Three religions at once

What a strange clip from Fox News. The garbage is flowing thick and fast here, and I count at least 3 dogmas on display.

The first is American exceptionalism. The presenter starts by claiming that Americans are individualistic…on Fox News, which builds its revenue on the sheep-like ability of Americans to follow their brand of bullshit obsessively.

Then this “doctor” is brought on to talk about the pandemic, and what is he concerned with? Football! Seriously, dude? Football is so important that he’s outraged that a game might be called off?

Fox News doctor Marc Siegel on Sunday encouraged people to have gatherings for Christmas and Hanukkah because COVID-19 is “almost like a biblical plague.”

Siegel made the remarks during a Fox News segment on National Football League (NFL) players who he claimed are being “punished” by COVID-19 restrictions.

“Do we want no Christmas? Do we want no Hanukkah?” Siegel complained. “We’re praying for miracles right now to get us out of this COVID-19 pandemic. It’s almost a biblical plague it seems like.”

We can’t cancel Christmas because we need to pray for the end of the pandemic! These guys have never heard of the idea of praying quietly at home, I guess. No profit in it.

I’ve always just mocked the idea that there is a war on Christmas, since most people are fine with everyone else celebrating midwinter however they want — I’m not going to march into your house and knock over your Christmas tree. But maybe we need to get more militant about some aspects of the holiday if we’ve got idiots insisting we have to defy basic disease prevention protocols to maintain his superstition.


  1. profpedant says

    For the ‘Super-Christians’ Christmas is an opportunity to display what wonderful deserving-of-high-status Christians they are. If they can’t celebrate ostentatiously they face the horrible prospect of losing status….and they don’t have enough imagination to figure out how to be ostentatiously religious and socially-distancing at the same time.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Perhaps the first speaker means that Americans are “individualistic” in a sense of the word meaning “like toddlers who always do the opposite of whatever people of good sense tell them to do.”

  3. lumipuna says

    You think the “war” rhetoric is just ludicrous exaggeration by those who want to defend Christmas – and then suddenly Christmas is killing and injuring tens of thousands of your fellow countrymen.

  4. Bruce says

    It’s now clear. The war against Christmas was started by Jesus in his anti-Christian Sermon on the Mount, in Matt. 6:5-6, where he says not to pray in public. True Christians must reject this evil Christ stuff from their religion.
    Thank goodness it is now all so clear.

  5. robro says

    I’m not going to march into your house and knock over your Christmas tree.

    You would think that Christians would be the first to knock down Christmas trees because they are pagan.

  6. PaulBC says

    This goes far in explaining why I have never fit in as an “American” (at least in the Fox News sense) though I am obviously and unambiguously from the United States.

    First, I never thought the US was exceptional[ly good] in any sense. We had some firsts, but there are other democracies that seem to have benefited from being late adopters and getting details right. We’re stuck with the twin atrocities of slavery and genocide too. We kill non-combatants abroad on a predictable basis, and most Americans don’t seem to care at all until our own military takes casualties. There are things I like about the US, like the guy who buried the Cadillacs, schlock movies, vintage Bob’s Big Boy statues, as well as many writers, inventors, and other creative people over our history. But I am pretty sure the things MAGA people consider “great” and want back are exactly the parts I hoped we had moved on from. Really, Trump doesn’t think we’re “great” again until we have a license to go back to genocide and slavery.

    Second, I don’t watch sports at all. I just never did. I got into whatever sports my kids were doing: soccer, softball, water polo, but I have no idea why anyone cares if “their” professional sports team wins. It’s not like they are the ones play or even had any say in picking the lineup. Nope. I don’t get that.

    Third, religion. I was raised Catholic. Yes, I celebrated Christmas and Easter, but I always thought of religion as being mostly about following rules and feeling guilty if you didn’t. The big celebrations aren’t really religion as much as entertainment (except the obligatory mass). So no, I really don’t get that either. “Happy Holidays” is a no-brainer when fewer than half the people I work with are Christian. Conversely, it’s fine if people want to wish me a happy Diwali, Ramadan, or Lunar New Year, so I guess we can all great each other with random holidays. (More office fun, once we can go back.) Again, though I suspect that when Trump says he “brought back” saying “Merry Christmas” he means that he intends to establish it as an official holiday above those other “foreign” holidays.

    It’s also a no-brainer that you change your behavior during a pandemic so you don’t get sick.

    So I give up. I used to think that while I am not Fox News Americans, I’m still a pretty typical liberal American nerd.

  7. raven says

    Fox News doctor Marc Siegel on Sunday encouraged people to have gatherings for Christmas and Hanukkah because COVID-19 is “almost like a biblical plague.”

    This doesn’t make any sense.
    If Covid-19 is a biblical plague, what does that have to do with Xmas and Hannukkah? Nothing.

    And why is Covid-19 like a biblical plague anyway? AFAWCT, it has zero to do with anything about biblical plagues, whatever those are.

  8. raven says

    “We’re praying for miracles right now to get us out of this COVID-19 pandemic.

    Who is this we?
    And how is talking to an imaginary Sky Monster god working right now anyway? It isn’t. Covid-19 cases are going up rapidly, the death count per day is at record highs, and many hospitals are overextended.
    This is magical thinking and magic doesn’t work in the real world.

    What is and will get us out of this Covid-19 pandemic is…science.
    We now have several proven drugs to treat Covid-19 (we need more and better drugs and someone is working on that right now), and several different vaccines proven to work well nearing the approval and administration stages.
    Plus interim measures such as masks, social distancing, and well founded avoidance of super spreader events like…churches, Fox NoNews, or Trump rallies.

  9. raven says

    During the last pandemic, Swine flu 2007, fundie xians died in higher numbers than the general population.

    They are on trend to do it again during this Covid-19 virus pandemic.
    And take a few normal people with them like the plague rats they are.
    Even with the impending vaccine approvals, they still will. Many right wingnuts/fundie xians are anti-vaccine and they are already claiming semiconductor computer chips, marks of the beast, dead babies, and other delusions about the vaccines.
    I would ask them if they ever get tired of dying of sheer stupidity but they aren’t good at answering questions requiring thought and reasoning.

    In the current case, death is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
    This pandemic will end someday and probably soon. If we can make it another 6 months or so without getting infected and becoming permanently disabled or dead, there will be vaccines to protect individuals and groups, the hospitals won’t be so crowded so care is better, and eventually more and better anti-viral drugs should be available.

  10. whheydt says

    As regards sports…. The “San Francisco” 49ers football team has their (comparatively) new stadium in…Santa Clara (the city is within the county of the same name). Santa Clara County has put in a ban on all contact sports due to the current surge of COVID-19 infections….

    Mind you, I don’t follow sports except to the extent that games used to create traffic that I wanted to either be aware of (to allow extra time to get places) or outright avoid, or–at the very least–so that I knew why there was unexpectedly heavy traffic. The one exception is that I’ve been known to pay modest attention to America’s Cup races. I kind of miss the use of “12-meter” boats and would be happy to see the return–certainly impossible on account of cost–of J Class sloops.

  11. PaulBC says

    whheydt@10 My curmudgeon got the better of me when they were planning the Santa Clara stadium. I sort of understand why decaying cities will subsidize a stadium in a last-ditch attempt to improve things*. I couldn’t figure out why we need one here in one of the wealthiest parts of the US.

    And I stand by the above, but I was also convinced it would be a complete traffic nightmare and ruin my life. While it’s true that stadium events increase traffic on 237, it just hasn’t been an issue to me. Maybe that’s because of my commute (even pre-pandemic not in that direction). So I take back my belief that it would be a disaster. It still strikes me as pointless and I wish a profitable industry like NFL could pay for their own damn sports complexes instead of showing up hat in hand everywhere they build.

    *I lived through all this in Baltimore too. Well, if people wanted a ballpark and stadium downtown, they got them, so if that’s the point, fine. But I am pretty sure it had little benefit outside that part of town.

  12. emjayay says

    “We’re praying for miracles right now to get us out of this pandemic”. Doesn’t sound like medicine that this “Doctor” is preaching. It seems like I’ve heard about a number of vaccines coming out soon, all based on modern science and technology so they don’t depend on killed or inactivated viruses like previous ones and could be developed far faster. Science, not prayers.

    “The worst thing in the world is to try to cancel holidays”. Huh, I thought the worst thing in the world would be to die or be on a ventilator for a week and then have various lingering symptoms for months or years. Or infecting a family member to cause those things to happen to them.

    I’ve been in a few liquor stores in NYC in recent months. I was usually the only person in an aisle. The people at the cash registers, where we lined up silently six feet apart, were behind plastic. Hundreds of people in a room singing and praying loudly together (a proven many times over superspreader type event) were not part of the shopping experience.

    This guy is a hack.

    The moderator is a good looking and simple minded idiot like most of Fox presenters. Not going to the usual holiday gatherings IS following the science.

    But then you could probably pick out a few minutes of Fox at random and come up with stuff just as serially stupid.

  13. PaulBC says

    On American exceptionalism, I will admit that as I gotten older, I’ve taken some pride in having my family story woven into American history. I have a great great grandfather who traveled west for the Gold Rush, found success as an actor (and not a prospector) eventually returning to New York as a successful playwright (now forgotten–and probably for the best). His son in law, my great grandfather, was a prominent Brooklyn attorney and I think could be loosely called a Tammany Hall politician, though he did not win the big election he ran for. (I need to double check the Tammany part, but he was a Brooklyn democrat of that time period.)

    I also think of the story outside my own experience. I was reading a biography of Nikola Tesla and his early experience working with Thomas Edison. Here we have the archetype of homegrown ingenuity juxtaposed with a charismatic, eccentric genius we welcomed from abroad. Tesla lived for a while in New York as a bon vivant and struck up a friendship with composer Antonín Dvořák during his stay. What an amazing ferment and I think that while it could have happened elsewhere, there is some truth to the “only in America” trope.

    Then there’s Frederick Douglass and Robert Ingersoll. Another quintessentially American story. I could ramble on because my mind is full of these things.

    But here’s the kicker. What “American exceptionalism” usually means is something more commonly conveyed by that crap anthem “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood. You know: “I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know…” I can fuck with the emission controls on my diesel truck, make a lot of noise and act like a jackass. And not wear a mask and cough on people.

    I think I would not hate other Americans so much if I didn’t feel as strongly about the parts I love.

  14. says

    It made sense for the NBA and NHL to finish their seasons. They were both 70+ games into the regular season and could have their two month playoffs in “bubbles”. But it was ludicrous for the MLB the NFL and others to even think they could “go on as normal”.

    Some people are ‘celebrating’ the fact Vanderbilt University goalkeeper Sarah Fuller dressed and played for the football team in an actual NCAA game. I’ve had to curb my tongue in feminist facebook groups both because I oppose the damage of football and playing while COVID-19 rages.

    Equally appalling has been the toxic masculinity. While ex-NFL kicker Pat McAfee praised her for doing the job right, threats of violence and sexual assault were rampant on social media and comments sections.

  15. garnetstar says

    Have to agree with PaulBC, in that it never once crossed my mind that America was either exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. I thought we were pretty much a mix of good and bad, like every other country.

    I never even heard the phrase “American exceptionalism” until well into adulthood, and was too bored with the idea to dig into where it came from, but I gather it has to do with that the country is some kind of Chosen One, better than all others and a shining city on a hill.

    Too fantastic and theistic and self-absorbed, not to mention downright false, and I cannot imagine how it got started, but it is indeed important to some people to believe it, for the usual emotional comfort, etc. It’s so patently a dream from some long-past century, which has no meaning at all now, it’s difficult to see why people believe it, and, more important, what are we supposed to do about it? Just sit around and congratulate ourselves in front of the rest of the world?

  16. garnetstar says

    LOL, just glanced at Wikipedia and found that the phrase “American exceptionalism” was coined by Stalin to criticize American communists!

    So are you shrieking?