Friday, December 12, 2008

I Could've Told You This Would Happen...

PIA, Wash. - State officials, besieged by requests for more seasonal displays at the state Capitol, have approved several more - including a "Festivus" display honoring a faux holiday popularized by TV comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The new display requests come on top of an anti-religion placard, a Christmas tree and a Christian nativity scene erected earlier this week and a pro-religion sign added Friday.

The state General Administration, which runs the state Capitol building, have OK'd four of the requests so far:

- On Saturday, Dec. 6: A balloon nativity shelter from a private citizen.

- On Sunday, Dec. 7: A demonstration by a group called "Private Citizens of Federal Way" against the atheistic sign will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on the front steps.

- On Monday, Dec 8: A display will go up in the capitol from the Washington Values Alliance.

- On Wednesday, Dec 10: A Festivus display from a private citizen. 

According to the online reference Wikipedia, Festivus is an annual holiday invented by writer Dan O'Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfeld.

Most people now celebrate the holiday on Dec. 23, as depicted on the December 18, 1997, Seinfeld episode "The Strike."

The holiday includes novel practices such as the "Airing of Grievances", in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year.

See, here's the thing. Once you start allowing religious displays on public property, everyone's going to want to get their religion, or non-religion, or even satirical made-up religion, into the act. Won't be long before you won't be able to navigate across the Capitol Rotunda.

 Will the Scientologists demand a dispaly with a starship shaped like a DC-9? Will we see a display in tribute to  the Flying Spaghetti Monster (all hail his noodly appendage)? Stay tuned...


Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'd love to see a FSM display! And a Scientology display, and a Hindu one, and a Druidian one, and a Wiccan one, and as many others as want to play.

Why? Because once you get to that point, one of two things is going to happen. Either (1) the Christians are going to be so aghast at all these other religions being given equal time that they'll start leading the push to eliminate ALL religious displays from government property, or (2) the public will become so desensitized that it'll stop being a Big Huge Hairy Deal. Maybe both.

This is what I call the Fad Curve. First you have the initial fad, say those dumb "Baby On Board" car-window signs. Then you have the semi-serious variations on it "Pet On Board, Grandma On Board). Then you have the parodies and over-the-top silliness (Redneck On Board, Liberal On Board). Then, finally, people are so tired of the damn things that they just disappear. The religious-displays fad seems to be hitting the second stage at this point.

Fran said...

Oh dammit, I live in Federal Way, so now I'm gonna have to haul my ass down to Olympia on the 7th and snarl at the protesters, pointing out that I too am a private citizen of Federal Way and I think they're idiots. Bah.

Did you hear that mush-for-brains Fred Phelps is considering putting up a display there? Fortunately he doesn't know how to fill out the necessary forms.

Fran said...

Oh hell. I need more sleep, obviously. That protest was last Sunday. So now the word is out that all of us in Federal Way oppose the athiest sign, which is nuts because there had to be some folks here in town still killing each other off.

It's not the nicest suburb, I'm afraid.

But they've declared a moratorium on new displays. However, Celine, there was a FSM display in the works!