Saturday, December 03, 2016


It's a "Cookie Party" that happens every year in December.  We went once years ago and it was fine for me, because it was in Concord, where my hospital is, and I got to see a couple of psychiatrists and psych nurses in social settings, which is fun.  But my wife doesn't know these people and I didn't push it.  We made an effort last year, and the fun was that they sang Christmas Carols around the piano. Big Whoop, you say.  That's because you don't work in Concord.  And especially, this group was largely UU.  The hostess is the daughter of a UU minister.

So we went again this year, arriving on time, and were immediately treated to a feminist diatribe about Legos and Target by the hostess. The right-wing Christians are apparently afraid they are going to put penises on girl dolls - or maybe not have penises on boy dolls, I couldn't keep her accusation straight.  I had forgotten that this particular psych nurse never quits.  Went to Wellesley, lived in Sweden.  Later she complained loudly that because of Trump and talking to Taiwan we are are going to have a land war with China. I wish I had been smart enough to think of asking her to put money down on that.

While no one challenged her (I did, mildly), I should be fair and note that she was the only one talking like this.  Mostly. There were two teenaged boys with T-shirts claiming that they vote Planned Parenthood, and another woman who was trying to work Trump as a heartless businessman/Magi into her Nativity scene, converting because of seeing the baby Jesus.  there may have been more aggressive liberalism from this largely UU crowd, but I walked into the next room to talk with the nice youngish man who was a Special Ed teacher who had worked in Bulgaria in the Peace Corps.

There are people on the right who might have spouted off about Obama and land wars in 2008, but I feel comfortable saying Those were the fringe. We keep those people on the edges. The liberal mainstream uses the same vocabulary and rhetoric as the conservative fringe. That has been true for thirty years.

Fun part, though.  We sang Christmas Carols - real ones, though only 25% of the crowd came to that room, and one of the women expressed regret that the UU's had made their hymnal all PC and she didn't know the words anymore.  I put the copied sheets aside and sang the verses lustily - the old versions.  Even the PC's want the real deal, and I intend to give it to them, with the bad old lyrics.

Except for one:  "Born to raise the sons of earth" makes me think of Gimli, son of Gloin, so I really do prefer "each child of earth."


Texan99 said...

My Facebook feed is full of more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger posters from family and old co-workers, like one this morning explaining that the disappointed Clinton voter doesn't think less of me for voting for Trump, he thinks less of me for [I assume the usual string of racism, homophobism, and so on--I stopped reading pretty quickly]. All I could think to reply was that the "we think less of you" message had already been coming through pretty clearly for some years now, and that it wasn't winning any votes. Makes him feel better, I suppose, while the sting of loss is leading to feelings of shame and diminution. (I kept that last part to myself; humiliation doesn't often make converts.)

Now, I'm as guilty of indulging angry contempt as anyone, but I still think I tended to censor thoughts of that kind when I was actually addressing a friend or family member who I knew to be voting for my political opponents. I don't typically bring up politics at all in the personal context; if I make a remark on the subject, it is just about always in response to a persistent provocation.

I did make an exception on Facebook a month or so before the election, by posting a link to an article promising to lay out the evidence against Clinton "without spin." It was only relatively spin-free, I suppose, but I thought it did a good job of simply listing quotations and evidence without editorializing or interpreting. Nevertheless, it drove its readers right around the bend.

I'm particularly enjoying the outraged posts about how Trump is engaging in crony capitalism. Who knew he might act like a Democrat? Honestly, I don't think these people have any idea what kind of criticism Trump was coming in for from the right. They never read anything not emanating from a safe, approved source. The idea that some of us knew all these things about Trump and still could not possibly have voted for Clinton simply cannot penetrate. I believe this friend in particular genuinely cannot understand the nature or basis of the criticism of Clinton. He thinks Trump has flaws while Clinton has none, and there's no getting through to him on the subject. Does this really make him more of a fringe extremist than me? It seems too easy to write off our differences that way, but it's sure how it seems.

james said...

Not just PC changes, I think. During one CERN trip I noticed fliers for a carol sing, and showed up. I forgot my glasses, and the print was tiny. But hey, I knew the words, right?
Not quite. I think the reason was that Baptist churches are more bottom-up organizations, and they kept the old versions, while more centralized churches decided to get rid of archaic language from time to time. Sometimes a whole line and a half was different, and because I couldn't read the fine print I had no warning. Usually the first verse was pretty much the same, though. (When we exhausted the list I was tempted to butt in with "I'm American, and I only remember the first verses, so why don't we try the first verse of a few more?" but decided lying wasn't quite appropriate for the occasion.)

Alas, the (American) organizers had brought in a preacher for an evangelistic sermon, probably not realizing that in that environment just knowing the carols probably meant knowing more about Christianity than the average European.

Grim said...

I had never thought of Gimli son of Gloin while singing that carol, but I will from now on. :)

RichardJohnson said...

there may have been more aggressive liberalism from this largely UU crowd..

The question about a largely UU crowd would be HOW aggressive would be its liberalism, not whether it would be liberal or not.

As I was an officer in Liberal Religious Youth during my high school years, I consider myself entitled to dip into UU jokes. Moreover, a family photo album from the 19th century had a picture of a great-ought bearded uncle, who was a Universalist Minister.

Q: Do UUs ever pray?
A: Only when they think a Democrat is going to lose an election.

That is an example of truth being spoken in a joke.

but I walked into the next room to talk with the nice youngish man who was a Special Ed teacher who had worked in Bulgaria in the Peace Corps.
That sounds like a good solution to avoid being subjected to aggressive liberalism.

RichardJohnson said... of the women expressed regret that the UU's had made their hymnal all PC and she didn't know the words anymore.

Why am I not surprised?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@RJ - yes, he would probably be a liberal with that background, but it never came up. We had other things to talk about.