celebration modeled after the classic “Seinfeld” episode “The Strike.”
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In the episode, the Costanza family celebrates the made-up Festivus holiday – billed as an alternative to the commercialization of Christmas – with a bare aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree, and uses their time together for the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength.”
“I’m not religious. I don’t abide by anyone’s scriptural dogma. By imagine my shock last week when I discovered that Marshall Elementary School in Flagstaff has long since exchanged Christmas for an old ‘Seinfeld’ rerun. Literally,” Kelley wrote.
“It’s called ‘Festivus,’ and it is Hollywood’s politically correct replacement for Santa Claus, Christmas carols, the Christ motif, jingle bells and twinkling Christmas lights. I couldn’t believe it. At first I thought it was a joke.
“Then I learned that the profoundly disturbing issue is that Festivus actually was originally formulated as a joke, a flippant fabrication of vacuous artifice by a ‘Seinfeld’ screenwriter that has been rammed like a red-nosed reindeer carcass into the gullible hearts of the kids in our community. Wikipedia even defines Festivus as both a ‘secular holiday’ and a ‘parody,’” he wrote.
Kelley quoted from the notice sent to parents:
“Dear Families, the Holidays are fast approaching and along with them is our own 11th Annual Multi-Age Festivus Extravaganza! It will be held the last week of school before winter break.”
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Kelley pointed out the holiday revolves around a bare aluminum pole – “a veritable homage to pop culture nihilism” – and traced its origins to former “Seinfeld” writer Daniel O’Keefe, who has said he “didn’t want to put it on TV” but was outvoted by Seinfeld and others.
“I didn’t pitch it,” O’Keefe told The Wrap in 2013, according to Kelley. “I thought it would be embarrassing and drag the show down, but … Jerry liked it.”
“I was honestly surprised anyone gave a flying f***,” he said.
Kelley notes that Marshall Elementary encourages students to celebrate with “aluminum foil, Oreos, Capri Suns … paper plates … cylindrical objects (TP/paper towel rolls, etc.)” and links the celebration with Common Core national standards and “schoolroom exercises in childhood diversity group think,” he wrote.
“Despite all the letter’s spin and blurb, the Flagstaff school’s farcical “fun” ceremony is clearly an administrative avenue out of the knotty problems of political correctness, wherein the majority in a (formerly) democratic society do not have the right to vote on anything anymore. If the parents of even one kid in the school system are offended by Christmas, then it, like the plague, is cleansed from the buildings,” Kelley continued.
At that point in the editorial, Kelley – an author with three college degrees – teed off on the politically correct, nonsensical culture that’s taking over the country, which he believes is tied directly to incidents of school violence and the general degradation of society.
Never mind that I am beyond offended by this cowardly fiasco; I am burning with outrage. Outraged not only by the relative erasure of an important foundation of my own childhood that I wish to pass to – and share with — my daughter, but also disgusted by the educational system’s celebration of patent nonsense invented by an airhead television sitcom which — dare I say — is against my secular religion.
Thank God (or our collective atheism) that at least our kids get the joy of playing with plastic bags full of used toilet paper rolls instead of the oppressive traditions of Christmas that I – and my parents, and my parents’ parents, and my parents’ parents’ parents – used to become decent men and women.
Who really needs any semblance of authentic cultural history when – in our instantly disposable TV society – we can simply strike the delete button, cue up Hollywood’s moral compass and cut-and-paste new traditions for today?
Should we be really surprised, then, when rootless, aimless kids who are spiritually void hit the news again with murderous rampages in America’s schools (anesthetized to mindless, graphic violence by the same medium that provides us with “Seinfeld” and the pointless inanity of Festivus itself), attacking teachers, slaying fellow students, wailing like lost souls in a rootless Arctic wasteland, dancing around bare aluminum poles in a primal joke that celebrates an absolute, secular emptiness?
And who among us secular rationalists would have imagined that there really is a mean, green Xmas Grinch and that it increasingly trolls — like a meticulous insect exterminator — sterile hallways and offices in local school systems, replacing traditional Christmas presents under blue spruce trees with makeshift hollow monuments that have absolutely nothing of value inside of them?
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