Religion

Which Secular Organization Best Encapsulates The Holidays in Times Square?

Well, it’s that time of year again – time to sit around the fire with friends and loved ones, sip egg nog, and debate which national corporation best represents us in the war on holidays that could also be celebrated by religious people.

As atheists, of course, our lives are confusing and directionless from November until January. What do we do with ourselves? Do we shout “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” at people on the street who look like they may be fundamentalist Christians? Do we donate to charities but using dollar bills with all the “In God We Trust” slogans crossed out? Or do we simply retreat to our basements to wait out the remaining days until Darwin Day?

Luckily, secular organizations are here to help. Two of them even have dueling video billboards running in Times Square! Let’s take a look to see which one best represents our atheistic holiday plans.

First, there’s Center for Inquiry’s Thanksgiving ad:

Let’s break it down.

Pros
Hugs! Who doesn’t like hugs. Christians, possibly – not sure. What we can be sure about is that God had fuck-all to do with that hug.

Cons
PowerPoint. It should not be used to make videos.
Confusion. The final slide reads, “Happy Thanksgiving to all those who make the world a better place.” Are we really wishing a happy day to all who make the world a better place, or just the ones that do it without religion? Unclear.

In the other corner, we have American Atheists, with this ad for “XMAS”:

Pros
Clarity. Who needs Christ during Christmas? NOBODY. You can almost hear the nasally whine of the 14-year old Redditor shouting the answer at his stunned family as they begin to say grace before dinner on Christmas Eve. Grandmother looks confused. Dad rolls his eyes. They just got told.

Cons
Confusion. What’s the true meaning of “XMAS” then? The list apparently includes the Rockettes (TM), Chinese food, and “human life.” Clearly after writing down “food,” “charity,” “family,” and “friends” the ad’s designer got tired and just started writing random words. “Monkeys in silly hats? No. Very tiny pails of water! Wait, no, no, no. Rayon? No, not quite right. Human . . . human life? YES.”

So after adding it all up, who wins? The answer, of course, is Clear Channel, or whoever gets a lot of money to display ads in one of the most over-saturated markets in the world.

Times Square

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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4 Comments

  1. I am unclear on why AA decided use ‘XMAS’ instead of the whole word. Was it specifically to annoy the culture warrior types who don’t know the abbreviation comes from Xian symbolism? It can’t be because they didn’t know this, can it?

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