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Monday, December 15, 2003

Tramplings for the Holidays

Great column by George Will on the trampling of a shopper at Wal-Mart on their way to purchase a $29 DVD player. About the trampling Will writes:

"Conservatives, in their simplistic way, will blame the Florida trampling on facets of human nature to which the Christmas story pertains -- mankind's fallen condition, meaning original sin. Liberals, being less judgmental and more alert to the social causes of things, will blame Wal-Mart. They already blame it for many flaws in creation, from low wages in Asia to America's "loss of community," by which liberals mean the migration of shoppers from large-hearted Main Street merchants to the superior variety and lower prices at the Wal-Mart on the edge of town."

Will then goes on to poke fun at our modern Christmas celebration noting that one of today's problems "in addition to the toll taken on the body by seasonal wassailing and gorging, is shopping that includes stocking up on 'retaliation presents.' They are used to counter unexpected gift-giving by persons not on your list, which by now includes family, friends, the stockbroker who got you out of Enron in time and the person who cleans your gutters."

Great stuff. This reminded me of C.S. Lewis' essay Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus where Lewis tells the tale of the island of Niatrib where islanders celebrate two concurrent holidays, one of which sounds an awful lot like what Will is describing.

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