Horrifying Collectible Nativities: Special Holidays of Dissent Edition!

Nothing says "In your face, Jews & Muslims!" more than the bacon nativity.
30 November 2011
Dear friends of hyperbole and dissent,

Those who know me personally and/or on facebook know that religious hypocrisy is not only my worst pet peeve, but pretty much the underlying item of dissent of most of my complaints with our universe and the people in it.  I've been thinking critically about this topic both privately and academically for many years, and have come to the conclusion that nothing, as far as I can tell, illustrates the complexity and arrogance of this phenomenon more brilliantly than the existence of non-ironic and entirely collectible non-human nativity sets. To this end, I have (since 2009) become something of a connoisseur of blasphemous nativities.  I collect images of actual collectible nativities that generally meet two simple criteria:
  1. They (and especially the baby Jesus) must be non-human and
  2. They have to be for sale - and not just irreverent "art" that's for sale (there's tons of this out there) but something mass-produced that people can (and presumably do?) buy and collect.
I don't have proof of it, but I'm pretty sure I have the World's Best, Definitive and Only Collection of Images of Sacrilegious Collectible Nativities, with over 150 unique images. I welcome you to check it out, and share it with your friends.  

And remember: Next time you hear someone complaining about taking the "holy" out of "holiday" or the "Christ" out of "Christmas," just ask them: where do you stand on marshmallow/snowman Jesus?

Some of my favorites are below. Click here for the complete collection. Updates always welcome.

Happy Holidays!

P.S. Please note that I do not own, nor do I intend to own, any of these.

The whole scene *is* pretty other-worldly, when you think about it.

Creepy mice make everything just a little more sacred, don't they?

That's funny. I didn't know Jesus was bearskin rug.
The fact that baby Jesus is a duck, and the "mortals" are chickens only proves his godliness.

Like Jenga, only holier.
Whoo's that in the manger?
Yetitivity, believe it or not.
They're s'mores! They're snowmen! They're adore-able! This is the set that sparked my collection/obsession when I saw it for sale at a real store.  Turns out it was just the tip of the iceberg. But it doesn't get more sacrilicious than this, does it?

Monologues on Air: Can't Stop the Recall

I spoke with Mary Carol and Ed Schultz this week on the death threat I received and how the recalls are going. Here are links to those clips for those who've asked for the audio:

Nov. 17, 2011: Out Loud with Mary Carol (radio)

Nov. 22, 2011: The Ed Schultz Show (radio)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Looking for the petition or a place to sign?  Click here or here.

Democracy Cannot Be Bullied, but Scott Walker Can Be Recalled

I was invited to speak at the Recall Rally in Madison because I've been outspoken on the subject of education and the damage Scott Walker's administration has done to our schools. The death threat I received last week was not related, and did not deter me from speaking at this event. If anything, it strengthened my resolve and my conviction that we need to restore the rule of reason to Wisconsin and send a strong message that we will not give up in our fight to defend our own future. I am humbled that I was invited to speak, and enormously grateful for all the support I've received  - and I'd especially like to thank Chief Tubbs and the Capitol Police for taking things so seriously and being so professional and kind. 

Since February, I've been shouting monologues into the wind - writing to Scott Walker with full knowledge that he does not care what we have to say, that he will not (under any circumstances, apparently) respond.  At this rally, though, I was able to engage in a dialogue with so many people who are just trying to say the same thing: Walker's "tools" are destroying our state. Walker's "reforms" are turning us backward. Walker's arrogant disregard for the welfare of our kids and our future, and his staggering fiscal irresponsibility, have created a Wisconsin we no longer recognize.

Scott Walker wants us to think his "reforms" are working. He wants us to think he can just cut funds to infrastructure and not worry about the bridge collapsing. Well, the bridge isn't going to collapse today. Or tomorrow. But it WILL collapse. And I don't want my kids, or your kids, or any of our grandchildren to be standing on it when it does.

Regular people have an opportunity and an obligation to stand up right now and take a stand. We need to stand up for our kids and promise them that we will not just stand around and wait until the bridge collapses. We are going to fight to have it restored, and we are going to invest in making sure it's stronger than ever.

I have made that promise to my own children, and I am committed to seeing it through. FORWARD. It's the only way to go.  Dialogue: it could happen!  All you need to do is sign the petition.

 Speaking on education at the Recall Walker Rally in Madison, Nov. 19, 2011

Scott Walker Condones Threats and Intimidation through his Silence

17 Nov. 2011
Dear Scott Walker,

Today I received a death threat to me and my family, at 4:00 in the morning. The anonymous person, who called from a cell phone that could not be traced immediately by police, said that I had "attracted the attention of some very bad people."  I spend the entire day dealing with this - talking to law enforcement, concerned organizers, media and others. We learned that the same person has also made calls to other recall workers in Wisconsin. But these are not isolated incidents. In the first three days of the recall, we have seen many reports of harassment of circulators and attempts to commit election fraud, and even vandalism of private property as one organizer's tires were deflated.

I hold you entirely responsible.

Ten months ago you unleashed on this state a firestorm of irresponsibility and disrespect that has led directly to this point - where regular people are personally targeted and threatened simply for exercising their rights to dissent and participate in the political process. 

It was you who threatened to call in the National Guard on our peaceful protests. It was you who was recorded (in what you thought was a private conversation with your benefactor, David Koch), saying that you had considered the idea of planting agent provocateurs in the crowds at our rallies.  It was you who implied, over and over and over again, that the teachers, nurses, civil servants, regular people, concerned citizens and workers of all walks of life in the streets protesting your anti-democratic and duplicitous policies were thugs to be alternately feared, ignored and despised. It was you who created a situation in which, shockingly, regular people like me were forced to go "public" just to defend the rights of our kids to decent and quality education.  It was you who made me a target.

And now, as the recall has begun and we are hearing these reports of intimidating and threatening behavior, you are silent.  Even yesterday, you even went so far as to deny responsibility for the recall effort itself.

Your silence would be a deafening endorsement of such behavior, as through your actions you have modeled precisely the sort of bullying and intimidation I was the victim of last night.

You have disrupted, at is core, the social contract of civility that makes democracy possible. In its wake, we are left to deal with strong-arming bullies like you who would rather threaten and harass than negotiate and compromise.

I understand that I have put myself in the public sphere by sharing my objections to your cuts to education and other essential programs at the expense of tax breaks, a rash of political appointments and the general lack of civility with which you've run your administration. And I understand that people on both sides of this issue have very - very - strong feelings about what's going on right now. I even understand that people are angry that those with whom they disagree seem to be "getting their way" with the recall despite having lost at the ballot box last fall.  And I understand that we all have the right to express our views - including the view that the recall effort is unwarranted.  I get all that. None of that, however, changes the fact that we have a legal right to recall you and that by your silence you condone the threats and intimidation of recall workers.
Fortunately, however, we do not need approval or permission to exercise our rights. We do not need approval to stand up for what is right and to protect the future of our children and their education.  Fortunately for all of us, democracy cannot be bullied into submission. These threats only fuel and empower our determination to restore the rule of reason to Wisconsin and return to a democracy where whatever our differences, we can unite to move forward. 

I don't expect that you will reply. But I do expect that you stand up for the safety of innocent citizens on both sides of the political fence and call for an end to this unpatriotic behavior that serves only to sabotage democracy and make a mockery of civic action.

Meanwhile, we continue to countdown the clock on your term of office. And it's going really well so far. 50,000 signatures in the first two days. At this rate, we'll be done soon.

We will see you at the ballot box. Please tell your supporters to meet us there, instead of harassing us in our homes.

And when you're ready to apologize for your role in all this, you know how to get in touch.